When my son was 3 years old, he was obsessed with art. Our dining room table was buried somewhere under pipe cleaners, construction paper, yarn and tape for over a year. Brand new bottles of Elmer’s glue and other craft products were grabbed quickly and just as quickly used up on the newest project. Masterpieces were created and covered the walls of the playroom and then overlapped by new favorites. We would push the supplies to one side of the table so that there was room to eat dinner without damaging an on-going piece. I was thrilled to see this interest in art. I was even more excited when I saw that these paintings were used as a springboard for writing when he began labeling the pictures with phonetically spelled descriptions and then later more complete stories. As quickly as this art obsession appeared…it left. The table was cleaned one day and there were no more requests for art supplies. Done.
When my son was 4 years old, he was all about LEGOs. He loved putting the sets together…actually he wanted me to put them together and he would survey my progress from time to time. One time, I had just completed a large Star Wars ship of some kind and my TBP started taking it apart. I was shocked. This had taken me a long time and how could he do that?! I asked him why he wanted to break it and he said, “Isn’t it nice to know that you could do it? Now let’s see what cool things we can make with those pieces.” He was smiling from ear to ear. It was hard to be mad. I mean…after all, they were his in the first place. I didn’t learn my lesson until the distruction of Hogwart’s Castle which happened only minutes after several hours of my time. That was the last kit that I completed. Although I still had the desire to finish them and keep them whole to admire as museum pieces, there was no such luck. He continued to buy kits and build new things, different things than what was intended in the directions. I guess this fits really…He sees things differently than others.
At the age of 5, there was a sudden interest in survival and exploring. He got a backpack and filled it with “important things that should go with us…just in case I need them.” He had binoculars, a compass, whistle, rope, a pair of scissors, and extra snacks. He begged for a pick axe, but for obvious reasons we denied this ongoing request. He watched shows about surviving in the swamps and desserts and tried to memorize all of the techniques that were used. He would talk all about the knowledge that he was learning while he dragged (or should I say WE dragged) the heavy backpack of “important things” on walks in our suburban neighborhood. “This is not REAL exploring!” He was obviously not impressed with our version of exploring and he would point to the mountains in the distance and proclaim, “I’m going to climb up there!” I suppose that someday that could be a possibility, but it isn’t in the near future. This was a time when he was looking for adventure and he was bothered by the fact that we didn’t have the same passion. We had signed him up for a class that taught survival skills when all of a sudden this interest came to a screaching stop. He was watching the survival show that he loved when all of a sudden they caught a rabbit. He had seen them catch fish, snakes, and other small creatures but the rabbit was the end for him. He was done with survival skills, no more show, not interested in the class, and the backpack of “important things” is now buried in our over-stuffed closet. Done.
Now at 6, we are 100% consumed with Mine Craft. If you are familiar with the game, you know that there really is no end. It keeps going and going…just like the ongoing sharing of endless details from my TBP. He wants to read about it, talk about it, write about it, and learn everything he can. He has taught himself through You Tube tutorials (screened by us) how to play this apparently very addicting game. He wants to make his own tutorials to post, but is currently frustrated with their quality so they stay in the vault for now…kindof like the Disney movies.
As we learn about 2e children, we find that this is a common phenomenon…passion & obsession until they feel as though there is nothing more to learn and it’s over. Done. This can be expensive since you are being supportive (time and money) and confusing to relatives when they try and buy a gift and don’t know the newest time sucker. This passion and intensity is how my TBP lives life. Don’t get me wrong, he is afraid of germs, likes order and structure, hates surprises, but he has a thirst for learning and wants to soak in all that he can about an at-this-moment-hobby before he moves on.
At this time, I can’t imagine a time when he won’t be playing Mine Craft with one computer and looking up tutorials on another. I guess it will come. What will replace it? Who knows…What is your guess?