January 22, 2014

The Magician. ~ Jenifer DeMattia

He came to us three weeks early—his first trick.

At three years old he continues to work at his craft. He is an expert at making things disappear.

The digital remote, for instance. “This thing is freaking amazing,” his father said, smiling when it arrived in the mail.

Until—poof, it was gone.

My wedding ring. Poof.

Our measuring cups. Poof.

Car keys, umbrella, hand towels, earring, and measuring tape. All gone.

We call him the magician. When he accidentally pees in his underwear, they vanish—never to be seen again. Yes, we checked the trashcan, but that would be too easy. And a magician never reveals his tricks.

He has also become quite the master of escape. While I drive at 70 miles per hour down the highway, I’m convinced he practices timing himself as he wiggles and shimmies out of his car seat. He frequently likes to pretend that he will hold my hand as we cross the street, until he lets go and darts towards our destination as I run after him. At bedtime, his greatest illusion is played out before our eyes—the one where he lets you think he has fallen asleep, but when you go to check on him five minutes later his door is open and he has vanished.

He is illusive. Mysterious. First you see him, then you don’t. And we are forever trying to figure out how he does it. We are improving but there are still some of his tricks that we can’t figure out. The digital remote was eventually found in the floor vent. My wedding ring had become cargo in his train. The measuring cups were in a different floor vent and the umbrella was in his Curious George backpack. I don’t think I’ll ever find the other earing, and we now measure with a pencil. The car keys, we’re pretty convinced, did end up in the trash.

His greatest trick however, the one he is currently practicing, is the art of surprise.

After seeking help last year, we were told that sensory issues were causing the change in behavior we saw in him. He became so emotional when overwhelmed that he would cry for an hour, unable to breath, unable to be touched. It was heartbreaking for us to witness, especially since we couldn’t figure out how to help our boy. It felt like in those moments he was slipping away. He eluded us.

But now at almost four-years-old, he is changing. Growing into someone else. He still becomes upset but it’s different, less intense. They told us it was something he would most likely grow out of—they described it as an itchy tag. As an adult we can just cut the tag off, but a child with sensory issues hasn’t learned how to “cut the tag.” They haven’t discovered the best way to cope with what’s bothering them.

We all have discomforts, insecurities, and confusion within ourselves, but as we grow and learn what works best for us at our own pace, almost like magic.

Poof. They disappear.

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