Charlie’s Domain (#480)

“He likes the driveway,” Jim said to me yesterday after I mentioned how Charlie had spent a good hour running up and down it in the dark: By the time he had had his piano lesson it was almost 7.30pm, too late for “go wahk” as Charlie had asked me.
We have a quite long, straight driveway, bordered by some very tall pine trees on one side and a big lawn and more pine trees on the other side. It is a perfect straightaway for Charlie to pace or run. He especially likes to do a sort of circuit in which he zooms out the front door, down the driveway and back up just near the garage, then a left turn onto the concrete walkway and up the stairs into the kitchen. Pause, and back down (leaving the door open, to his grandparents’ chagrin, especially with fall weather having arrived). Repeat.

Tonight it was even colder than last night. After a good school day in which Charlie especially shone during gym class (the result of so much biking and swimming—though there is a long list of gross motor skills that Charlie cannot do, especially if a ball is involved), ABA with two therapists who both could piggy-back him, and a rapid run-walk to the train station before dinner, Charlie showered and put on his “jahmahs,” requested to look at photos on the computer and do some puzzles—all part of what has been his bedtime routine.

For the past few nights, Charlie has gotten down from the couch in the middle of the photo show and asked to do puzzles, or rather asked to do the same few puzzles. When I pulled out one of a spaceship that he has only done a few times, Charlie grinned and said “Nooooooooo! No puzzoh.” And grabbed the one he has been doing every night and rapidly put it together. And when he had done that, and another one with dinosaurs, he was out the garage door and in the driveway. I summoned Charlie in long enough to put on a fleece jacket, warm-up pants over his pajamas, socks, shoes, and a hat and said “It’s kind of cold, maybe not for too long.”

Ten minutes, passed, then twenty, then twenty-five and then thirty. My father-in-law was watching the playoffs for the World Series; my mother-in-law had gone to bed and Veronica was talking to her family; Jim was working late in his office. Charlie walked.
I watched. At our old house, which had a much smaller yard, Charlie was forever running over the grass a few hours down in both directions and was in the habit of “disappearing” into one house’s backyard in particular, as those neighbors (who were very kindly) tended to leave their gate open, to reveal a most tempting play structure. My in-laws’ house where we now live offers him much more space to run and roam and still be in his own yard—and within my line of vision. I cannot guarantee that Charlie will “never” bolt into the street just as a car is coming or decide it is time that he explore the hedges a few houses down—-so far, he seems very content with the extent of his domain.

My in-laws moved into this house over thirty years ago. Jim was in college and his youngest sister in high school: The grass that Charlie runs through has never really been trod upon by a young child pleased to have so much space to explore and still be “home,” to call his own. There is little traffic on our street and the driveway is well-lit and so tonight Charlie stayed out running for almost an hour, only coming inside after I had made several requests.

Charlie’s teacher came for a home visit on Thursday. She has been working with him since the day he started at his new school; she has witnessed and helped Charlie get through every tough moment in such a big transition. On Thursday, Charlie smiled to see her and then—as he seemed to want to stay in the front yard and the driveway—his teacher and I sat on the porch and went over everything he is learning at school (his academics, social skills, speech, and more). As Charlie sprinted back and forth in the driveway, his teacher noted how much he smiles, and I chimed in with how peaceful easy-feeling he has been since school started in September.

Right now, Charlie is in the right place.

2 Responses to “Charlie’s Domain (#480)”
  1. Mamaroo says:

    I am so happy that Charlie is happy.

    I think if we were neighbors Roo would join Charlie running the length of the driveway.

    I am looking forward to our move so my boy will have more room to run also.

  2. I hope the move goes well. Yes, I think they’d be running wind sprints together!

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