Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dont worry about protecting the world

"Mom, Look what I found" yells a little blond boy

We are at the Recycling center. All busy recycling with that curiously virtuous air of recyclers.

The boy is holding something out to his mother- an old Pizza box - empty- but for a old ( and not too mouldy) piece of pizza.

His intent for that slice is obvious."Can I eat it ?" he asks

Everybody looks away hiding their smiles- pretending not to notice

From the corner of my eye, I see the mother's aghast face.

"NO!!!Lucas come here RIGHT NOW" she says.

She quickly finishes her last box of empty Sprite cans and speeds away in her Green Taurus her face bright red

I want to stop her and ask -So what if he wanted to eat that last piece of Pizza ?Its nothing! Don't be ashamed !

But we Autie moms circumscribe our lives everyday because of this embarrassment .

We think so many times before venturing out of the house.

We cross our fingers and plan and plot before play-dates( and dissect everything afterwards).

We worry that we are spoiling family outings because our children are not acting like other children.

Its like we want to shield the world from our children's oddness.

(And then, perhaps, we also want to shield our children from the stares.)

If only he would stop acting so autistic in front of other people - we think.

But they cant!

In fact social situations are precisely the stressful situations when our auties are most likely to seek the comfort of stimming, bouncing, twirling, jumping and looking odd

One of our biggest jobs is to widen our kids comfort zone socially-instead of avoiding venturing out we actually need to do it again and again.

I know the feeling of looking odd.

But for the fact that R is so small and so very cute, we ourselves would look quite odd.

In a few years, when he is no longer so small, this will change.
I know this.

But I am teaching myself to not care about looking odd.I am choosing to wear socks instead of hoping that the earth will get carpeted.

What is the big deal about not standing out really?

R looks for numbers - the object of his affection - everywhere.

In the birthday card sections of the store- he will lovingly stroke the "1" of "you are 1", he will crawl to reach down to love on the aisle numbers, price slash signs will be smiled at beatifically ( now at 1.99)

He never means any harm and is never bad mannered.So why not let him be his own sweet odd self?

And so I choose to smile when R comes upon an unexpected treasure in the street - a torn UPC code and must run his finger along the graceful curve of the 9.

Let R love on the numbers

Let Lucas lust for mouldy pizza

Let the world live with a little oddness.

13 comments:

Julie said...

YES! (Blinking away tears...)

robin said...

I was at a bounce zone place where kids can bounce on huge bouncy things recently. A mom and her son were there. I didn't really notice her son was so different than the rest...but, just in case, her (and his) shirts definitely told the story. His shirt said 'Autistic and Awesome' and her shirt had the Autism Awareness one with the puzzle pieces. I wanted to converse with her about her son...ask questions, but I thought...I'll just be a mom, like herself, and enjoy our kids playing. We discussed the weather and four year olds....all the little four year olds (there were about four in there) were doing the same kind of things...running around like they had too much sugar, lol!

K said...

Robin that was EXACTLY the right thing to do
Julie - IKWYM

Christine said...

I love this! My "little" guy is six going on seven and his "oddities" are starting to become more obvious. But you know what? I've become mostly immune to even noticing someone else noticing. And when I do, I find it amusing. Watching someone's face when they realize that, hey, that kid really is trying to lick that dog! It's kind of funny, really. Then I find it equally amusing when they look to me to see my "horrified" reaction and I'm just not reacting at all!! There are a lot of things in this world than licking a dog, in my opinion -- like sending your six year old the message that he is wrong all the time for just being himself (for example)!

Anyway, R is lucky to have you!!!

All About the Bailey's said...

Funny..Ethan is the same with letters and words as R is with his numbers...
Great post K!

Lyndsey said...

I am so honored to know you, K.

aninont said...

The funny thing is that dads mostly dont notice the oddities about their kids... its the moms who usually notice all that and then get depressed.In our case,each time we go out and I notice something strange or autism like and mention it to DH, we end up with a mini-argument, usually he will say.. "I dont see anything wrong with that" or "That other kid was running in circles too"
"Did you see how well he did today"
He always has something positive... I believe,I am also my baby's strongest critique which is bad for both of us.
Great post..Thanks,K

Chun Wong said...

Bit of an overreaction from that Mom, think I would have laughed! Obviously a hungry child!

I loved your comment "Let the world live with a little oddness." - Yes, why do we want everyone to be normal and average, we're all unique with our own gifts, needs and quirks? It's so sad that people are made to feel uncomfortable by disapproving looks from other people.

Brilliant post!

Becki said...

I'm trying to catch up with blogs.. wanted to let you know I was here :) So much to read! Missed ya!

lonestar said...

Beautiful post, as usual :). I couldn't agree more. And had to smile at R's love of numbers... reminds me of my twins.

Heather said...

I love you, K.

-- benbear

kathleen said...

Lovely..I have to say..one of my boys..my flying boy..(because sometimes he looks as if he is going to take flight) has slowly learned as he has gotten older that people might look upon him oddly when he flaps and "eeeee's" he is aware-and yet..if he needs to stim, he does..and I have to say that because we have been so calm about it-because we don't stress out on how other people see it-it has given him great confidence in just being himself. In being who he is-and feeling no shame..because there is nothing to be ashamed of..:)(long run on sentence there-sorry!)

Anonymous said...

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

Floortime Lite Mama

On my life as the mother of an adorable 5 year old with Autism and Apraxia