Surely it is a harmless enough title for a 6 year old to read? He brought it home from school, although he did not actively choose it. He sits on my lap at 6 in the morning, before anyone else is up. The contents, the story, is a tender one. He reads the refrain in his robot voice, no doubt, just to gladden a mother's heart…..
'I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living,
My baby you'll be.'
It's on nearly every page. The child grows up, bigger and bigger, but the mother still rocks him in her arms and whispers the lullaby. As he reads the rest of the book, his appropriate expression and emphasis, indicates comprehension, although he omits all the 'he, she's and its' as they are superfluous, not because he is incapable. He squalks at the illustrations, irritated by the sketch lines.
In the final pages the parent and child role is reversed, as the mother is elderly and sits on her now adult son's lap. That is too much for junior to accept, the sheer lunacy of the thing makes him hurl the book, scowling.
He pauses, jumps up and retrieves the book for further study and review. His eyes flick up to mine to ask, “he is autistic?” This is a word he has never said.
“How do you mean?”
“Dah man is growed up autistic?” This is the devilment of a speech delay for an inadequate parent.
“Why do you think the man is autistic?”
“Coz when he is lickle dere are cuddles, now he is dah big one,… dah man, his mum is squishing him.” [translation = deep proprioceptive input]