We concentrate on homework, at least I concentrate on their homework, but they appear to be singularly distracted. Whislt children sit at the table not doing homework, two cats hurtle around the house chasing each other’s tails as well as their own. I drag his attention back to the number of horses in the math problem, or more particularly the number of legs that they collectively own. It is a poorly designed question leading us up blind alleys regarding animal welfare. “Why they are gallop? Er no, er canter or maybe it is trot?” His fingers tap on the box of snack bars, a visual reminder of the reward to come. “Why is who, er what dear?” “Dey! Dey! Why dey are do dat?” His fingers tear at the corner of the box as this child is not averse to the texture of paper. “Who is doing what dear?” “Dah cats?” He continues to tap, twiddle and tear, whilst his legs swing and pump under the table. “Oh! Why are they all crazy dashing about the place?” “Yes, why dey are dash?” “Spring fever I suspect.” Giggles and wriggles are contagious. “No. Spring is on March 21. Today we are March 12.” I examine his face for a hint of humor or sarcasm. None. The fig bars fall out of the box and his hands are all over them. “You’re right dear! But they certainly are very frisky for this time of the day.” They are all infected with fidgets. “You’re right! Dat is because day are nocturnal.” I check again. His face is dead pan. Soon those fig bars will be crumbs. “You’re right dear! They are generally nocturnal. Now, back to the question. How many legs to the horses have?” “Horses, dey are not nocturnal.” His body is revving up, a pile of wriggling worms, something is on it’s way. “You’re right dear. Now. Horses. Legs. How many?” “My homework is finished?” “Nope, not yet. Here, I’ll give you a clue, it’s an even number because each horse has four legs.”
“Hey! I know! Dis horse walked into a bar,” he explodes with uproarious laughter and tumbles off his chair, as do the other two. I peek under the table, lifting the cloth. Three children roll on the floor together beneath their unfinished homework. So much for neural pathways. "Autism Schmatism," I’m with Granny on this one.