Since he was very young, there has always been something about the way my Baby Bear lines up his cars, counts his blocks and just cannot step away from a task that has bothered me. I recognized the signs. I grew up with it. But I pushed it out of my mind because I did not want it to be there. It is something I am powerless before. And it affects my little boy.
The little boy who walks quietly into our room at night to burrow under the blankets at our feet. He feels safest there, coddled under the covers. Even in his own bed, he prefers to sleep with the covers over his head. The little boy who tells me that I am a wonderful mommy, that I’m really neat and that he is so glad that I’m his mommy. The little boy who loves to help, loves to snuggle and loves to be read to.
My little boy.
When he began licking his hands, somehow my mental defenses were penetrated. This was too far outside the range of “normal” to pass off as a unique quirk. The licking became almost constant. First the right hand, then the left. Touch something. Lick. Touch something. Lick. Yes, this is what I grew up with. My brother, upon passing through a threshold would drop to the ground and lick the carpet. He licked the walls. He touched everything. First the right hand. Then the left.
So what have I learned from all this?
- That a good many things look entirely different when they affect your son as opposed to your brother.
- That strangers are quick to give advice on matters they know little about.
- That even friends are quick to give advice when what you really want is just someone to talk to.
- That there are no hard and fast rules in parenting.
- That a two year old can accept her brother just as he is and not notice that something is wrong.
- That no matter how much I love that little boy and that little hand, when the saliva soaked fingers reach for mine, I instinctively pull away.
- That there are few things I am more thankful for than the fact that this reaction, coupled with a funny face and an exaggerated, “Eeww! ” will make the little boy giggle and throw his arms around me. Because if there were anything I could take away, even if it included this behavior, it would be that I ever pulled away from my son’s spontaneous affections.
- That when my little boy looks forward to a doctor’s appointment because he is hoping the doctor can help him stop, I would move heaven and earth to make that happen. But I can’t.
I cannot help but think of all the conversations I have had with people accusing homeschoolers of being “weird.” Yes, my son is “weird.” And I am hoping that through homeschooling we will be abe to spare him the trauma of what children do to those who are different. Instead, he can learn that he is special, a unique and wonderful creation of God. He can learn that he is valuable and that he is loved. The rest will come, of course. But these things I would like him to learn first.
(This entry was in response to Middle Zone Musings’ writing prompt, What I learned from…)