Tipping point, 7 years thence ...

I'm not a big proponent of Father's day or mother's day or day. IMO, its not consistent with our eastern culture, but is very relevant in a western culture, that encourages so much of independence and individuality. In any case, given that we too have become nuclear and removed from joint family, the sentiments of day is becoming more relevant...

...anyways, the above point is orthogonal to what I'm going to write here :-) 7 years ago, I wrote an article - on a whim, i had sent to the newspaper in India, The Hindu. The editor (who has since become a good friend), told me that she will publish it that weekend paper, since it is also father's day weekend. The article was published a day before the father's day.

Through these years, we have made significant progress with DS. One main concern that always stays in back of my mind is if DS would be able to live independent life. That is a constant thing that gnaws at you all the time. But there is a couple of incidents in the past weeks, that I hope is a culmination of all the hard work put in by DW, has the compass pointing true north.

A week ago, we were all going to store to get groceries. As we went out to the car, we heard the music in the air - we realized that it was "concert in the park" day, in the park adjacent to where we stay - during summer, we've 4 weeks of concerts, followed by 4 weeks of movies and end with 4 weeks of play (all weekly once). So we decided to walk to the concert - the DS of old would've felt really uncomfortable about the last minute change; but DS was quite ok - he started asking questions about concert, what it means, and related to the concert he went in middle school; then he asked me if I had been to any concert - I told him I had been to Dire Straits and Pink Floyd concert a long time ago - then came the kicker - he asked me if I had bought the T-Shirt I was wearing at that concert - I was wearing a Pink Floyd T-Shirt; I was quite surprised, that he kept the conversation so contextually relevant and able to connect the dots and have a social conversation. For some unknown reason, at that time, I suddenly felt very very positive that DS can and will possibly lead an independent life.

Then came yesterday - we were all going to a movie in the evening. A movie that DS likes, but in a theater that he hates. But I was not feeling like going to the movie - so asked him if he could change the plan and go for a long drive. He immediately accepted, but then added the icing, by proposing this - "Appa, tomorrrow is father's day - your special day - how about I take you to the movie ? We can go for the drive today and have the movie as a special for you. Also, I'm going to help amma cook your favourite chicken dish; you could have the chicken-leg and I'll just have the small pieces"...

Two  incidents that tells me that he is trending true-north on the awareness, social interactions and also being empathetic ! I dont know, if I'm being right, but on this father' days (2012), seven years since I had asked for pieces of normalcy, we're getting big chunk of those ! I wonder if we have crossed the tipping point !

Ecosystem Engineering...

I had earlier talked about how we try and use all the resources available to us in DS' learning and development. We've recruited my (DD's) family and friends to send DS mails, talk to him, give him questions, problems etc.

The thing we are asking the extended ecosystem :-) to focus on is to share their emotional experiences in their life (or as they remember me - DD) as they grew up, apart from giving him some simple academic, but real life problems.

My dad has gotten onto a nice cadence with DS - sending him mail once a week - it has been a wildly successful experiment. DS actually spends time with his mail now - opens a sheet of paper, makes key points from my dad's email and responds to that. My dad's email loosely has three parts, apart from the current status of his life - the sections being (1) sharing his life experience (2) asking an unknown question, so that DS needs to use google or otherwise to find answer and (3) giving him a simple math problem...

Here is one such example of the email:

2.  When I was a young boy  studying in the 10th standard I got poor marks in Algebra test and when the paper was give to me I got 0 out of 25 but in my geometry paper I got 24 out of 25.  So I got 24 out of 50 which is a pass mark.  I did not tell my father about this as I thought he will get angry and scold me.  I was telling lies that the marks did not come out and finally on a day he told me to get the marks on the next day or he will come to the school and find out the matter.  So on the next day I told me but to my surprise he did not scold me but told me to do better in may next examination.  From that day onwards I decided not to tell lies to my parents or to any other person.
3.  Since you are fond of strawberry I will give a sum on that:  You go to a shop to buy some strawberries and shopkeeper tells you that the price of one packet is. 8.50 dollars.  Being satisfied with the price you bought 5 packets  for which you have given a 50 dollar note.  He was impressed by you and gave a discount and paid back one 10 dollar back.  How much profit you had made.

The interesting thing about #2 above is that it serves two purpose - one is that to say everyone is fallible and prone to make mistakes, which is a big thing for DS (since he is loathe to make mistakes and that has been a previous inhibitor in learning) and secondly teaches some of emotions.

Even some of my friends have been sending emails to DS. The unintended consequences of this has been, the DS's emails to his friends are much more cogent and tends to be a lot more normal.

Well, we will take all the help we can get and we are thankful, that we are getting so much help !

DS's jokes - compilation !

One would see from DS's jokes that he loves to play on words - he still does... 
  1. Changing the rhyme "To market to market:" to  "one market, Two market" (very young age of 3 or 4)
  2. Appa kalla grass irrukuthu - Dad has grass in his legs (aged ~5)
  3. Mom teaching, Wild animals will be in forest and zoo it will bite. DS said: Mosquito is a wild animal.
  4. Dad: If you tell samething daily we will get bored. DS: Appa is going to same office.
  5. DS cousins: Do you like Amma or chicken? DS: (Diplomatically) Amma makes chicken.
  6. Changing his cousins name "Aishwarya" to "Aish-varadhu" in our language (meaning Aish wont come)
  7. While DS taking bath mom saying, "Rub your legs and hands nicley"  - DS laughing "I dont have an eraser here".
  8. At school, while playing a teacher asked, "How are you?" DS responded, "Better than you" - dont know what he was really thinking !
  9. Changing the song "O Sona O Sona" to  "A Sona, A Sona"
  10. VadaPalani – Morphed to dosa palani
  11. Egmore station – Morphed to Egg-"less" station
  12. Mom: Do you want this MTR pickle, DS: "Give me fullR pickle."
  13. What is the difference between butter and butterfly? DS: "butter"
  14. Who is the president? "Not me"
  15. Dad switches the GPS off, in the car; then DS says"I am the GPS and giving directions" and imitates GPS
  16. Mom explaining who a Don is, what he does etc. DS asks, "Do you like don?" Mom: "No"; DS says, "then you should like dusk."
  17. DS has his favorite teddy bear, names him Bapu. Dad also calls DS Bapu, at times. Once when Dad called Bapu....DS brought his bear and gives it to dad, saying "take, you asked for Bapu", with all smiles.
  18. Making fun of his teachers name Mr.Wan(g) – Mr.Truck
  19. Mom talking about helicopters, DS talking about the number of blades in it. DS asking "Will there be an helicopter without blades." Mom thinks; DS says, "A toy broken helicopter!!!"
  20. In our friends house there were two side tables, small cube & a medium sized cuboid, DS was curious asked what it is? Our friend explaining about the medium side table, there is a place to keep small stuff like remotes etc., DS asking about the small one, she said "It is solid." DS asking, "Do you call this liquid?"
  21. As Ds was going to school, it was drizzling, dad said, "Once you go to school, you run fast to your class, so you don't get wet." Evening when DS came back dad asked,"Did you get wet before going to your class?" DS, "only 1%, but one day I got wet 100%" Dad little worried asked "when was that?" DS,"while taking shower."
  22. We wanted to go to our friends place, DS did not want to come, so saying,"I can't come, I have a meeting with my friend."
  23. "Appa-Amma have cereals in mornings, thatha-patti watches serials at night"
  24. When DS and his friend playing he purposely left 8 while counting. When she asked, "Where is 8?" He said, "It is gone on a leave."
  25. Ammavasai – pattivasai (Ammavasai in Tamil is new-moons day; its also a play on the word Amma (meaning mother) - DS changes it to Patti, meaning Grandmom)
(Jokes as compiled around May 2009)