What I learned from my son

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…)

[tags]homeschooling, parenting, family, OCD[/tags]

30 thoughts on “What I learned from my son

  1. I just wanted to tell you what a lovely post that was. It put me at a loss for words. My seven year old from time to time has had to deal with tics and though I don’t know exactly what this is like for your family, it was obvious that the words you penned were directly from the heart of a mother who loves her son.

    Thank you for sharing

    Kathi

  2. Dana, thank you for sharing something so obviously personal and from the heart! It takes a brave person to move forward through trials, when sometimes all we want to do is curl up and hide.

    Thanks for joining this month’s group writing project!

    Cheers!

  3. As I read this tears pooled in my eyes. You captured a mother’s heart full of hope and fear and promise.

    Yes, your son is valuable and loved more than words can express. Thank God he has that powerful foundation. He will be an overcomer, and God will receive the glory for creating a wonderfully, unique little boy.

    Thank you for sharing this glimpse of your heart. May peace overshadow you. You are still in my prayers.

  4. My son, now a teenager, was very obsessive as a little boy with “weird” behavior, too. One person called him “autistic” because he was so self-absorbed and obsessive. He is now more moderate, but still obsessive. He is not autistic and I’ve had to forgive the person who called him this. Thank God the label did not stick. People can be so judgmental about things they know nothing about, and it is easy for a sensitive parent to feel insecure because of this.

    God gives us the children we have for a reason, I believe. Not every ailment or difficulty is from God, but I do know that He works all things together for good for those who love Him.

    It has helped my son to learn about men and women who overcame their difficulties– like Moses (speech problems), Helen Keller (blind and deaf), William Seward (orphaned), and other handicapped people. Sometimes “bad” things can be turned around to be one of the greatest blessings that change not only the child and the family, but the world.

    I encourage you to keep training him up in the way he should go. In years to come you will see the fruits of your labor!

    By the way, we later found out that the reason my son was so self-absorbed was that he is almost blind in one eye. As a baby, we never knew. Glasses have helped open him up a bit, now. He still cocks his head to read, but he is better. It was as simple as that. Glory to God.

  5. Dana,
    Thanks so much for sharing so much of yourself with your readers! It took guts to get so personal and so real. So many children like your son are able to reach their potential at home with people who really know and understand them fully. He will overcome! I hope I’m still reading your blog years from now when you’re bragging about how well your son has done taught at home!

  6. Thank you, everyone, for your kind word. I really appreciate them. Thankfully, we have a very good pediatrician and we are hoping that he may just grow out of it. For the moment, the doctor is thinking it is more of a sensory thing, especially given how much he loves snuggling, baths, soft things, etc.

    He is a sweet little, guy.

  7. Anna-Marie says:

    Dana,

    Dana,

    what a gift your son is. And to think God sent him to you. You are a blessed mama! There is nothing like an unexpected kiss from your son. It moves me to tears when my 3yo surprises me with love and kisses. I think it’s really God showing me how much He loves me.

    My 9dd has moderate eczema and scratches constantly. There is never an hour of her day that she does not feel itchy and that really bothers me. I want her to feel peaceful. I know what you mean about the doctor visits. I’m out of options at this point but I believe God will heal her. I will keep your baby–and you–in my prayers.

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post. It was really terrific.

  8. Thank you, Anna-Marie…and it has been a long time since you called me Dana Dana. Or was it Danana? I forget now.

    Anyway, would you believe the poor guy has eczema, too? That is not good considering how much he loves baths and particularly bubble baths! His is mild, however, and otc creams help. We have also found he can handle baby shampoo for bubbles, which is nice.

  9. Dana,
    I’ll add my appreciation for such a heartfelt post. I can relate as my dd has some “weird” behaviors too (licking, chewing, etc.)

    BTW My youngest has had eczema which recently cleared up entirely … we found that pure cocoa butter was *very* effective in relieving it.

  10. Dana, We have not escaped the desire to socialize our children and have them to act “normal” in our world. Yet God… created all kinds of brains. Luckily, you have the best parenting book out there! “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

    You are already equipped for the good work of parenting Baby Bear!

  11. SO well put. I like to believe homeschooling has been a blessing to all my children, but I know it’s been a blessing to the one with Down syndrome. All he’s ever known is love.

    Your son will do well with you as his mom.

  12. Yahoo must be overwhelmed because I missed these last three…

    Thank you all for your kind words, and of course you are right, Julie.

    Barbara, when you have a child with “special needs” it does bring a different perspective on the socialization question, doesn’t it?

  13. Mikki says:

    Wow, your words are my words, and your thoughts mine too. You are describing my daughter with the hand licking and all I want to do is help her. Have you had any success in finding out why your son is licking his hands and what you can do to help him stop?!?!? We are at the beginning of doctors visits and trying to figure it all out. My daughter has recently discovered that the “other children” don’t do it and I’m desperatley worried about her self esteem. Any help??? Thank you for writing it all so bueatifully. Mikki

  14. Well, we bought him a “Chewey Tube” and that actually seemed to help a lot. We tied it around his neck and it helped give him something to chew on or lick. He had it in his mouth constantly for awhile.

    He sort of gravitated away from it on his own. He does other things, now…like he makes this sort of hacking sound in the back of his throat, which I think is that same basic OCD type thing, but it is a little more socially acceptable than the licking.

  15. Mary says:

    Oh, Dana! I never saw this post. One of my good friends has a son with Tourette’s and she doesn’t want to homeschool, but they’ve been through 5 schools and he’s 8. Crushing for her and her husband, both with doctorates, and for her little boy, who is very gifted, but also screams KILL and SHOOT when he feels stressed. Plus very self-destructive behaviors. Medication has really helped a lot, but he will never ‘fit in’ with a normal classroom. Mainstreaming him has caused them all tremendous pain.

  16. I was in Walmart a couple of years ago with our son (who we’ve never had tested for ADHD or anything like it). We had him paying for his own small item for practice. The cashier was a young man. Instead of just handing the man the money, our son held onto the dollar, took the coins, and started placing them between the knuckles of his fingers – making an elaborate game out of it all. I shooed and encouraged him to hurry up. The young man said. “It’s OK, just wait, he has his own style”. At that moment, he knew more about my son than I did.

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