Monday, September 11, 2006

I met a kid with diagnosed Asperger's Syndrome yesterday. He was maybe six or seven years old and visiting with his mother and his younger, toddler, brother. I met them at daycare so they might have been there applying, touring or generally visiting (the kid used to attend that daycare and visitations from old students is relatively common) the senior preschool (read: kindergarten) room in which i was working. My first contact with Li, (another Li, not the one a staff member recently gave birth to, obviously) was positive, he was playing with some manipulatives and building a rather complex and clean-looking little structure when I called out tidy-up time just before our morning circle. His response: "I don't have to because I'm just visiting, I'm not part of that group." There were obvious problems with his view, as in it's not exactly fair to the other's if he is visiting yet not participating in the programme, even enough to clean up his toys. There was a lot of deliberation, during which I concluded that I really, really liked him and that he was also not like most of the other kids I've met, after which he decided he wanted to go see his mother who was visiting in the junior preschool room, (read: preschool proper,) which was fine for everyone. 

We go outside after circle. Li and his younger brother (I never caught his name) were outside with the juniors, who had gone out before us, and having a good time playing and arguing. Vivi, (the other staff in the seniors,) was fussing over Li's little brother as he sat oin top of the slide for some reason, I go and see what's going on:

Vivi: "He's showing me his nail polish."
Kraai: "Oh! Your toes are beautiful."
Kid: *brandishing toes at us*
Vivi: *acting strangely and walking away*

Let it be said that I dislike and disapprove of most vain accoutrements, including nail polish, make-up, plastic surgery and skimpy clothing, even in adults, though I always try to encourage the kids in their ventures. 

That said, I also agree with the liberalist view of sexuality and especially children's sexuality in which children can wear what they like despite social taboos (which I also think are unfounded, arbitrary rules.)

After Li and his family had gone, Vivi was telling me about Li and his behavior, which was abnormally violent, when she began to mention his mother's attitude toward her son's sexuality and the freedom he is allowed. I use the term sexuality as an adult would apply the term, not as a kid would. Kids dress up for fun, not for individualistic, sexual social commentary. Apparently he wore make-up, nail polish and even came to class in a dress once. Vivi was obviously disturbed by this attitude and I wanted to see his mother again and tell her how I agreed with her in principle, after learning about her views and the opposition to it in the very classroom in which I was working.

I didn't say anything much to indicate my views towards Vivi, who is a rational and objective person, a lot of the time, I think she would have heard me and dismissed me in the same moment. It's a contrary thing to say, I know, but that's how it is. I keep my views mostly to myself since they are almost always in contradiction with the ideas held as truisms in the people I surround myself with, professionally. 

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