Since we had to return Ash’s new favorite movie to the library, we needed a good stand-in for the tradition that had started with it. A likely tactic presented itself in the form of using the Scrooge character as a springboard into watching The Muppet Christmas Carol, which, conveniently, I own. Several years ago Ash watched this with me once, and of course the Muppets at large are quite familiar to him, so the stage was already set for him being able to enjoy the movie — and that would make the transition a bit easier.
The first day, we watched it all the way through together. When we got to the end of the ‘When Love is Gone’ song scene, Ash looked at me and said, “The eyes of the woman just echoed in his mind.”
Wait….what did he just say?!
Wow….my kid is GOOD.
And ok, yeah, I’ve heard all my life that I have a way with words, and Ash is, after all, my son. Come onnnn, though! One family friend, who has known me for 14 years or so, still responded to the above quotable with, “Holy [something not generally considered holy]!” Admittedly, he also claims having spent several minutes scraping his jaw off the floor when I told him about Ash’s, “A dragon is like a magical dinosaur,” line.
But….seriously….I mean, “A dragon is like a magical dinosaur,” is a pretty dang good line for a three year old (I think it came from around then), especially an autistic one — that, if stereotypes held true, should not be able to understand, let alone come up with original examples of abstract language — and one with limited speech in general, at that. Still, a little out-of-the-box thinking is what it takes. It’s not an especially abstract concept, or an especially complex way of expressing it. THIS, on the other hand…. Forget the fact that he’s six. (SIX, people! *ahem*) Forget the fact that he’s autistic. (So THERE!) Either of those are enough to make this far-fetched enough on their own, let alone together, but we can just nevermind them. There are neuro-typical ADULTS who wouldn’t come up with something this perfectly perceptive and poetic!!
Why yes, this is just the latest in a long line of examples of why I feel sorry for anyone so stunted in their humanity that they can’t understand why I’m so proud of my child.
Of course, that wasn’t enough. No, my kiddo has to, “Do that part again,” after certain scenes, so he can, though his edited-dialoguing, do things like make the ghosts of the Marley brothers politely apologize for scaring Scrooge. He’s rather concerned about Scrooge in general, actually — no less concerned for him than he is for shivering bunnies, hungry mice, or the oft-injured Rizzo. It’s not just that he frequently turns to me to inquire into Scrooge’s progress towards salvation. (“Is he nice yet? No, I think he has to see more lessons first.”) Ash was distressed that Scrooge never finished eating his dinner, after being interrupted by the Marley brother ghosts in his bedroom, and was likely to have a hungry tummy. He was worried when the visiting Spirits kept Scrooge from staying asleep in his bed and getting some good rest. He was upset almost to the point of tears when the Ghost of Christmas Past made Scrooge fly with her, when, “He needs to walk instead, so its safer if he stops holding her hand.” He accepts that all these things need to happen to bring about the happy ending — we talked it all through, the relevance and significance of each lesson — but at the same time, he wants to change things so they can happen in a way that he’s more secure with, while bringing about that happy ending. Ash can’t yet recognize the cruelty behind the fake smiles Scrooge gives a few times while in his business-place at the beginning of the movie, but he can recognize all the emotive expressions that come through honestly….from the fear and sadness in some parts, to the joy and excitement in others.
Personally, I think it’s great. He recognizes in Scrooge the concept we’ve worked so hard on with him….that making bad choices doesn’t make you a bad person, etc.
To top it off, Ash has been wanting to play pretend, inspired by the movie. What are we acting out? We’re acting out Bunsen and Beaker coming to him to collect alms for the poor, more or less as it was in the movie. (He puts one of each kind of coin and bill he knows about, in the piggy bank he decides they need to have, because it makes no sense to him to use a “collection hat”….therefore he follows up the sound effects of his donation with the miming of putting the originally outstretched hat on his head….I mean, that’s what you DO with hats handed to you, right?). We’re acting out — and this was NOT quite in the movie — a poor woman pleading hunger and begging him for food, and him setting a full table for her to share dinner with her family there. In both of these cases, when I say “him” I refer to Ash as himself, not Ash pretending to be a reformed Scrooge.
Oh. My. God. HOW SWEET IS MY CHILD?!
I wish hubby’s schedule was more accommodating. I wish Ash was a little taller and had slightly better motor skills when it comes to things related to serving food. I would totally take him to a Soup Kitchen this year. Well, we’ll find something to do. We always do.