Friday, July 11, 2008


Ben is hiding things.

I've discovered trains in the recycling bin and in my purse, colorforms in the freezer and the bread drawer, and matchbox cars in my night table and behind books on the bookshelves.

He's not doing it in secret: he's just as likely to hide things away when we're in the room as when he's by himself.

And he's very purposeful and unselfconscious about it. When he's done with an engine, he'll just walk over and, for example, put it in the dining room cabinet next to the place mats and napkins as if that's where it goes.

I first noticed him doing this when we were at a bookstore where there was a train table. He hid a few of the engines - presumably, so he could keep other kids from playing with them and know he had a stash for himself if another kid grabbed one from him.

At four and a half, he's realized that stockpiling scarce resources = power. Pretty smart, actually.

But resources at home are anything but scarce and there's no competition for them.

Despite this, he continues to redistribute his toys all over the house for no apparent reason.

Rebellion against the ordered Montessori system of bins and baskets? Establishing a just-in-time inventory of toys all around the house? Suddenly averse to clutter?

"Why are you putting the engines in there?"

"Shhh. It's a secret."

Despite his remarkable memory for just about everything else, he forgets where he's hidden things and now will wander around the house asking, "Where's Duncan?" Of course, we're very little help.

I just hope he doesn't start doing it with food.


eileen said...

the thoughts of hidden food is not a pleasant thing to look forward to!!!
the last 2 times he has been here, he has hidden things too..... mostly in plain sight- the object seeming to be that the things are in a different place than they "belong"
oh what i'd give to get inside that marvelous little brain to see how it works.....and the why and what of adventures and games he invents....

Jordan said...

How funny. Do you think he could be "playing grown-up", sort of, where he gets to decide where everything goes instead of his parents? Perhaps when he is unable to find enough things, the inherent lesson in putting things back in a particular place will stick. I wonder if he'd like the opportunity to rearrange some things in the house (like bins and baskets) and put them where he wants, with the caveat that individual items continue to go in the right place? And yeah, I hope food doesn't become involved!!

vivian said...

I just wanted to say thank you. I've just discovered hyperlexia and am convinced my 3-year-old has it. After 10 months of searching and various diagnoses that just didn't quite fit - asperger's, sensory processing disorder, giftedness - I am relieved to finally have an answer. My Will is strikingly similar to your Ben, and I can relate to so many of your posts. That and the progress Ben seems to have made have brought me so much comfort. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

How funny! I love it.

We had the case of the missing chocolate milk-filled sippy cup once. Trust me, you don't want the hiding to involve food.

Natalie said...

I really enjoy reading your blog. A fellow adoptive parent who is a friend of yours told me about it when she found out my daughter had been diagnosed with hyperlexia. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It has given me hope that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.