Star Marks The Spot


It’s Springtime and the city work crews and demarcation teams from gas, water, and telephone are busily marking up the city sidewalks to get ready to carve them up again to do more work. Sidewalk after sidewalk the cement is getting more colourful on our walking routes. Johnny is fascinated by all the colours and symbols that are appearing and now I have a running commentary on our walks:

“Mommy, it’s blue. Blue is for water. It’s orange Mommy. Orange is for gas.”

From the time that Johnnny was 2 he was very interested in the valve covers panels sewage grates pointing at them and grunting “eh eh eh.” He had to stop and touch or point every single one on our route and that would mean a lot of stopping.

In order to change things up and teach colours we started pointing at the colours spray painted and getting him to stand on them or try to jump on them. For a long time he would barely acknowledge the colours and was still drawn to covers. We kept at it and kept labelling or modelling ideas of what he could say and wait for a response. We knew that just as he was repeating over and over again what he was interested in, it would take an immense amount of repetition from us to get an interaction from him about other things in the world around him. This is not easy because it feels like the thing Johnny keeps mentioning over and over again is in some way soothing him. He has a sense of control because these things are always along his route.

Over the last 3 years what I think has changed he looks for the unexpected and what is different and enjoys finding it. He still is very detail orientated but instead of looking for the same valve covers over and over again he gets joy over finding a green star in the sidewalk.

What does a green star mean? Tree roots are blocking the drain to the house and it needs to be cleared.

“They need to fix this Mommy.”

Johnny wants to see green stars on the sidewalks in front of all the big old trees now:).


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