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Waves of Conversation

The ocean brought out Peter's words

Conversations at the beach—it was not what I expected. I thought I would be spending my whole time at the beach convincing Peter, who is extremely sensory defensive, to deal with the sand, explore the waves, stay for awhile.

After we made it through the dry sand and headed to lapping waves I had a son in love with his new location. The waves seemed to mesmerize him. At one point he was standing in the water with waves beating against his knees. I caught him staring intently down the beach at the ground and asked him what he was looking at.

Peter pointed right at the water leaving curly formations on the sand as they joined back with the rest of the ocean. He said, “Mom, waves are like clouds on the ground, right?” I told him that was a great way to think of them. Then he added that it made sense since they were made of water just like clouds in the sky.

Peter in a new environment was getting quite deep and being very verbal. So verbal that he had Charlotte stop building a castle with Kit and Peter to tell me about his latest discussion. She had memorized the dialogue.

Kit and Charlotte had started a sand castle while Bill was still in the water with Peter. Peter came running up to them and asked what they were doing. When the girls said they were building a sand castle, he said, “Can I help?”

The girls gave Peter the job of getting water. He came back with the water and sea rocks saying they were for a flag and castle decorations, maybe a door.

It sounds like a typical moment at the beach, but for Peter it was anything but typical. He usually has to be coaxed to join in an activity and dragged into a conversation. For Peter to start the conversation and contribute to the activity spontaneously was just short of amazing.

Peter would write notes in the sand each day. The last day he wrote “Love the beach!” The next morning before we left everyone took turns walking along the beach. When I asked Peter if he wanted to come say goodbye he went back to typical Peter mode—“I said goodbye to it yesterday.”

By the time we were home, everyone was planning the next trip to the ocean. Peter remained in high communication mode, even texting a friend of mine about how much he loved the beach. He told her the town we were in and asked if she was staying at the same hotel. “Mom, does Narragansett, have one ‘s ‘or two?”

gail burlakoff August 26, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Oh, Patrice! Peter is a poet!! "Waves are like clouds on the ground"!! Thank you for this lovely piece :-)
Patrice E. Athanasidy August 26, 2012 at 01:20 AM
A poetic scientist--hope for his future! Thank you.

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