Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Shoe Off"

"Shoe off," our older son said to me yesterday as he led me into his bedroom after school. He had a firm grasp of my hand as he closed his door. This was his signal to me that he wanted some alone time with me, some time when his Mamamommy would take off her shoes-because shoes are dirty-and sit closely with him on his bed.

Both of our boys have been clingy with me lately. Our house is a mess. Blogging is scarce. It's one of those times when everything takes a back seat to parenting.

I climbed up in bed with our son. Lovingly, he held my hand and smiled at me. Unable to converse and tell me about his day, he just stared. He was happy.

He's growing up, and I had hoped by this stage in his life we would be able to have some sort of verbal exchange, an ability for him to share what was on his mind. Instead, I talked to him about his day, asking questions that I knew he couldn't answer but with no less interest than I would ask any other person.

He picked up his blankies and held them to his face, breathing in the comforts of home. After school time. His favorite time of day. He exhaled and relaxed. As he picked up his iPad to watch random Youtube clips, he began to vocalize.

The day had begun in the wee hours as a vocal stimming day, a day where every script he knew from every video he knew were strung together in an unbreakable chain. At 4am, he was loud and happy with his words---and not the least bit interested in sleeping. Ugh. Hours later, after school in his bed, I noticed that the stimming was calmer, but for some reason still there. After all these years, I've decoded what most of them were.

I heard Julie Clark, founder of the Baby Einstein Company. I heard Bear from the Big Blue House. I heard some Care Bears and PBS kids songs. Yes, in time, I've come to learn most of the words; however, the motivation for the words was not always clear.

"Let's play. Follow the lights!" he suddenly said to me in a verbal approximation.

He shocked me from my thoughts.

This was a phrase from one of his toys. I repeated it to him, as he typically wanted me to do. He looked. I looked back, and then he continued with what he was doing.

What the heck was that? Did he want to play with me? Was he commenting on the lights of the toy vacuum that was in his Youtube clip?

"Let's play. Follow the lights!" he said again.

Again, I repeated the phrase.

Well, he had called me to his bed for company. Was this his way of saying that we were playing? Did this stim have meaning? Or, was it merely a repetitive act, something he was doing without much thought?

Those questions used to drive me nuts in the early days. Then a young mother, I was desperate for signs of progress and hope that autism would somehow disappear from our lives. These days, I've learned to tuck away the unanswered questions.

I was asked to have a "shoe off" moment, and that is so much better than second guessing could ever be.


  1. I would rather that 'shoe off' moment without fully understanding, than an angry or upset moment with full understanding and no way to help.
    The warm moments you write about always make me weepy. Having a child reach out to you, in any form, is such a gift.

  2. Again, I love how you connect how you view things today with how you did in the "early days". It's wonderful you stop for those "shoe off moments". They all have their purpose I'm sure.

  3. so nice how you live in the moments

  4. Amazing how you can relate these moments in such loving detail. Brilliantly written.


  5. hi, bloghopping from entrecards. i find your blog so interesting. it made me wonder before how a friend was coping with his autistic son. it requires a lot, it requires great effort.

    it is heartwarming to see your son being able to connect with you in a way he knows, and you being there all the while. he is blessed to have you. :)