Learning on a Hobo Train and Everywhere Else.

September 14, 2014
I was awaken at 7 AM on Saturday by Robert who was emptying the dishwasher not without some rattling noises. He probably wanted to get a drink of green tea, but all the cups were in the dishwasher. Robert couldn’t take just one cup from the dishwasher. He had to first put all of the dishes in proper places before he could take a cup from the cupboard and fill it with his ice tea. We ate breakfast and drove to Cambridge side of the Charles River. We walked along the river until we reached Longfellow Bridge. We crossed it to Boston. The Boston side was crowded with people arriving for a concert, with policemen and police women, police cars, and VIP cars which were allowed to drive on walking lanes and park on the grass. That required some adjustments on our part – waiting, maneuvering, and omitting closed sections. Still, Robert not only didn’t mind but seemed to be quite pleased with the commotion. We walked back along the river, until we reached Harvard Bridge. The wind on the bridge was so strong that I took off my glasses afraid I would lose them. Without glasses my balance was a little off, but Robert didn’t seem to notice. Or maybe he did and that was why he walked behind me, instead of getting ahead with his dad. Was he afraid that I would fell down? I am not sure.
So what did Robert learn during this walk? To be among people and be self at the same time? To be alone and yet to be connected ?
On Sunday, we drove to White Mountains in New Hampshire. We arrived just in time to get on a Hobo train. For 80 minutes, we were sitting and looking through the windows at rather monotone view of woods with the highlight of two bridges over stony river. Of course, there were snacks. Chips that Robert likes, and ice cream Robert ignores. I bought both. Robert ate chips and very reluctantly with many words of encouragement tried ice cream. Touched the spoon with his lips. After more words of encouragement and blackmail (No chips if you don’t eat the rest), he managed to eat a quarter of a teaspoon of ice cream. Slowly, he warmed up to the cold treat and ate at least ten more halves of the spoon.
Why it that important? Because Robert goes to ice cream places with other people and doesn’t eat anything. So although we are concerned with his weight gain, we also want him to enlarge his food repertoire.
At the end of the trip, Robert got a souvenir – a red bandana tied to a wooden stick. He looked at it and wanted to give it back. One shouldn’t take an object from one place to another. Thus the bandana should stay in the place it belonged to – the train. It took a lot of repetitive explanations of what the souvenirs are and what people do with them, before Robert accepted the gift and allowed us to take it to our car.
After the train ride we drove to Flume Gorge. It was rather cold and there were very few people in the park. So on the part of the trail between the Gorge and the Pool, we practiced walking in the MIDDLE of the path. That was something we had done, in exactly the same place, a year or two ago. Stretching arms in both directions, Robert tried to find a path between poison ivy on right and the steep down slope on left.
Neither Jan nor I felt an urge to teach Robert anything else as any information added artificially to our walk would interfere with Robert’s being attuned to the surrounding him nature, to his parents, and to himself. And so he was.

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