Supporting a Unique Special Interest

Ben is a middle schooler, as well as a big brother of two.  He is handsome and charming.  He enjoys pop music and fast food restaurants.  He is an excellent swimmer. Oh, and one more thing… Ben really, reeeeally loves toilets.

The first time that I met Ben’s dad, Blaine, we were in the same wedding party for a friend.  My son was the ring bearer and I was nervous.  Colin was going to have to pass right by an air-conditioning unit.  What if it went off?  It was July, after all, and Colin could not be torn away from a whirling condensing unit.  They were far too interesting to him. Blaine understood, because Ben loves toilets.  

In fact, he may have written the best toilet related joke ever…
“Knock, Knock!”
“Who’s there?
“Lettuce who?”
– Ben W. age 8

Is Ben’s special interest inconvenient? Perhaps, especially in a drought.  Luckily for him, you can find anything on YouTube, including videos of toilets flushing.  I remember having dinner with friends one night and Blaine was also in attendance.  He was FaceTiming with his boys to tell them good night.  Ben asked him to go into the bathroom and show him the host’s toilet.  I will admit that I vowed then and there that if Blaine ever came to my house that I would be scrubbing my bathroom thoroughly beforehand.

Blaine went on to support Ben’s interest by talking pictures of toilets wherever he went including other countries.  It became his very own Game of Thrones and one day he found the king.  Apparently, the best toilet of all was photographed by Blaine at a Chevron nearly 200 miles away from home.  Ben loves the picture so much that Blaine had it printed onto a pillow.  Time went by, but Ben was still stuck on  this awesome toilet of awesomeness.  Then his dad did something that I call, “leveling up,” as a parent.  He drove for nearly 3 hours one way to see a gas station toilet.  Why is this leveling up?  After all, plenty of my son’s therapists did not think that it was a good idea to indulge my son’s special interests.  Blaine had a similar experience. I am of the opinion that it isn’t any different from taking your kid to Disneyland because if you hear, “Let it Go,” one more freakin’ time you will have to choke a snowman.  That is just a more socially acceptable special interest.  It is leveling up because Blaine doesn’t love toilets, but he loves Ben.  

It would have been easy to spend quality time with Ben if he loved all of the same things Blaine loves.  For some of us, myself included, I had a million ideas of things that I would do with my son, but the truth is, our children don’t owe us the perfect parenting experience.  We owe them a great childhood experience.  After all, we already had ours.  Maybe if we try hard to look through their eyes, then maybe we can we can have it twice.  Ben now takes his own pictures and videos and Blaine is always interested to see what Ben documents.  Ben’s collection is up to around 4,000!  That is a lot of loos!  Not to worry, Dad says that they go through a lot of hand sanitizer. Family members have become involved, sending pictures from all over the globe. I tip my lid to them, and to this rad Dad.

Oh, and do you remember how I mentioned that Ben was a big brother?  Well, his adorable younger brother Liam recorded this song for Ben.  Do yourself a favor and give it a listen.  Considered it your daily dose of sugar, minus the calories.