Monday, July 11, 2011

Cars are cool

You know how kids with autism often have a thing they perseverate on? We’ve certainly run the gamut around here. Some of the things my boys have obsessed about become experts in have included: license plates, geography, numbers/calculators/clocks, trains, cartoons, States, Presidents, and more. Now, Monkey’s favorite topic of interest is cars.
Kia Soul in Alien green.

To the best of my recollection, I think this started when he got to accompany Titan by himself (no little brother!) for the emissions test on my husband’s car. While sitting in line at the testing station, Titan talked with Monkey about the cars in front of them and in the lanes next to them. I am not really sure that Monkey had ever taken much notice in the different symbols and words on the back of cars before. That day I remember him coming back home and telling me that he saw a Toyota and it was very exciting.  
He absolutely loves to point out every car that is the same make and model as ours. He has been so enthusiastic about it that Prince Charming has joined in and they both hunt for the cars whenever we are out and about. If he happens to see one from his “list” he gets super excited and I have to acknowledge that I, too, have seen it driving on the road or I won’t hear the end of it.
His "list" includes all of his current favorite cars that he wants to buy. The favorites are subject to change at any moment! He is practically a computer expert at the tender age of 8, and in the past couple of weeks he’s asked to go online to the various car manufacturer websites to look at the different makes and models of cars. For each of his favorite cars, he goes online when Titan is home to help, and he works to create a custom car using the manufacturer’s online personalization tool. He spends lots of time talking about all of the various add-on options for the cars and asking what each thing is for. Nine times out of ten, he wants any and all available options to be added to “his” car.
Although, I kind of found it funny when he checked off every option on one particular car, and when it came time to select an iPod dock, he said no because, “Well, we don’t have an iPod so I don’t need that in my car.” This made me chuckle since an iPod is a drop in the bucket in terms of cost as compared with the price of a car. Too funny.
When the custom car has been built online, he wants a color printout of it so that he can file it (and read it over and over and over again) and then keep it in a special spot in his room. He’s actually creating a little stack of them! If I don’t have time to print it out right away for him, he hounds me until I do. Then, as soon as he gets a new spec sheet in his hands, he wants to go back online to another website and start the process all over again. I’ve had to rein him back in a bit so that I don’t use up all of our printer ink for his latest car kick!
So far, in order, he has selected the following cars that he wants to buy:
·         Subaru Outback in Cypress Green Pearl with options totaling $30,185
·         Kia Soul in Alien with options totaling $19,585
·         Nissan Sentra in Blue Onyx with options totaling $19,669
·         Ford Focus in Yellow Blaze Metallic with options totaling $23,665
·         Subaru Legacy in Caramel Bronze Pearl with options totaling $26,587
·         Chevrolet Aveo in Summer Yellow with options totaling $12,875
Let me tell you how thrilling it is for him to see a car driving down the road that is on his list! And now, as if it couldn’t get any better, he has a new love in this grand topic: the Audi brand. I went on a road trip with the boys and their Grandpa (my dad) last week and over those days he counted all the Audi cars he saw. By the time we got home he ran into the house and told Titan that he had seen 13 Audi’s on our trip. He was so happy to share that information with his dad! You should have seen the smile on his face.
Oh yeah, mama like.

I think we can all agree that Audi does not make a cheap ride. We’ve talked extensively about how expensive cars are and that he will have to save a lot of money if he wants to have one when he is old enough to drive. We have even talked about how long it would take him to save up his birthday and Christmas money in order to buy a car. Last week he was fishing around for some possible help in that department and all of a sudden asked me if I could stop by the bank and withdraw $200,000. Not sure where he came up with that figure, but I almost fell over when he asked the question! He was so earnest in his request! I tried to stifle my laughter (I think I succeeded...sort of) as I talked with him about how I would just love to have that much money but, sadly, I do not. Just yesterday he was asking Titan if he had $20,000 in the bank that he could withdraw. I gotta love his tenacity in trying to find a way to get his own car despite the fact that he’s not old enough to drive it.  
The good thing is that Monkey is learning about the value of money. With his latest obsession interest my husband and I have been making a point to be more vocal with him about how much things cost. We want him to understand the value of money and that things are not cheap, and it takes hard work to get even the little things like gas for the car and food to eat. And, let’s face it… This mommy needs to pay off her bills before anyone in the family gets a new car, for cyring out loud!
Now, Monkey is one smart cookie. I wonder if there is a way to engage that amazing brain of his into an endeavor to earn money to save for his future car? Hmmm…that is worth some consideration, don’t you think? And yes, I have already thought about counting cards in Vegas. That idea has been brought up by our friends about a dozen times already! Somehow, I think I’d rather stick to something that he enjoys that also happens to be legal. Minor detail. J  
I wonder how long he’ll be in love with cars and what his eventual next interest will be…?
Does your child have a special interest or perseverate on one thing? What do they obsess about? Do you find it cute, potentially educational, or it is just plain annoying? Share your comments below!  
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