Christian was bursting with uncontainable excitement as I climbed into the car this afternoon.
"I have a surprise for you at home. I made a puzzle, but I'm not going to tell you what kind because it's a surprise."
He makes things. His projects include abstract coloring with a hodgepodge assortment of crayons, pens, and markers. Scissors are also involved with the majority of his projects, but the purpose they serve is more to experience the sensation than a specific artistic design. However, making a puzzle is the first functional application in which he's applied his cutting skills, so I'm impressed. However, I all ready know what kind of puzzle he made for me. It's a solar system.
My wife and I think Christian has aspergers and one of the symptoms is a vivid creative engine that appears wholly original to all but close family members, yet it is actually a mimicry of the aspie's common influencers. We have a giant floor puzzle of the solar system that he's been assembling and deconstructing for the past couple of days. He's also been coloring pictures of the planets once the puzzle has been put together.
But as far as he knows, I am clueless to the contents of his surprise.
After work, we had some errands to run so Christian rode along in the car with me. After our first stop, he had some more surprise to share with me.
"My surprise is a good surprise, Daddy," he said. "I'm going to give you some clues so that you can try to guess what it is. Then you can see it when we get home."
"OK," I replied.
"It has Pluto in it. Can you guess what it is?"
I can, but I still answer, "No."
"Oh. Well, it also has Neptune and Mars and Jupiter and Saturn in it. And Venus and Mercury and Uranus. It has Earth too. Can you guess what it is?"
"The sun is in it. What do you think it is?"
"I don't know."
"Oh. It also has stars and an asteroid belt. Do you know what kind of puzzle I made?"
"It's a solar system!"
"It is? Wow." I gave him the full excitement of a properly surprised father. "But I thought you wanted it to be a surprise." I said.
"I did," Christian said, "until now."
Again, most would think a kid drawing a picture of our solar system and cutting it up into a puzzle would be an intelligent and creative activity for any five year old. I don't want to discount the brainy side of that activity, as he is able to recall all of the planets and he picked the correct colors to draw his masterpiece. But the creativity is a replicate.
A beautiful copy, but still a copy.