Posted in Dillan's Strengths

The Boy Next Door

Dillan spelling words with magnets. 2004

Dillan continued to develop his reading skills on his own. At age two he was bilingual, speaking Chinese and English, but reading only the latter. He hadn’t learned to write yet, but he was spelling words with magnets on the refrigerator.

I watched him and I couldn’t fathom the depth of his understanding with words, his comprehension of the surroundings. He picked up new skills so fast, he made it look accidental: coloring, doing puzzles, playing computer games, etc. All when he was still in diapers.

Dillan painting a dinosaur skeleton
Dillan’s favorite puzzle
Dillan learned to click with a mouse. 2004

But you wouldn’t know he had a mind hungry for new knowledge and would absorb everything his senses reached. You wouldn’t know he had a brain that worked differently. You wouldn’t know because on the outside he looked just like the boy next door. A playing, laughing little boy who melted hearts.

You wouldn’t know. Nobody would know––Dillan would be playing and laughing for a few more years before the tempest came.

Dillan. 2004



Allison Merrill is a full-time mother and a writer.

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