We had a busy weekend that did not leave much time for blogging. So, as an explanation and substitute, please accept a bit of family news. Last Friday, our older son, Isaac, won the state geography bee and qualified for the National Geographic Bee (brought to you by National Geographic, of course) next month in Washington. It was the last of many different bees (& c.) in which he has competed, and the self-described happiest moment of his life, topping even the 2006 World Series.
Yes, there are lot of these kid academic competitions around these days, but this was Isaac, so we cried. (Also, I will say that compared to some of the things he has done, like the spelling bee, this one actually revolves around useful information such as the location of Tuscany.)
Isaac’s life has not been without challenges. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride, in fact. He was a remarkably “good” baby who amazed everyone by sitting quietly for hours in restaurants and then by spontaneously learning to read around age 2. We patted ourselves on the back about what a little prodigy we had on our hands until he started preschool a year or so later. Then it slowly dawned on us how far behind the other kids he was in most other social and language areas. When Isaac spoke at all in his early pre-school years, he did it in the second person, in fact, and could not answer basic questions like where he hurt or whether he was hungry or what his name was. (Long story about the second person speech pattern, kind of like Faulkner for kids, without the death and run-on sentences. Isaac was our oldest, what did we know?) He went through a scary period where his language actually deteriorated back into baby noises, or actually less patterned than that. Eventually this was all diagnosed as a form of autism, more recently as the trendy Asperger’s Syndrome, or, as I prefer to call it, Jeffersonianism. [Just kidding -- trust me when I tell you that dinner-table conversation skills like Jefferson's are not one of the usual Asperger's benefits. This guy seems to have the Famous People with Asperger's canard about right, though he is a little meaner about it than I would be.]
Many years of arduous and expensive therapy later, and having missed out on a lot of the normal kid activities that his younger brother loves, Isaac is doing very well, with only a little support, in regular public school. Nevertheless, it has been a huge milestone for us to have something go as well for Isaac as this has. It is a little bit of vindication for all of his struggles in the past, and it has been hard to focus on much else these past few days.
And yes, Isaac is a big fan of the novel Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and sees a lot of himself in the main character.
Just to make this post slightly more historical, I am going to include one of the champ’s better recent pictures, trying out a musket like all other guys at Ft. Ticonderoga last summer.