Dr. Seuss has played a prominent role in our family. I read to my children from a very young age, knowing that one day, they would take off without me on their own reading adventures. Well, one of my children did. My son, Trevor was different. My son was diagnosed with autism at the age of four. He needed the security of repetition, of familiarity. He could never get enough of Dr. Seuss. We once flew from Oklahoma City to Denver on vacation and although Trevor loved being in an airplane, it was something new. His anxiety was extremely high. On that flight I must have read Go, Dog. Go! and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish at least twenty times. Each. (I can still read those two books with my eyes shut. *wink*)
Shortly after that trip, we expanded Trevor’s Seuss library – and I may have buried those two books just to save my sanity. (That incessant rhyming was driving me mad!) I’m sorry to say that I fell out of love with Dr. Seuss every time Trevor found my hiding place and those two books resurfaced and I was forced to read them again.
We ran into another situation with Dr. Seuss when Trevor hit grade school. He found a friend in his autism classroom that also loved the Dr. Seuss books. In fact, they both loved Dr. Seuss so much that they would spend the whole day talking in nothing but Seuss dialogue. All his classmate would have to say to get things started would be, “Hey Trevor, ‘Are you my Mother’?” and off they’d go exchanging lines from that book until they moved onto the next one. After much arguing, banning “Dr. Seuss talk”, crying in frustration, I learned to find the silver lining in this problem; he had found a friend.
Life with a child on the autism spectrum can sometimes feel like you have chaotic Things rushing about trying to help you fix a small problem only to end up with a wrecked house. The story of The Cat in the Hat and the other longer stories helped me fall back in love with Dr. Seuss and embrace the chaos. Who says life has to be neat and perfect? Who says our kids have to be that way either?
Seuss really wrote stories for his audience and not for the parents. Although his stories may have a moral or a message, they do not take precedent over the telling of the story itself. What parent would want a writer to tell kids that if they totally wreck the house and break all the rules, but manage to clean up and hide all signs of their crimes, they don’t necessarily have to tell their parents anything about it? I love that. I love how he ends The Cat in the Hat with a question – making kids think for themselves and NOT giving them the answer. Refreshing, no?
My son is seventeen, now, and although he can read by himself – all the way up to a third grade level – and he does read many other books, he still likes for me to read to him. And his favorite books are still by Dr. Seuss. I love you, Trevor.
And I love Dr. Seuss. Happy Birthday!