My favorite of J’s recent works (the version on the right captures its essence a little better):
Jonah has taken to making these sort of creations. Sometimes scissors and glue are involved (last night some sort of superhero emerged after about twenty minutes of work at the table, during which time I was commanded to close my eyes whenever I came in the room because it was “a very big surprise,” and Gabriel was fended off with shouts of “He’s going to RUIN it!”). Sometimes the result looks pretty much like a wadded up piece of paper, which belies the craft. You can see a few lines of text—that is the poem, nabbed from John’s desk where I was scrounging for a piece of paper (I have been assured that our computer paper is in a box, in the garage). And J really did spend a good five minutes fashioning the shape of this particular ghost. He handed it to me with great care. We set it on the shelf near the vitamins and greenies so that when John came home he would be duly frightened. “Vitamins and greenies” is code for an elaborate ritual involving the dispensing of the boys’ daily vits and green food supplements. I’d explain further, but I’m not even sure how it goes, though Gabriel does something we call “the greenie dance.” Quite worth the price of admission.
Jonah woke up this morning and wanted to know how he could be a real ghost. (“When you do that, you need to be brave and strong and true. And then you need to be dead, and you need to sit all night and all day. And then you come back alive and you’re made out of smoke and then you turn into a ghost. You’ll be a little different when you’re a ghost. My heart told me I need to be a ghost.”) His play is a strange mix of imagination and reality. He doesn’t want to be a fireman or a bus driver or a postman; he wants to be a “powerful ranger,” a Transformer, the “real Darth Vader, the good one,” a zombie. This last one has been tricky, since John informed him that to be a real zombie you must find another zombie to eat your brains. For days, Jonah kept asking if John had seen any zombies on campus. “I need a real zombie to eat my brains so that I can be a real zombie. I need a real zombie to eat my brains so that I can be a real zombie,” he seemed to chant. I wonder sometimes if we don’t convey that we’re listening very well, because J repeats things, loudly, incessantly. I have a hunch it has more to do with his own processing, a verbal stim. A kind of wish to make it true.