The Order of Things

He says, “Mom? You’re number one.” I’m curious, mostly because he has an uncanny way of remembering the order of things.

So I reply, “You mean like you’re number six at school?” Because in second grade, that’s how they do it — each child lines up for lunch, recess, specials — all by a special number assigned alphabetically by the teacher.

A week in to the school year, when Sam is able to recite who is what number, I’m fascinated. When I point out that the order is done alphabetically, he says “No, it’s not. Number one is Maddie, number two is Alex.” I explain that the order is by last name and his eyes get bigger as he rattles off their names again with this new information.

I’m amazed that he ordered everyone by number and not alphabetically.

When he starts checking out books at the library on the U.S. presidents, I am relieved he’s moved on to a new topic, because let’s face it — how much more could he possibly learn about geography? Or cloud formations?

Pair a new interest with his current Animaniacs obsession and now my son knows every U.S. president in chronological order. (Sam, who is number 15? “James Buchanan, Mom.”) This song is in heavy, heavy rotation around our house. He sings it non-stop. It’s quite something to hear these lyrics explode from his mouth:

Tom Jefferson stayed up to write
The Constitution late at night
So he and his wife had a great big fight
And she made him sleep on the couch all night

James Madison never had a son
And he fought the War of 1812
James Monroe’s colossal nose
Was bigger than Pinocchio’s

What a skill — my brain has no such ability.

What I do have is a new appreciation for the way Sam orders his world. There is much comfort to be found in predictable, unalterable facts. It’s the other stuff — it’s the people in our lives. It’s the emotional, the messy, the unpredictable that makes him anxious. Me too. I guess you just hold on and trust that order will eventually arise from chaos.

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  • And it will, sweetie. It will. A new order will begin to take shape and it will become comfortable and predictable, too.

    As fo those mad ordering skilz your boy has? IMPRESSIVE! xo

  • I just found your blog. Quite by accident. And I’m mesmerized. Have you ever gone back and read? Your early notes. When the boys were first diagnosed. What an amazing journey… I can’t wait to share your words with my friends.

  • It does. I promise.

    And can I just say that I love that Sam loves Animaniacs? I’d give anything to have a little Animaniacs obsession around the house.

  • It does. I promise.

    And can I just say that I love that Sam loves Animaniacs? I’d take a little Animaniacs obsession any day (while Bill Clinton plays the sax).

    xo

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