Martin has three rain jackets. The first raincoat he acquired when he was two years old. It is a yellow hand-me-down, big enough for a nine- or ten-year-old, from our then-neighbors. The second and third rain jackets are blue and red, and sized much more appropriately for a kindergartner. Samara bought them for Martin a couple years ago.
For a long time, Martin preferred the yellow raincoat, even refusing to wear the blue or the red. He didn’t seem to care that the yellow raincoat was so big that it bunched around his knees, got tangled between his legs, sometimes tripped him. Yellow is Martin’s favorite color. At the first sight of a raindrop, he wanted that yellow rain jacket.
We’ve had a lot of rain lately. To my surprise, Martin selected the blue rain jacket to wear, twice in a row, and then the red rain jacket.
This week it rained again. Five minutes before the school bus was due, Martin and I had the following conversation:
“Which rain jacket would you like to wear—the yellow one, the red one, or the blue one?”
“The red one.”
“The red one?”
“Yes. No! No, the blue one!”
“You want to wear the blue one?”
“Martin, why don’t you like to wear the yellow rain jacket anymore?”
“But because the yellow one is too long.”
“You don’t like the yellow one because it’s too long? Thanks for letting me know that, Martin.”
Two biggies in that convo: First, Martin told me a plausible reason for his preference. And even though he made his “but because” mistake, he stated his reason plainly and appropriately. Second, Martin rationally chose not to select the yellow item. Kids on the spectrum like repetition. They like sameness. So does Martin, but perhaps his “stuck in a rut” mentality is beginning to loosen.
What’s next? Actually accepting an orange subway seat, if the yellow ones are all occupied?
I dare to dream.
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