Sunday, 5 April 2009

My Dad said that, so it's true!

Do you remember that time when your child started
to question everything? The endless, tiring "Why? Why?
But why?"
causing the constant brain storm to find the
right answer and biting your tongue to prevent this
annoying answer rolling to the tip of your tongue I heard
so often from my father - "Because I'm your Dad and
I say so!"

Usually this time comes (I think) around the age of 3
or 4. I waited for this to happen, and it didn't come.
Cirwen turned 5 and we still didn't hear once asking
"why?". We both thought it was so strange. We
were explaining things around her when we thought
she should know how the world and people work.
Although she seemed interested in what we were saying,
she just took the information with this passive acceptance.
No questioning. In the so typical for autistic people
naivete and distance to the outside world she assumed,
that these two big people looking after her must know
everything and never are wrong.

I tried to provoke the question by asking her "Do you
know how/ why etc. ..."
Or just asking her why she
did something hoping she will start at least to copy me.
No. nothing worked. She would express her interest or
not and she would explain (if she could) the reason for
doing something, but she would still never ask.

It came to the point that one day, my husband played
with Cirwen and her fairies and by the end of the game
she was convinced that Dad is Santa's elf helper and
Mum is the Tooth Fairy... There was no return from
this because Dad said that so it had to be the truth.

This got us thinking. Since then, my hubby started to
tell her incredible load of rubbish just to force to at least
question whether it was true or not. Sometimes I thought
it was a bit cruel, because some things scared her.

She wouldn't touch a key for a good few days, because
Dad said that there is a point in her back, where he can put
the key in and her legs will fall off... I did give him a row
for it as I had to put it straight and explain Dad was joking.

Next were stories about mum's and dad's super powers,
dolls coming to life when you turn your back on them
and many more. Gradually, she started to come to me
after my crazy husband cooked up another mad lie and
ask "Is that true?"

You see, we have that innate ability to read facial expressions.
We can often hear that false note in some one's voice and
a humorous twinkle in the eye which give away the fib or
joke. Cirwen, like others with autism was born without this
ability, therefore she relies on the cold words she hears.

Cirwen was about seven years old when the first "Why?"
ever came out of her mouth. I was beside myself! Two
years of applying both my provocative and my husband's
shock therapy finally worked!

The second aspect of her curiosity, I think, was the fact
that she settled down well at school, started her first
friendship and dared to open a little more to the world.
I noticed then, that she withdrew to her own dreamland
less and enjoyed more talking to others as well as trying
to make jokes of her own.

I'm not sure if she secretly still believes in some of those
stories... A year ago, she asked me if, when she becomes
a teenager she will get her own super powers... So there
I was with the dilemma. Do I tell her again it's all a bunch
of c**p? Or say "yes" and risk she'll repeat that at school
and be loughed at? In the end, I said "We'll see..."

I thought "She's only ten years old. We all need a little bit
of magic in our lives. After all I, myself hope one day
I will see a fairy!"

Cirwen has been gifted with wonderful imagination.
There's no need to kill it.


  1. Hello Libertine,

    I see the humor (as a man) but I can see how it could be problematic as well.

    I think it is a gift that all children

    I miss that implicit trust I had as a child because I have learned to look at the world slanted.


  2. I actually love reading these!
    The best thing to find out if something is true is to test it.

  3. U: As woman I saw the humour too, as a mother I felt sorry for her. I've lost my trust very early but I am rebuilding it slowly thanks to my little family and people like you.

    E_M_Y: I'm glad you like it, as surprised as you sound :-) It is best to test it, but only if you are brave enough.

  4. I loved reading this as it brought back some funny memories for me on my daughter. She too did not ask WHY until 5 or 6 but now the why's have never stopped. Tonight she asked me why God knew everything. I am not good at these I sometimes look at her and say "that's a very good question!" as I don't want her to lose that sense of understanding the world around her well enough to question things!!

    Great blog...Cheers... Jenn!

  5. Hi Libertine,
    I've come across this blog which may be helpful to you. I read somewhere that a gluten free diet helps an autistic child to develop normally.

  6. HEy there!! My mom had me convinced, at the age of 7, that there was a button in the back of my tounge, and if she pressed it, my tounge would come out. Meanwhile, she had me pinned down on the floor, with her knees on my shoulders, trying to open me clinched mouth.
    As I write this, it sounds very abbusive, but at the time it was funny.
    I love hearing about your baby's journey. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  7. Hi Libertine,
    Please check this out too - . And :p, glad that Draco is ok, I'd mixed up, sorry.

  8. Jane: not a worry I get things mixed up too :-)
    again thanks for the links.

    Christine: I'm actually glad that we are not so odd in our parenting methods lol.
    Cirwen also believed that if she pressed my belly button when I was pregnant, that my bump will open and the baby will fall out. (another daddy's story)

  9. Hi Libertine,

    It just show me how much the rest of us take for granted with our children. I remember the "why" stage very well but now I appreciate it more.

  10. Wow, she does sound like a precious little girl.

  11. I remember when my son did this. He took everything literally - you can imagine his horror when we said it was "raining cats and dogs"! He still retreats into his own little world (video games/computers) at 16. We still have to work so hard to get him to socialize, but he has finally learned about figures of speech and even attempts to tell jokes now.

    But he too has a wonderful imagination. He is starting to use his interest in computers to express himself graphic arts and animation.

    By the way, you went to my husband's blog. Mine is

  12. Interesting post.It recalls me about my "why" stage when I was a child.