Sunday, 29 July 2012

Hey Jealousy

I want to talk a little bit about stimming.  I can't believe I haven't brought this up before because it is such a major part of our existence.  Both of our kids exhibit stimming behaviors.

With Nate it is almost always auditory, oral or proprioceptive.  His very first stim was a repetitive noise, and because John and I were in tune with these type of behaviors it set off alarm bells pretty quickly after it began.  He also runs around humming most of the time, or repeating the same string of vocalizations, which sound remarkably like words but are not.  He also hurls himself at things a lot- he is seeking deep pressure in doing this- loves to hurl himself on the floor repetitively.  This probably should disturb me due to the risk of self injury, but it is such an improvement from his previous head banging (walls, me, furniture, crib) that for now, I'll take it.  His lap-running is also a stimming behavior.

Jack's stimming is errrr, quite a bit different.  Almost all of his behaviors are proprioceptive and vestibular.  He did a lot of flapping as a toddler, but with age that has for the most part gone away.  He also hums quite a bit.  His main stim these days involves a type of rocking that is very uncomfortable- mainly for mommy.

This is an uncomfortable and taboo topic for many parents.  Jack has been exhibiting this type of behavior since he was about 2 years old.  The difference is that his "venue" is not a pillow, furniture, the's ME.  I know that he has no intention of making me uncomfortable, or at least didn't in the beginning, now I question that. As he has gotten older, and because I have always told him it's a private thing, and he shouldn't be doing this around other people, he now uses it as an "attention getter".  So whenever I am trying to work, or I am on the phone, or trying to have a conversation with, say my mother, or my husband, the behavior starts.  This has been a big problem for a long time and I am at a bit of a loss.  His "play therapist" literally shrugged her shoulders at me (yeah, thanks), and his OT suggested I "brush" him more.

It's not that I am unwilling to do this, but I did it every 4 hours for about 4 months....kinda burnt out.  But, alas, I guess I will have to give it another go.  I don't want Jack to feel like I don't want him near me, but it seems that lately, every time he approaches me, this is the intent, and of course I tell him to stop.  I tell him he can hug or kiss mommy a million times, but that he cannot do this.  He laughs.  ugh

Another big provoker of this is daddy time.  Not Jack and daddy time, but mommy and daddy time.  Can you say jealous????  To be fair, when John and I were going through our difficult patch, the boys physically pretty much had me to themselves.  It has to be a bit odd to see such a change between your parents.  But as with most things, Jack takes his jealousy to a slightly higher level.  If we hold hands in the car, he has said "daddy get your paws off her".  If we hug--- in comes the stimming behavior.  If he rubs my back, Jack jumps onto the couch, removes his hand physically from my back and takes over- for 3 seconds.  Dude, you do not interrupt a woman's back rub!  He clarifies with us over and over again that we are married, that daddy loves mommy, which is really very sweet.  I have no doubt that he felt the previous tension between us, and is seeking reassurance.  Anyway, this morning he crawled into our bed (at 5am, sigh) and found us with our arms around each other.  He bit John's hand.  Awesome.  And then the stimming.....autism affects ALL areas of life people....ALL AREAS.  

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