Three-year-old boys are usually not very interesting people. Perhaps you work with someone who is a parent of a three-year-old boy. Once you get past the general stats (yeah, my boy can throw a football - he's got some arm I tell ya), the requisite compliment of the photo/original artwork/unrecognizable craft project (wow. Your kid made that gluesparklethingy himself? wow.) What is there to say after that? What?

There are only two major things that can possibly make a three-year-old boy interesting:

Good Luck:
      Inheritance - everybody loves rich people, right?
     Beauty - Macaulay Culkin will never be so loved as when he was a preschooler
      Talent - I saw a 3-year-old kid who could play zydeco accordion on a talk show once
      Brains - that cuddly kid over there can compute pi to the 784th place! Woo!

and

Bad Luck:
      PovertySave the Children wouldn't show those hungry kids if it made people turn the channel
      Disability - did you see that poor kid with the deformity/wheelchair/freckles?
      Mishap - orphans, toddlers who fall down wells, survivors of crime and accident are riveting.

I am a parent of a three-year-old boy. He is bad luck interesting. Pervasive Developmental Delay. Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Sensory Integration Disorder. Asperger Type Symptoms. He is still learning to speak. He is socially inept - he may mistake hitting or headbutting as friendly gestures. He can't stand certain textures of food, strong smells, or high pitched sounds.

People find him interesting. They ask questions.

     "Autistic? Are you giving him extra oxygen?"
         Perhaps you thought I said Asthmatic.

     " What's his special talent? You think he could count cards in Vegas like Rain Man?"
         He can freeze water with his mind.

     "Can he read your mind?"
         Ummmmmmmmm…

They comment:

     "He doesn't look autistic."
          Uh, Thanks?

     "I'm so very sorry - how is your family handling it?"
         He didn't die. This is part of his personality. He wouldn't be him without it.

     "You are an inspiration."
         You wouldn't say that if you knew I served my child pizza for dinner 5 nights in a row.

My favorite is when people give me parenting advice. The best comes from people without kids.

     "He just needs some attention."
         I spend 20 hours a day with him - what more can I do?

     "He just needs some discipline."
         Oh yeah - I'll be sure to crack the whip until he understands what a napkin is.

     "Don't worry - He'll grow out of it."
         Thank you Dr. Stupid. I feel much better now.

So what, you ask, am I supposed to say to you, mother of the little boy spinning in circles, eating rocks, humming, repeating the same phrase over and over?

I'll tell you.

Find a Good Luck Interesting thing about him and say it.

     "What a beautiful smile!"

     "That is the fastest spinning I've ever seen!"

     "He knows the names of all the planets! What a smart kid!"

thanks

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