My Photo
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I Am Love

Lately, Adam is really interested in collecting objects, touching them, looking at them closely, adding them to his collection -- rocks, teddy bears (which he talks to and names), dolls, pretty things, trophies belonging to the older children of our house. So of course, I'm at a stage where like any other parent, I have to teach Adam that he can't have everything he sees -- that some things do not belong to him but to other people. Other things have to be paid for and we can't have everything we want. Also, some things are just so plain delicate, that you can't touch them, but look at them only.

Of course, this has begun when I feel that I can parent him less than I want as I am recuperating in bed. As other family members seem to struggle in watching him or enabling him with his device (I recognize that for me it is natural and for others, they have to learn by doing -- which they are quite successfully), I am frustrated. And then it happens, curiousity has broken glass.


It happens once. A small glass sculpture by Montreal artist Susan Edgerly lay in pieces on the floor.

"No Adam," I say. "You cannot touch the glass."

He goes and does something else and a half hour later, another splattering of glass tinkling like bells on my limestone floor brings me downstairs again.

"No, Adam." I say a little more firmly.

"Don't yell at him," says my mother-in-law. But I do not yell. I am as firm as I would be with any other child except that I bring Adam gently upstairs and pull out his device.

I write, "You cannot touch and break the glass. Why did you do that?"

"because touch is interesting," writes Adam. Indeed, he's been more curious than ever -- touching everything and soaking it all in that I hate to take experience away.

"Okay," I write, "it is interesting and glass is very pretty. But you cannot play with glass and break it. You cannot break it."

"You are hot," he writes.

"Does hot mean mad?"


"I am mad because mommy told you once not to touch the glass and you did not listen to mommy."

"I silly joke on you."

He begins to feel bad and pouts.

"Why do you want to make a silly joke on mommy?"

"because I silly," he begins to whimper.

I write, "I love you and I want you to learn from mommy. So when mommy asks you not to touch something, I want you to listen to mommy."

He turns his head towards me and looks straight into my eyes and then writes "I am love."

Now what do you do with that?

(The glass has now been put away).


Blogger Niksmom said...

Estee, you are so wise to have handled it that way; such a great teaching moment not only for Adam but for us, too!

"I am love" --wonder if he means "I love you?" I know whenever Nik knows I am angry with him he will lean into me and give me a big kiss as if he is telling me not to be mad and he loves me. Sigh...

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your main intent was protecting Adam from hurting himself which is a natural instinct. Adam knows this.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Adi said...

Wow... I bet your heart just melted. If you have to put into words that you are sorry if you just don't know the word sorry yet, isn't that what comes out? A person you love is mad and it was something you did which you meant to be silly, not to make that person mad, and you realise it, my guess is all that is left over is to say is I am love. And combined with those big eyes... :) I bet you he will never break glass again (at least not on purpose)

11:36 AM  
Blogger Maddy said...

I completely relate to being incapacitated and relying on everyone else, great team work.

The collection phase of development is great. We're just recovering from the 'long handled things' stage of development, which was a challenge for me. Glass, broken or otherwise, is a phase we have skipped thus far, you handled it great.

Our current phase appears to be our 'safest' yet = soap collection. The main difficulty is froth, slime and slipperiness which gives 'squeaky clean' a whole new meaning.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.
Best wishes

12:30 PM  
Blogger kristina said...

So much going on for Adam right now----perhaps he's trying to communicate his confusion and frustration? (Charlie would certainly be beyond puzzled to see me in bed for more than a few hours!) All you need is love----and hearing it from just the right person.

Hope you're up and about before too long.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Ange said...

Beautiful post. Yes, glass and breakables have been put away long ago here, but a few come out for display every now and again to "learn from."

3:14 PM  
Blogger abfh said...

What a sweetie -- I'm sure you can't stay mad at him for long.

Maybe Adam would like to play with clear marbles? The sensory experience is similar to glass, but they won't break. I very much enjoyed marbles at his age.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Camille said...

Clear marbles are a good idea. Also those flattened marbles they sell to put in vases for flower arranging.

My thought was to make some "glass" out of melted hard candies. When I was a kid there was a fad of making stained glass cookies, there was a "frame" of cookie dough and a space in the middle that one would put some lifesaver candies. When the cookies got baked the middle part was clear like glass (and the color of the candy, of course).

That might be "breakable" enough to satisfied his desire to break glass and see the edges, etc. Remember, Hollywood's fake glass windows that get broken are made of candy.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Phil Schwarz said...

Wow :-).

A propos teddy bears: introduce him to Jane Meyerding's website!

-- Phil

10:09 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Any thoughts on the latest study:

9:08 AM  
Anonymous storkdok said...

Wow. I would be speechless. I really like that..."I am love".

Nothing like teaching in the moment!

How are you feeling?

7:36 AM  
Blogger Estee Klar-Wolfond said...

Feeling a little better everyday, thanks!

7:43 AM  
Blogger maxine.smith10 said...

Yes "I am love" is a beautiful expression and very clever of adam to put together he does speak from the heart and is truth. When my son does something he knows to be wrong he tells me luv u and I know this is his way of trying to say sorry and he does not know what to do in the situation. brilliant strategies.

maxine xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

8:14 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home