I’ve always mentioned how I dislike the whole Rain Man, “what’s Jude’s amazing skill?” kind of attitude because frankly, it’s ridiculous.
He’s a human being and not a magician. BUT when it comes to Jude’s sense of direction, his skills certainly overshadow mine by a miles. And my mum’s. In fact, I blame her for me losing my car in carparks so often. Somehow, Jude has avoided this genetic curse.
As I mentioned a few days ago, my mum used to drive all the way up to Cambridgeshire to attend Jude’s various therapy and paediatrician appointments with me as she wanted to be supportive and didn’t want to miss anything important going on in the wee mans life. She would do this maybe twice a week which was simply amazing and something for which I was utterly grateful. I felt really alone a lot of the time. Jude was my first child which is often traumatic enough so to add all the additional nightmares onto our daily situation was just too much. I didn’t know what I was doing, looking back now everything was a mess.
We would then drive on up to Addenbrookes Hospital which is an absolutely wonderful establishment with a great children’s centre section to it. It was here that in the early days, Jude would see his Physio, Occupational Therapist and Music Therapist. Sometimes the Physio and OT would work together for a session because when he was tiny, their goals were fairly mutual and required cooperation from each given exercise or activity. They were a wonderful pair or ladies, as was the Music Therapist. I didn’t realise at the time how lucky we were to receive one to one music sessions each week…I’m not sure Music Therapy is even on the Herts County Council agenda because it was certainly never offered to Jude when we moved down here. But then again, neither was physio, OT or anything at all…
It was sad really because he adores music and before he could talk, he would hum nursery rhymes (again that’s another conversation of its own…) He loved music therapy sessions, they were always filled with games, amazingly interactive musical instruments and this wonderful, talented lady who would try to inspire Jude through her ability to play a whole range of instruments.
Anyway, driving through Cambridgeshire towards the hospital was a fairly rural affair and naturally, we’d pass many a level crossing. Jude was OBSESSED with level crossings and even as a tiny tot, he would get all excited and giggly when he knew we were approaching another one. How did he know?! It was like a map was drawn inside his mind and he knew, based on what he could see out of the window, where we were and if we were heading in the right direction for another level crossing. We’d test him out sometimes and drive different routes but he always knew! It was when he was maybe two that we realised how awesome his knowledge of direction and space really was.
Actually, thinking back to the level crossing thing. We never really knew why he was so fascinated by them but I guess the movement triggers something in his mind that is similar to his love of windscreen wipers. You know he makes that funny movement with his knife when he’s eating and tells you he’s cleaning the windows? The level crossing arms move in that same arched direction. Perhaps there is no correlation, it could just be coincidence.
Similarly when we’d arrive at Addenbrookes, my mum and I would wander aimlessly until we happened upon a fairly recognisable area and then work out our way to the children’s centre. Seriously, that place is a maze. However, thankfully we always had little Jude with us so we were fine! Off he’d toddle, holding our hands and guiding us towards the right department. Hilarious really.
Anyway, that’s Jude’s super power. His brain seems to see places and directions. He will point when we’re driving and say “Granny and Grandad live that way” or if you drive past a road that’s familiar to him, you’ll catch him gazing in that direction deep in thought.
I’d love to think of a way that he can, in the future, use his knowledge and understanding. Perhaps a professional map reader? A human sat nav?