In the course of our research, Andrew wrote an article which was published in a national magazine. It touched one young mother so much that she wrote us this letter (as usual, we've changed the names) :
I recently picked up a copy of a local magazine and was amazed at the article in it that seemed to answer so many questions. I'd been reading it because I'm considering an alternative school for my six-year-old son as he doesn't 'fit in' at a regular school, and then I saw your article Off With the Pixies, which really freaked me! It seemed to put into perspective a possibility of why my son has always seemed 'different' and 'difficult'.
Usually, if I mentioned my feelings about him to others, I'd just get a look that said 'You're a nutter', but your article confirmed my beliefs that there's more to him than we know, or at least, could be. I felt compelled, for my own sanity, to share my story.
Jerry's behaviour became became 'difficult' at about 9 months of age. He developed glue ear,* which as he grew, impeded his speech and learning. However, he constantly showed us how smart he was by doing lots of hands-on stuff which was way beyond his age (e.g. at one year of age he removed all the locked plug guards by sticking a plug end into the key socket and turning). Then one holiday, before he was 18 months, he walked up and down a beach for over an hour doing endless perfect crosses (as in a religious cross) in the sand. It was the calmest I'd ever seen him.
As he got older, he was harder for me to handle, brutally independent and super smart. He stayed on his own rather than mixing with the other kids. He was very musical and spent hours doing art, in particular 'map drawings' – like crude Escher sketches, very detailed.
Around the age of three or four, I was showing him pictures of a holiday in Austria, full of huge mountain scenes. I'd always talked about geography and travel and cultures, but one place no-one had ever spoken of was Mt Everest. When I showed Jerry the photo of Innsbruck, he looked at one photo and said,'That looks like Mount Everest.' He said it clear as a bell, which was odd as his speech was impaired. Then when I asked him who had told him about Mt Everest, he said no-one – he'd been there. He hadn't climbed it but he'd seen it from nearby a long time ago.
A little while later he began talking about God and spirits, and then one day, unknown to me, my sister found that he'd written an ancient symbol of Christ on a painting. I'm not an artist or a great Christian and knew nothing of it until she showed me the symbol in a book.
His worldly knowledge, odd tastes (for a kid) in food and music, and his yearning to travel, paint and sing has only increased. He recently turned six and constantly freaks us out with religious comments, technological and world facts. Yesterday he told his grandfather how to make his lawn mower work better and he was spot on.
He's always trying to escape, won't go to the local school (too boring) and I can't help feeling he may have been through it all before. The weirdest thing, though, happened a few months ago. He and my brother-in-law were sitting on the beach and playing, then out of the blue Jerry went totally serious, looked at Sandy and pointing at the ocean he said, 'See that water, that's all going to freeze soon and everything is going to change.' When a shaken Sandy asked how he knew, he just said, 'I know. I knew in Mum's tummy.'
Jerry was diagnosed with ADD and allergies and I'm curious to know if there is a link between ADD and other-world experiences. Maybe ADD kids aren't just 'difficult' or 'sick', but have too much experience for one life, and a little body, to handle.** Jerry knows what you're thinking too and can anticipate your thoughts and words. I know he's special but at times it's scary and it's always exhausting.
I don't think he's special just because he's my son – we've had too many negative times to be in that sort of biased frame of mind. But he is here to teach, I'm sure of that, and I'm trying to learn from him and keep my cool when he's being awkward. I had a very normal, but open-minded, childhood and it all seems a little too weird sometimes.
Maybe you could start a network of freaked out parents!
* Glue ear. A condition in which thick, sticky fluid collects behind the eardrum. The fluid blocks the middle part of the ear and can cause impaired hearing. It usually affects children and is also known as Chronic otitis media with effusion (OME), Secretory otitis media, or Middle-ear effusion.
** It is now thought that 'Indigo Children' may diagnosed as ADD.