It often seems to me that my children live through their senses, in the present moment, exactly as nature intended us to live before we as a race and as individuals were hijacked by the manipulative shadow of our egos.
People with autism have got so much right, and us neurotypicals could learn a lot from them. Daisy and Lenny (and Rosie too, to a large extent) place no value on things that they cannot eat, sprinkle, or roll around in. Piles of toys, to them, are litter, things to be climbed over, crushed underfoot and discarded. Christmas and birthdays used to make me feel quite uncomfortable, before I adjusted my expectations to suit my children’s wants and needs. Every aspect of our society tells us that a good mother provides things for her children. She makes small sacrifices throughout the year in order to put money by, to scrimp and save in order to unveil with a flourish on the big day – a new bike, the latest games console, up to date mobile phone or music system. My kids do not want these things at all. Music is a favourite in our household, but for its own sake, not because of any pride in the gadget that delivers it. And the best music of all? When we are all singing along, playing ‘hokey cokey’ or dancing on the living room. Priceless things which have no price. For all their inability to learn new things, my children instinctively know that it is experiences, not things, which have true value.
Daisy and Lenny live inhabit a sensory world that I had rejected, or forgotten, before they came along. Running their hands through dry sand, or uncooked rice is an activity that can engage them for hours on end. Patterns engage Daisy. She is fascinated by offcuts of material especially if they are decorated with glittery threads or sequins. She spreads these scraps of material around her as she sits on the floor, turning to examine them from different angles, arranging and re-arranging her priceless treasures.
A windy day where leaves are chased around in whirlpools of frantic air delights my children. Its an eye opener, really, sometimes I am left thinking, why aren’t we all out here, chasing the leaves? Its easy to get sucked into the common negative notions that indoors is safe, warm, comfortable, but our indoor worlds seem so stale by comparison, when on the other side of the door the beauty of an ever changing sky, a moving painting with natural soundrack and smells and textures remains unchartered and unchecked.
For me, Daisy and Lenny are a link to the inner child. Before we are corrupted by capitalism, consumerism and the ego’s need to adorn ourselves with impressive trinkets, we all hold this fascination for the natural world, an innocent appreciation of our true environment. I’m thankful to them for keeping this link open, so that whenever the adult world makes me feel weary, we can venture out into the elements, switch off our thinking minds and re-engage with the sensory world.