Over a year ago, when Eric was 13, he became fixated with horror movies, particularly the Halloween series and the character Michael Meyers. I was somewhat concerned about how the violence was being processed in his head. But more strongly, I felt the need to engage Eric through his interests and to learn together. “Follow his lead,” is what had become ingrained in me beginning in his early childhood when he started Floortime therapy.
From this horror movie phase emerged a parallel fascination with masks. He had been drawing many masks with color pencil or marker on paper. But one day, he wanted to make a sculpted one out of paper mache. We scrounged around the house for something that would serve as a mold and found it in the recycling bin --a plastic milk jug. Since we no longer have physical newspapers lying around, we made do with supermarket circulars. We looked up how to make paper mache paste on the web. The translucency of the jug made it easy to trace eyeholes and overall shape. I had Eric do as much of the handcrafting as possible and I did the directing and sneaking-in of the math. Like measuring out the ingredients for the paste, tearing the paper to a quarter or half that size, placing that strip “perpendicular” or “parallel,” etc. Eric painted it after letting it dry for a day. I taught him how to loop rubber bands together to create a long band to hold the mask in place when wearing. He was very pleased with his creation and he kept the plastic mold as a second mask.
It was around this time that Eric had begun guitar lessons. And as soon as he learned enough, he taught himself how to play the John Carpenter Halloween theme song. Of course, my “follow his lead,” reflex kicked into gear and we made a video and put it on you tube.
Eric told me recently that he is not interested in horror movies anymore --to my relief. I watched every single one of them with him. I wanted to be able to talk about it if there was anything particularly disturbing or if he had any questions. I always hated horror movies and am so glad this phase is over.
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