All of Me

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Owen LOVES to cut these days — cut plastic. We’ve had to hide the scissors.  And the wire cutters.  And the shears. How to contain his enthusiasm? to guide his passion and focus him on certain agreed upon subjects for cutting?

With Owen, it’s all or nothing.  When he gives his heart to something he operates under a concentration wondrous to behold (particularly considering how distracted and diffuse his attention span at other times). When my scissors weren’t up to the task, he located the wire cutters and the shears on his own from the tool bag behind the bureau, something I have never seen him notice before.  I found him chopping away, crouching beside the burea, making his tale-tale happy “heh-heh-heh” — a sure sign that he believes himself to be doing something naughty.  For an innocent soul, Owen gets pretty much delight out of doing something that will aggravate those who love him.

I recently set Owen up to cut at the table, in an effort to create allowable parameters for an activity that brings him so much pleasure and is such good exercise for his fingers.  I watched him cut up a plastic shovel and then move on to a construction helmet dad brought home as a sample once from work.  He gave up on the helmet, but not before he had had some success.
The really unsatisfying part of this session was that I was allowing him to have it.  Seems to take at least 1/2 the fun away…

9702619Before this Owen went through a phase of focus on cards.  It started with worn out plastic grocery gift cards, but soon moved on to new unused grocery gift cards, library cards, IDs, credit cards!!! Owen liked to fold up all four corners to the center like an oragami.  Then if no one objected to the project, he would take it to the next level, ripples, waves, and finally shreds.  Credit cards will still function after the initial encounter.

Owen began hunting cards like an addict – I would find my purse, something he had never shown any interest in except for during church for treats,  ransacked, wallet spilling open cards all removed.  His sister set her ID down on a counter for just a few minutes and returned to find it dogeared. I began to hide my purse.  Owen slipped in his brother Oskar’s room, found his wallet and the brand new driver’s permit!  Aaahhhhhh! Help!

So it had to be NO CARDS.  Of any kind.   And that was the end of it.  My purse sits on the chair by the phone, untouched.

I have begun to hide the scissors.  And the shears.  And the bigger shears.  It’s time-out for cutting now, which makes me sad, since I would be perfectly happy for Owen to chop plastic within some kind of boundaries.
My kitchen scissors, I notice, don’t work so well these days.


Chaos the Whale

Chaos was once the name of Owen’s whale.  A huge inflatable whale that Owen fell in love with one summer, in a grocery store in the Poconos.  We weren’t sure why “Chaos” (how did Owen come up with that?  does he know more than we think he does?  is he just laughing at us??) but that seemed to be the name Owen gave the thing — and if there’s one thing our family can appreciate it’s a good joke.

Chaos the whale had a quiet but large presence, even when Owen had taken him down to plastic scraps.  We still talk about him.  I remember the October I put Owen on the school bus with the last shard of that whale, the piece with the eye and handle. Owen had taken him down to bits; it was only going to get uglier.  We said goodbye.

We still think of Owen whenever we see a killer whale toy – once big sister Bronwyn whittled him a wooden bath toy for Christmas, and blackened the killer whale markings with a burn stick.  That stayed around a while.  But Owen is loyal to his original friend. Or else he’s fickle.  No imitation has ever held the same place in his heart.  The chaos of Chaos the massive inflatable whale, particularly when he lay in pieces all over the house and yard, and the general chaos of Owen himself, are the reason for the name of this blog, and the reason for the name of the book I am writing about life with our boy.

To some kinds of chaos, you never do say goodbye.

First Posting of New Blog

First Blog

This is a blog about life with Owen – my son whose mischievous grin captured here (with difficulty because he doesn’t sit still for photos)  is much like the Mona Lisa’s.  Each of them know something good, and neither one is telling.

Some days you can’t see that liveliness burbling up inside Owen. Some days he is foggy and withdrawn.  We love the Owen grin, and the Owee laugh (which is kind of a gurgle of joy)
even though it often means trouble is brewing.

When Owen was much younger, and we were on vacation with family in the Poconos on Lake Wallenpupack, Owen laughed and began to climb up the steps from the water a little ahead of everyone else.  Owen’s Uncle Rob and Aunt Jane heard the laugh and noted the purposeful movement in a boy who usually seemed out of it, nonverbal, and draggy, or low muscle tone.  They decided to follow him up the hill and see what he would do.

Up the long flight of hand built stone steps he trotted giggling.  Past his family’s cabin.  Past the middle cabin.  Up he charged to cabin number one, at the top of the hill.  Owen rushed in through the screen porch, and across the stone floor of the tiny kitchen, to the table with three or so large boxes of blueberries on it, the product of the Simons clan’s picking in the hot sun that morning.  Owen reached up, grabbed one, and dumped it out onto the floor.

Then he started stomping in them with his bare feet!

Aunt Jane and Uncle Rob were there to save most of the berries — but they were impressed and amused. Evidently Owen had been plotting the wonderful feel of squashed blueberries all the way up the hillside.