I don’t know if it’s an autism thing or what, but many nights Babyboy cannot go to sleep until he’s completed some particular task or project. If we try to pull his attention away from, say, writing a comic strip in Chinese, he ignores us. He is very good at this. Nothing will distract him when he’s got a vision. If we press the issue, he runs away and hides until he’s achieved his goal. If we force it, he’s in actual pain, tortured by the idea that it’s not done. Honestly, we try not to force it. 

And yes, tonight he was using Siri and Google translate on Daddy’s iPhone to create this little story using Chinese characters. He’d closed the door to his room and I could hear him ask the phone: “How do you write Money is good in Chinese?” 

I peeked and watched him carefully, painstakingly copy the words.

Why a comic book in Chinese? No idea. But it looks pretty cool:


He was so proud of the finished work. He brought it to me and asked if we could read it together. I impressed upon him how impressed I was: “Honey, tonight you’ll have to read your book to me, because I can’t read Chinese. You’re the expert!”

Oh, he beamed. 

Of course, after that, there were two more tasks that he absolutely had to complete before bedtime: Locate this one particular Captain Underpants book that had a flip- cartoon he needed to see, and then find his lucky Guatemalan 25 Centavo coin. 

He found the Captain Underpants book he was looking for.
We couldn’t find the lucky coin. Luckily, I have a stash of Guatemalan change.

The book in question was quickly located and we both smiled in relief. But the lucky coin remained elusive. Babyboy dumped his coffee can piggy bank, searching, increasingly upset as he dug through the pile of regular old boring American coins. 

Thank goodness I have a desk drawer full of random bits of foreign currency from all over. Babyboy, elated, raced back to his bank with a replacement Guatemalan 25 cent piece, as well as specimens from Nicaragua, Peru, and England. 

Even though he was up way later than any first- grader should be, I didn’t mind. (Daddy might, though, since he’s on morning duty tomorrow…) The way I see it, each “task” had some intellectual, educational, or creative value. 

I don’t know why he gets these little obsessions, but I do suspect it’s an Autism quirk. Doesn’t matter, though, because frankly, I think it’s pretty cool.