Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Soundtrack of Our Life

There are so many things about my autistic son, Jack, that I absolutely adore. He is smart, he is cuddly, he loving and unique. He has a wonderful way of seeing the world that both amazes me and makes me laugh.

One of the things that entertains me to no end, however, is his constant humming. I am always aware of what he is currently obsessing on based on the tune coming from his pursed lips.

He was really into Star Wars for a while, so I would hear Darth Vader's theme music floating around Jack as he absentmindedly sat in the car or did his homework. Then he was into Harry Potter, so he would hum a pitch perfect rendition of the Harry Potter music while playing with his Legos.

He is currently very interested in Super Mario Bros. Wii and will now hum that all day long. It is absolutely fascinating to me how he picks this music up. I barely notice it, but he hears it, appreciates it, and then replicates it.

He even changes the music based on which level of the game he is thinking about. Each level has a different tune. Jack knows this and has figured out how to hum each of them. I will ask him what he is humming and he will tell me, "Super Mario Bros. Wii world three."

I am especially astounded by this because no one in my family is a musical person. I think I might actually be tone deaf. I appreciate music, but am incapable of reproducing the nuances of voice, rhythm, and tone that he can. For Jack, this is intuitive.

I'm sure the humming annoys some people. I am actually a little surprised that it doesn't bother me as well. I have a lot of sensory issues, sound being one of my biggest triggers. But Jack's adorable little voice doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I welcome it.

It is as if we are all living our lives and he is providing our theme music. Not everyone gets to live with a built-in soundtrack. I truly enjoy the fact that we get to go about our daily business with our own personal instrumentalist.

Stimey blogs about her life at her personal blog, Stimeyland. She runs an autism events website for Montgomery County, Maryland at AutMont and writes a column about autism called Autism Unexpected for the Washington Times Communities.


  1. I think I may have his musical twin at my house.

  2. Mine sang his version of Beyonce's Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) for months. In his own way. Went like this: "Ahmasinkamadies, ahmasinkamadies, pudurhamsup!" He still stops dead if it comes on the television. He's just five but he knows what he likes, I guess. These days he sings one commercial over and over and over, "Ijuswannabeokay beokay beokay Ijuswannabeokaytoday".
    He doesn't play video games yet, but if your son is a good indicator, I have lots to look forward to.

  3. My daughter recently informed me that she had invented singing with your mouth shut. She was not impressed when I told her that she had in fact invented humming. And that I already knew how.

  4. My daughter too. She'll come out of her crib (she's 3) humming Beethoven or Mozart... on it will go to songs she once heard in Music Together (music class)... to the theme to Backyardigans and songs from Disney movies. Oddly, while we recognize the tunes and almost always have, nor were we ever surprised by it (before she talked she'd use it as sort of a requesting mechanism)... her teachers see it as task avoidant.... Do Jack's teachers too?