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What's the Real Treasure? Comparing Silver and Gold to Barney Purple


I found a treasure this summer at a thrift store. It wasn’t silver or gold. It was purple.


Thomas loves to watch videos. The VHS/DVD section is his first stop in our regular thrift store shopping routine. Yes….we STILL have a VHS/DVD combo player that works. And there is a second one in the closet as a backup. If you have a child on the spectrum, you might understand. He loves all those early 2000 cartoons and live-action puppetry shows. One of his favorites is about a purple dinosaur who sings, dances, and thinks everything is “super de duper”!


If you know, you know.


It’s Barney and Friends or Barney and/or the Backyard Gang if you know your Barney lore.


On a rare “unchaperoned by Thomas” thrift store outing, I discovered a treasure: a stuffed Barney the Dinosaur in super de duper good condition. I knew Thomas would love it. I immediately scooped it up and walked around the store in triumph. I had unearthed a treasure AND for a super de duper discounted price! (Insert Barney song)🎶 I love you. You love me. I love being thrif-if-ty. 🎶


But then I hesitated as I walked to the register.


Should I be buying Thomas a toy that is not age-appropriate for an 18-year-old boy?

Is it okay to let him continue to love little kid things?


There are always so many ways to second-guess ourselves as parents and overthink something as simple as buying a $3 stuffed purple dinosaur.


Why does Thomas still love Barney? Why does Thomas enjoy watching the same videos on repeat? I speculate that it has to do with his craving for predictability. He has all the dialogue memorized. He can act out each scene. (He’s not the only one. 🙋‍♀️ ) In this crazy chaotic sensory stimulation world, watching a familiar video can bring a sense of predictability to a person who struggles to process the ever-changing world around them. It’s a favorite friend who will not surprise them with new information.


Thomas is not the only one who likes to watch movies on repeat. I like background noise when I’m sewing so I put on one of what I call my “sewing movies”: Steel Magnolias. Moonstruck. Pride and Prejudice. I have seen them so many times that I can run the scene in my head without actually watching the screen just from listening to the dialogue. ( I do stop and watch Mr. Darcy’s hand flex. Hot emoji ) Why does listening to the southern accented taunting of Clairee Belcher and Ouiser Boudreaux help me focus on the task of sewing? I don’t know. It’s just what I do.

Maybe you have super de duper movies you watch on repeat too.

Well…


We all have special needs. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others.


So Is it okay to let Thomas continue to love little kid things?

Yes. He’s still learning and growing from those little kid things.


We are each uniquely created to reflect who God is. Comparing our reflection to others is not what God intended for us. It does me no good to compare Thomas to other 18-year-olds. I need to focus on his individual growth as a child of God.

Typical 18-year-olds have grown out of watching Barney on the regular. Thomas fully acts out the scenes from his favorite Barney videos. But four years ago, he was just starting to do the hand motions to some of the songs. Thomas recites full sections of Barney's dialogue in an understandable voice. But four years ago he was just starting to repeat familiar phrases of those videos in a voice that only mama could understand. His growth has been amazing. But if I compared his growth to typical 18-year-old milestones?


So on Christmas morning, Thomas opened a super de duper wrapped gift that held a special purple dinosaur.

Thomas held it.

Thomas hugged it.

Thomas kissed it.

And I cried.

Barney was a purple thrifty treasure to find this summer. But the real treasure?

Growth.

Thomas’s growth in his ability to process and interact with the world around him.

My growth towards being less judgemental and more compassionate.

Both of us continue to grow into the people God created us to be one super de duper step at a time.


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Patricia Doucet
Patricia Doucet
Mar 07
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Such a great post, LaCinda, and food for thought. We all have special needs. So true!

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