When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Losing it

When I was little, my mom used to knit me cozy mittens, in every colour of the rainbow, to keep my hands warm in the cold winter months.  I loved those mittens, right down to the long, twisty strings with which she joined the mitts together to prevent me from ever losing them.  Well, I loved the strings until suddenly I was a ten year old grade five student who felt utterly ridiculous wearing strings on her mittens, especially since I was never the type of child to lose things.  (Seriously -- never.)  But don't worry, Mom -- I don't hold (much of) a grudge over your good intentions!  (Love you!)

Fast forward a... few... years, and I now find myself with my own ten year old grade five student who loses absolutely EVERYTHING!  It's never intentional, I'm certain -- Noah always feels genuinely sorry whenever he discovers he's missing yet another item -- it's just that somewhere in the pathway of mental processes involved in remembering to collect all of his personal things, Noah's brain encouters a giant red X, an error message that prevents him from completing the task.

Noah is, quite frankly, a brilliant kid.  He speaks as though he's memorized the entire Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, and can confidently explain scientific concepts that I wasn't even aware existed.  He writes wonderfully creative and elaborate stories, invents and builds working models of useful gadgets, and has very big plans for his future.  However, in the past two months alone, this very same boy has forgotten or completely lost his swim fins, a water bottle, his swimming ear plugs, his umbrella, a swimsuit, his school agenda, a pair of snow pants, a brand new package of pencil crayons, two pair of swim goggles, and a full pencil case.   My favourite recent incident is dripping with irony:  after Noah spent a full day challenging his mind at a board-wide enrichment workshop, the simple thought that perhaps he should bring home the stuff he went there with never even occurred to him.  He left it all behind.

In many cases, we've been fortunate enough to retrieve the forgotten items, either by backtracking through the various locations of our day, or by the good fortune of someone we know noticing the forlorn, left-behind things and collecting them to return to us.  Some endings haven't been as happy, though.  When an item has completely vanished away into Never Never Land, Matt and I have sometimes had Noah pay out of his own saved allowance to replace the thing he lost, hoping that it would teach him to be more careful in the future.  We haven't noticed any improvement as a result.  We've taught him strategies for using mental or paper checklists, suggested he always return things to the place where he got them as soon as he's finished with them, asked him to double-check his bag before leaving anywhere to  make sure he has all of his stuff -- all to no avail.  It's come to the point where I'm thinking attaching strings to pretty much everything might be the only way to go!

I have a hard time understanding Noah's tendency to forget so many things, because it's not the way I operate at all.  Matt tells me that he thinks this behaviour is pretty typical for ten year old boys.  I hope he's right, and that one day, Noah will finally outgrow the forgetting and losing phase.  If not, then I hope the many parts of Noah's brain that work in magnificent ways, the parts that are sure to help him accomplish big things in life, will somehow afford him a personal assistant to take care of all the little details!

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