“I dightened momatoes,” translated to “I’m frightened of tomatoes” is something that as a 3 year old I would relentlessly tell my parents with great conviction as they struggled to feed me these dreaded fruits. Studying autistic spectrum and obsessive compulsive disorders this year, I didn’t just find the topic interesting; I realised I related to it.
My childhood was littered with similar traits. My mother often told stories of my behaviour to the family, suggesting I had a degree of autism as a toddler. And maybe it was true: standing facing the wall as if wearing a dunce’s hat; isolated despite encouragement; not seeking maternal affection. My speech consisted of repeated syllables until the age of 4, and my strange (but very real) phobia of carrots and tomatoes lasted a long time.
The most striking feature was the “traffic jam.” Every day I would arrange lines of toy vehicles