Sunday, October 3, 2010

I Am A Part Of B's Brain

     That's a weird title, but it has become more and more apparent to me lately that a big reason B doesn't like to spend time apart from me results from the fact that I have taken over certain functions that she lacks. I operate as a memory holder, a social guide, and an initiator of action for her. The world and casual social interactions remain a mystery to her, and until she grows comfortable with someone, she doesn't know what they expect from her. Those that do get to know her, I notice, also take on a part of this role, prompting her and forgiving her inability to master conversational skills. I wonder how much they notice that they do this as well?
     In new situations she has trouble following even basic social cues. People will say hi to her and she will walk right past them. She has a friendly demeanour, so doing this seems odd. When people ask her what she did, or how she feels, she turns to me to tell what we did or how she feels. She doesn't do this because she can't expend the energy, nor does she do it as a cheat. She doesn't remember or doesn't know the appropriate response.
    One thing that she has done to compensate is to manufacture memories that she doesn't possess. For instance, everything she remembers happened when she was four. I use 'remembers' loosely, lots of her memories are not real, but she understands that people have memories and so she has felt compelled to develop a scheme wherein she has memories. As a result, she says, "Mommy, remember that time we went on a boat when I was four?" and I say, "Yes, four was a very busy year for you." because she gets quite married to these "memories".
     I also have to physically steer her around quite a bit. Because she lacks the areas of the brain that process spatial information, giving her directions to find something or get something doesn't work.
     I have realised that doing without me is much more serious for her than other children, and that it has become a real source of anxiety for her for good reason. She doesn't want my continuous presence, she just needs her whole brain.

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