We have gone really early in the morning to beat the crowds.DH has come as a "come with"
Come-withness-is one of the essential qualities of a good friend,
A come-with friend will walk with you to get a cup of coffee even though they are practically bubbling with acidity inside owing to the three cups of coffee they just had.
This friend will come to the restroom with you, will stand in your kitchen while you cook and will drive with you to the donut place even when they are on a diet.
At the DMV - we find our early trip has paid off and we are one of the few people there.
I am filling out the form and the man who hands out the form and a number - is bantering with me
We joke about the sillliness of forms -
He tells me how nice my picture on the old license is. I tell him that his is the reason why I have been so dreading my license expiring. ( which, vain creature that I am, is the truth)
When I come back - I whisper to DH- "I think he thinks I am cute".
When I go to submit the form - the man's supervisor is telling him off
The man has opened an envelope that should not be opened. Its something to do with the case of a DUI - a mum and a teenage son who stand around looking anxious and sheepish.
The supervisor is treating the man like a small child.The man is crestfallen
I look away - hating being witness to another's being cut down to size
Its an act of cruelty.Especially when done in front of others
After my form is processed, I am with the man again to get my photograph taken.
But its as though he is a different person !
Gone is the banter. Gone are the smiles.
He has his guard up and does not want to spend a minute more with me than he has to.
I have been witness to his humiliation.
As I smile woodenly for my photograph, I am thinking of how the warm approval of those around is so essential for us to blossom.
I have seen this same phenomenon at work - in every aspect of my life
At work without the affection and approval of their bosses - employees wither away.
Spouses shrivel with scathing partners
But, then of course, my heart twists in pain for our young vulnerable autistic children who are surrounded by people who are constantly correcting them
Implicit in so many of our actions in so many of our therapies is the message to them
what you are doing is wrong...see this is how we do it.. look into my eyes even if you dont feel like it .. stop opening and shutting the door.. now stop playing with those numbers - look here is what you must play with .. here is a dolly..
And on and on
Employees can quit jobs where they are not nurtured
Spouses can leave .
As can friends
But little children?
They have no choice but to stay where they are.
As R grows and I grow as a mum, I am seeing that even more important than teaching him all the things he needs to know - perhaps a bigger gift is to give him the atmosphere of implicit warmth and approval- so he open up and wants to learn
It does not mean not teaching him - but teaching him in an atmosphere of warmth, approval and expectation of great things always.
It means praising sincerely all the good and looking for the good
It means believing that their best days is who they really are (and their bad days are simply, bad days )
Most of all, it means being the ultimate positive reflector for R.
So when R looks in my eyes, he sees the loveliest shiniest image of himself reflected backIts why Floortime( or Sonrise or RDI) will always be my therapy of choice
My friend M has a son- a completely independents delightful young man who once had PDD and is now doing great , as she says "without any fancy therapies"
She once said "happy kids learn.....that is the bottom line"
And I think she is right!