The Autodidact

Milo doesn’t take instruction. I was going to say that Milo doesn’t take instruction happily, but that’s not true. He doesn’t actually take it at all. Nearly everything Milo does well he taught himself. And nearly everything he does not so well, he also taught himself. And there’s a long list of things he hasn’t taught himself and therefore he simply doesn’t do:

tie his shoes
tie anything
zip zippers
button buttons
make his bed
strip his bed
to name a few. . . .

Some of these skills are difficult for Milo because of the sensory issues involved. And some of them are hard for him because he doesn’t have well developed fine motor skills (largely because they have not been practiced.) But some of these skills are beyond Milo because he just doesn’t give a fuck. (He gets that from his mother.)

Milo does well in school. He’s smart, yes, but more importantly, he’s curious. He wants to “be good at” math. So, he pays attention. He watches. And, using his most impressive gift — he processes information as it comes to him — he mimics, and mimics and mimics the doing of math problems until he gets them right and understands them.

Milo has taken drum lessons over a course of a year and 1/2 from two different teachers. He loves these lessons, and he can keep time, and make some rhythmic music, but this has come from watching his teachers and doing what they do, not from listening to their lessons.

Dancing is Milo’s true liberation. He LOVES to bust a move. You can’t stop that kid from shaking his moneymaker whenever he hears Michael Jackson or Bruno Mars’s latest, Uptown Funk. His dance moves are uniquely Milo, as in, adaptations of what he sees other people do. He’s a joy to watch because of his enthusiasm, and his innovation. But too often his dance moves beg for a quick snap of the fingers, something he couldn’t do intuitively and couldn’t teach himself by watching me, or his father, or his sister snap our fingers.

Enter you tube. Specifically, a video called “how to snap your fingers.” (If you’re on your way to Youtube now, there are several to choose from.) Milo studied this video. He broke the action down into its component parts. He practiced and practiced and practiced.

And now, he’s all OH SNAP, all of the time. And when he snaps his fingers inappropriately at me as in, “hurry up Mommy and get me that ice water,” I don’t back him off the rudeness, I stifle my tears. HE CAN SNAP! And he learned how to do it.

Next up? The laundry. . .

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2 thoughts on “The Autodidact

  1. There was such energy to this post. I can’t help but wish and hope you’d write more. Bravo for Milo and brava for you.

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