Yesterday, I noticed Julia asking whether it was true that C was coming over to sit for her in the evening. C sat during the week and told Julia that she was coming on Sunday. Julia never remembered stuff like that—time and people—before. We’ve had months of her asking what we were doing tomorrow and what comes next in the day, usually at inappropriate moments. Vacations, breaks and visits with her sister are being commented on in terms of how soon they are coming up. Mostly questions. And during our latest travels to Chicago and Indianapolis, Julia asked more than once when we were going home and wanted to know how many more days could we stay. These are very small steps forward but she may be developing some sort of time sense.
I take a sense of time for granted. We leave at a particular time to get to school on time, to get to meetings, to get to the movies before previews. If we use up our time doing one task there is no time for the other, possibly preferred, task. Christmas and birthdays and vacations are so many days and months away. Without a sense of time, the wake up alarm is merely an annoyance, rushing or taking our time makes no sense, and so many references in books and movies are wasted.
Teachers, therapists and I have worked intermittently, casually and formally, on time, giving Julia tools—days, months, years, telling clock time and telling time words—for a long time now. Mostly it has been like spelling words into Hellen’s hands before meaning dawned. Because of Julia’s work ethic, she spit back the information we provided somewhat appropriately. Mostly without understanding and a good deal of it is immediately forgotten probably because it had little meaning.
Dare I say that I see some movement on this front? I could be giddy! Even a rudimentary sense of time would be a welcomed addition to her life’s tool box and also make my life easier. I can also see movement in Julia’s ability to take other people’s points of view, some growth in a generous heart and in her desire to enter into conversation. My impulse is to lean into one of these areas, not that I necessarily know how to. I know few parents of typical kids do little more than go over clock time with their kindergarteners and teach conversation etiquette to their 7 year olds. Most of all of this develops through absorbing good example; however, I know that ordinarily Julia absorbs little that is not directly taught. And so how best to make use of these current interests? And what to do to encourage them? Does formal encouragement really help or do I need to just wait for these to develop just like typical parents wait with their much younger children?
Too many questions for a Monday morning but still the glimmer of time sense is an exciting development.