Thursday, June 21, 2012

Love is...

Love is a many splendoured cliche.

It is roses, moonlit walks, the smell of a newborn baby.
It is a home-made Mothers' Day card.
It is kisses at daybreak, a cool hand on a warm neck, an awkward teenage embrace.

But love in our house will never be found on a Hallmark card.

In our home, love is... animated cat called Pilchard.

This is a regular conversation between Finian and myself;
"I love you, Finian.  Who do I love?"
"Mammy loves Pilchard"

Perplexed silence 
(From me.  Finian is very definite in his answer.)
Followed by, as an after-thought, "...and Mammy loves Finian.  And Daddy and Jimmy and Ellen."

Pilchard is a computer generated cat who plays a minor role in Bob the Builder. 
I harbour no strong emotion towards the 2D moggy other than thinking it must be quite nice to have a cat you don't have to feed or worm.

OK.  Let's try again.

"Who does Mammy love?"
He sighs and makes full eye contact with me as he repeats,
"Mammy loves Pilchard"
Like, d'uh.
I can feel him mentally rolling his eyes at my shortcomings in the brain department.

Initially I was a little put out that my son thinks he is placed second in my affections to the pet of an obsessive, emotionally stunted control freak (Bob has issues), but on reflection, Pilchard is a harmless, benign sort of character.
It's not like he thinks I bear more love for Hitler, or Brian Cowen.
And it's great that he's expressing anything in relation to love at all, so I'll take that and be happy.

"I need therapy"

So next Valentine's Day, keep an eye out for a new card design.
It'll stand out from the crowds of red hearts and blooming roses.
It's blue.
It's a cat.
And it's where love's at.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bouncing Glass and Empathy

Did you know that glass bounces?

Finian will have to write a new chapter for the Leaving Certificate Physics syllabus, as he has with methodical rigor proved that glass objects falling from a height will detonate in a very pleasing manner... least most of the time.

Isaac Newton could have made the theory of gravity so much more dramatic if he had dropped a glass out of a first floor window, instead of messing about with apples.
A touch of the diva makes science so much more interesting, and it's a shame Finian wasn't around back then to teach him how to add a bit of flair to his experiments.

I was upstairs doing the ironing, when Finian asked me for a drink of my water.
I was thrilled that he had made a spontaneous request and gladly handed him my glass.
Silly Mammy.
He sauntered over to my bedroom window and in Hollywood slo-mo opened it, extended the glass outside as far as he could reach and released his grasp.
The glass plummeted, but amazed me by hopping softly on the decking and remaining complete, as opposed to hitting the deck and exploding into a billion glittery, ear-shattering crystals, which was the hypothesis of Finian's experiment.
There's always an exception to the rule.

It didn't bounce later when he threw it down the stairs though.

The trajectory of that missile was perfect, and the normal rules of gravity, glass and lofty heights were adhered to.

When the world finally runs out of breakable glass, and Finian has proved beyond reasonable doubt that his experiment can be reliably replicated many, many times, he will have his findings published in a high brow sciency journal.
Boffins will scratch their beards and be amazed.

But we know the truth...that, sometimes, glass bounces.

important info to consider when glass throwing

Bouncing glass is not the only anomaly to accepted scientific "fact".
Absence of empathy is touted as a significant feature of autism and parents of autie kids will agree that their children are joyless, unemotional creatures with an inability to experience concern or love for others.

Or maybe that's a load of scratchy beardy talk from *cough* experts who don't actually live with autistic people.  I'm just putting it out there.

There's a world of difference between an inability to feel empathy and difficulty with expressing it.

Finian expresses empathy by tucking his toys into bed, seeking sympathy when he's hurt, by hugging a girl who was hurt at school one day and by getting upset over the "sore man" nailed to a cross in his school room (don't get me started on Catholic iconography).

"Would someone get me off this???"

The "experts" need to revisit heir original theory and watch a few glasses bounce.
Finian can be their first teacher.
I just hope they can duck.