Monday, July 31, 2006

Another ride on the roller-coaster...

This morning B typed a letter to his school teacher, Jen. She had included a SASE in his yearly portfolio packet (the end-of-year report that details the students' progress & gives parents a sense of where they are academically) with a note asking that B write her a letter, so we decided to plug it into our schedule first thing this morning. We debated whether to type or write, but typing won because we decided he'd be able to write more if he typed. B sat down at the computer & immediately put his fingers in the "home row" configuration for touch-typing without being reminded, which was a very good sign :) I explained how to date a letter (in the upper right-hand corner) & he took it from there, with just a few reminders about capital letters, & punctuation. B was so full of zest for the job of writing this letter & was using his usual, interesting way of saying things that I was feeling great joy just to be sitting there witnessing & occasionally enabling the whole thing. We'd talk about what he did, then B would write it in his own words, beginning with the trip to Washington DC in June, moving through computer camp, then listing some of the projects we've undertaken this summer. I told B that I was looking forward to the time when he can touch-type reliably because he'll be able to write all of his stories easily, & he has so many stories in him... B wondered what it would be like to only be able to communicate by typing... B would stop typing from time to time, once handing me Rufus, since it was hard to type with him clamped in his right armpit (Rufus' usual place), once trying to use Rufus as a wrist-rest (like those at computer camp) with much re-positioning of Rufus (back, tummy, side) & giggling. As B worked, I began to notice that his tics became more frequent & eventually, the grins turned to grimaces. At the point of listing what we've been doing, B was trying very hard not to look at the keyboard at all & swearing (in japanese, sigh) when he had to because of mistakes. The tics became bigger, longer, & louder & I finally inquired what was setting him off. "Hands" was the terse reply. One of B's frequent OCD triggers are his own hands & feet- he has never elabourated as to what it is about them that makes him tic. I felt sad to see the obvious joy he'd been taking in writing about his summer turn to distress. Finally, for the final two sentences, I took over the typing because he would never have been able to finish otherwise. I told B, matter of factly, that although the OCD was getting in the way, it wouldn't always be such a problem for him. B agreed, in a tired fashion. I couldn't help but remember the joyful way he had begun the letter. It had been yet another roller-coaster ride activity, but the letter is mailed & I know Jen will love reading it.

I'm happy to report that "Star Trek: The Journey Home" arrived over the weekend & was a great hit. I had forgotten just how many hysterical lines there are in this movie (including the one where Spok tells Kirk "just a damn minute..."). We have been having quite the discussions ever since. From the usefulness of the phrase "colourful metaphors" as a euphemism for swearing (something we are actively dealing with, B-wise) to explanations of how aliens were perceived in our society before & after Trek, to how the Cold War affected the makeup of the Enterprise's bridge crew (B's main understanding of the Cold War comes from Rocky & Bullwinkle, so it's good to have another point of reference :), we have been exploring many new frontiers of our own. It was surreal to have my 10-year-old give me a lucid explanation of the physics of time-travel as explained on the special features disc (which he watched on his own), although unfortunately, the discussion of the vegetariansim of Vulcans has only reinforced B's OCD-driven distress about the eating of animals. B has, perhaps predictably, latched-on to Spock & Vulcan philosophy & he loves to phrase things the way he thinks Spock would. Of course, we've been looking at how Star Trek & Star Wars fit together in terms of how each broke new ground & changed the world of sci-fi & entertainment. And just to expand the horizons even more, the "Dr. Demento: Hits from Outer Space" cd arrived in the same order, & the Trek parodies have added interesting spice to the conversations. Parodies & what makes them funny (as opposed to what can make them offensive :) has been an on-going topic of conversation. The way the Trek characters are portrayed in the parodies has also thrown light on the steroetypes they represent. (My favourite song on the cd, though, is Weird Al's take on Star Wars Episode I, sung to the tune of "American Pie". It's absolutely brilliant!) In all, I think that B is getting quite an education just from these two discs. The extra bonus is that it's a lot of fun sharing my first sci-fi obsession with my kid :) And we have a whole new construct with which to help make this confusing world make more sense... :)


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