Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Uncanny Small Fry

Now that my wee poppets are teenagers, uncanny incidents hardly ever happen. When they were younger though, they both had a knack for making the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. In particular, Bear had a very old soul that was often startling.

He had a significant speech delay, so when he spoke we paid attention and recorded it in a little journal for his school. The thing was that when he did say something, it was clear as a bell then he'd clam up again for sometimes months at a time. Every so often he'd get a far away expression in his eyes and blurt out things like "Bach in G" while were listening to guess what? Oh, and people we are so. not. musical. The chances of him being told the name or composer of that piece at anytime at home or school were slim. While walking in the woods, he once picked up a leaf and said "Red Oak". I tucked it in my purse, and looked it up on our next trip to the library. He was right. Now where in the world did he learn that? In the car we'd sometimes drive past a historic home and he'd blurt out the family name of a former owner.

It wasn't just names he knew seemingly by instinct, Bear seemed to understand how things worked, especially archaic tools and mechanisms. On a trip to Sturbridge Village a couple of weeks after his fourth birthday, my Dad took him into the grist mill. He refused to leave, instead he watched the man making repairs and kept pointing at different components demanding information. After about 45 minutes and extensive lectures from the miller, he seemed satisfied and ready to enjoy the oxen and the lambs and other baby friendly exhibits. That night he built an elaborate working model of a grist mill out of tinker toys. He brought it to my Dad and said "White's Wheel". My parents were startled because they'd never mentioned or shown him pictures of White's Mill, the family mill that was in operation for over a hundred years before Dad's grandfather closed it.

Bunny had her moments too. Next to her summer program when she was three, there was a beautiful cemetery overlooking the harbor. As we were wandering around , she began tugging my hand urgently commanding me to come see 'hers'. I assumed she wanted to show me a pretty statue of an Angel, but she pulled me right past it to a nondescript stone with the name of some woman who passed away in the 1940's. She pointed at it and herself and said "That's me!" Then just like that, she ran off to admire some violets and chase butterflies and left me standing there shaking my head.

Some folks are insisting there is a connection between the rise in Autism and the increase in children who are fey. I don't know much about psychic children and re-incarnation and such, but I suspect that every mother of an autistic child has her own stories of that otherworldly look that comes over her child's face and the marvellous surprises that follow.