It’s really dawned on me over the past six months how I am bringing up a little Peter Pan.
Yes it’s hard that the Pickle doesn’t respond much when I call his name. It’s hard that he has never once asked me a question, tells me when he’s hungry, or comes to me for a cuddle. But do you know what is quite amazing? That complete lack of awareness of the negative world around him that he has. It’s part of his diagnosis, but also who he is, and it blows my mind how you can have such a beautiful innocence. Even aged three, I’ve seen such ‘grown up’ traits develop in the children growing up around him and although it worrys me half to death how he’ll cope in the world when he gets older, it’s also an incredibly beautiful thing.
I recently hosted a play date for five of the Pickle’s friends. It was like being thrust rudely into the middle of an episode of Emmerdale! It was great fun, but oh my goodnews, the social chaos was overwheming! There were group dynamics, some of the girls were best friends, until one of them touched the other ones shoe. Then they weren’t friends anymore. All the while, there was another little girl who was a bit left out, until one of the girls had gone home and the girl who was left out, became the only remaining girl. Then she was brought warmly into the circle. The trampoline had lots of autumn leaves on it and although fun at first, they became too annoying and messy for some of the children. Too many people were on the trampoline. Little bodies got pushed around to make room. Everyone shouted to get off and at one point, there were tears because we weren’t all going to go upstairs and look for pussy cats. Everyone was embroiled in dramas and invisible narratives!
Everyone that is, except the Pickle!
Whilst there were dramas unfolding all around him, the Pickle just played. He jumped up and down on the trampoline. He laughed at the others throwing leaves (and threw a few himself!) He was completely and utterly blissful and happy, surrounded by other children. He just smiled and laughed, and did his own thing.
The beautiful thing about the Pickle, is that he never notices the little things that are going on all around him. He doesn’t see when a child doesn’t want to play or turns their back on him. He doesn’t notice when he is pushed. He doesn’t react when a toy is taken from his hands. He just finds a new one. The Pickle finds joy and delight in everything that he does and he plays in a way that although he can be quite solitary, it doesn’t hurt anybody.
And isn’t that such a beautiful thing? To have complete innocence? To never worry about what somebody else thinks about you, to never want to take anything for himself, or be better than anybody else. He just exists purely in the moment he’s in. Nothing else matters to him but what he is doing then and there. He is a picture of total acceptance and tolerance of everyone who meets him.
As ‘normal, mainstream’ people, we all become tainted with the social rules and chains from very early in life. We become sucked in by the invisible games, rules and regulations that society puts upon us and enables us to function in the world we live. To survive in a socity like this, we have to grow a thick skin, we have to learn to look out for ourselves and sometimes we have to throw our weight around to get what we need. Don’t get me wrong, we also learn lots of amazing, caring traits as well! But we’re all all guilty of being clouded by conflicting emotions, worry, self doubt and negativity which we express to those around us, who in turn, learn by our example.
Now imagine being a real life Peter Pan! Isn’t that something amazing!