Water

This is my son and he’s fucking perfect.

A while back I wrote an entry where I concluded he was fucking perfect and it was about me accepting that my son needs help with things, and I got a stunning number of comments that echoed my final sentiment with copious amounts of emoji abuse, and at first I was like well they missed the point a bit there, didn’t they see that this like everything else I write was really all about me? But the comments and emojis kept coming, yes he’s perfect, oh he is truly perfect emoji emoji, and some people even recognized the stubborn denial in my ultimate proclamation, like yes it’s hard to be in your position but also I stubbornly believe he is perfect too. And so I had to backtrack and consider whether I had in fact missed my own point.

Which, no, I’m too good a writer to be that oblivious, but my son is also supremely amazing in a ton of ways, and if you’re referring to those ways and don’t have a lot of time then you could do worse than ‘perfect’ for shorthand. His memory, for starters. He remembers sounds precisely, and in order. He speaks in scripts, which is one thing to understand conceptually but to hear him do it, you know he’s not missing a word, a syllable, a beat or a breath, because he’s memorizing the sounds of it sans context, sans meaning. I think he associates some emotional empathy with the scenes that are his favorites, but the literal translation bears almost no relevance. So when I’m trying to participate in his script games and I say a line and then he says the line exactly right, all the stresses perfect, all the right words, but with a three-year-old’s verbal tics like v’s for th’s, I mean, it’s hard to be corrected, and know you’ve been corrected precisely, without associating some degree of perfection with the person who corrected you.

Today he came home from preschool and could recite the numbers one to ten in Spanish, and I’m pretty sure this is a new thing for him as of today, because it’s his first day in his new early preschool class (code name for the 3 year olds), with a new room and new teachers, and I’ve never heard him try this script before. The point here is this wasn’t hard for him, he didn’t have to learn the numbers and then learn the concept of numbers and the concept of English and then the concept of languages other than English and then re-memorize the words he already knew but as different words. He heard some sounds in order, probably repeated several times, true, but the sounds were presented to him and he gobbled them up and kept them like a miserly troll in a cave. It would’ve been harder for him not to learn this.

When he does have definitions to distract him, I’m expecting some of this ink-on-paper kind of memorizing to get toned down a bit, because if you hear the word ‘falafel’ and love it and want to keep it, that’s one thing, but if then you also have to bear the burden of knowing what it looks like and tastes like and where it comes from and when you had it last and where you could get some right now if you had to look for it, these types of associations take up RAM and then the perfect sound memory will just have to take a hit, I don’t see any way around it.

His emotional empathy is pretty strong, too, if he’s interested in you. His hair is still baby-fine at the sideburns and the base of his neck. He cuddles like a pet but doesn’t shed all over you. He makes you be better as a person because he so clearly deserves a world in which everyone he meets is the best version of themselves, you feel like you owe it to him, like he’s depending on you to get that done for him. He adores water, playing in water, with water, near water. I took him to the beach this summer and he knew the ocean was stronger than him, that he wasn’t ready for it yet, but again and again he ran into the broken waves in a kind of relentless cooperation, like it was depending on him experiencing it as much as he was enjoying the experience. His NICU, in fact the entire children’s hospital where he lived for nearly half a year, was ocean-themed, and now that he’s being a little more lax with his must-have-music requirement in his Pixar films, he’s been getting into Finding Nemo, and I couldn’t be less surprised.

I could provide some evidence here of how he’s not perfect, too, but that would make this entry about him, about rounding out his character, and I believe I was making the point earlier that I only write to explain myself, so.

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