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Monday, April 02, 2007

What is normal anyway?

‘He didn’t have any shorts on today [underpants]’ says the note inside his backpack. I look at my son, blissfully unaware. Although I am not male, I can imagine that clothes without underwear would be,……….uncomfortable, or would be for someone who had the usual number of nerve endings, or failing that, the correct brain wiring to be able to detect that it should be uncomfortable. I muss his hair and concentrate. More occupational therapy? Something to help him connect the dots. He’s always better after "‘brushing’ and ‘joint compression,’" less discombobulated.

When we’re in the car on the return journey home, his legs grind into the back of my seat, extend, relax, extend relax, not rhythmical, but regular. He’ll wear his knee caps out doing that. What am I going to do with him? In the rear view mirror, I catch a glimpse of my daughter, a snapshot, one that mirrors her big sister, the blue eyed one.

Those blue eyes remind me of school pick up two decades ago and a visit to the Headmistress’s office for ‘a quiet word.’ I was advised that underwear was compulsory not optional at school, for all pupils, no exceptions. It transpired that this was not a one off incident. She often arrived in class "without her knickers," with all the underlying implications of such an offense. A left the office mystified.

It wasn’t until the following day, en route to school, that I watched her in the rear view mirror. She removed her knickers with stealth and stuffed them down the seam in the seat. On arrival, I checked the back of the seat, maybe twenty pairs, all colours. I nabbed the culprit for a shake down. Why?
“Why? I only like the pink ones mummy!”

Of course! It doesn’t always have to be autism, it can just be youth and colour prejudice.

Not senile yet! Thank goodness I am old.


A Bishops Wife said...

"What is Normal Anyway?"

My Sociology professor in college asked us this question once. It made an big impression on me.

My Noddy responds to and seeks out joint compression and brushing. It helps him alot. He is recieving occupational Theropy at school. I will need to continue in the Summer months. He has such a hard time without it.

I have learned so much from your blog. You are such an encouragement to me. I love the pictures. The one of him with the "Globe in the garden" is wonderful.

Somtimes I think "What if my kids are "Normal" and the rest of us are the "different" ones?"

gretchen said...

My cousin's (NT) daughter hates to wear underwear. Didn't even wear any under her pretty white dress at her first communion! We figured that God doesn't care.

AshleyLeo said...

What a cute story Gretchen, and of course McEwen! Ah, my household is filled with opinions and preferences about undies. It's quite a regular topic around here. And of course, pink is preferred!

I have no idea what normal is!

Anonymous said...

Great post - I have no idea what normal is some days. I am just pretty sure that I'm not. ;)

We're big brushers around here, too, less serious about joint compression. I get annoyed with the brushing because the preferred brush is ME.

Anonymous said...

I suspect there are a lot of men who don't care if they wear underwear or not. My husband has a scar in an unfortunate place because, when he was in college, he once was in a hurry to get to class, didn't put on any underwear, and zipped his pants too quickly without paying attention!

(No, he's not autistic...)

Anonymous said...

"What is normal".... I have no clue what "normal" childhood development is. I think I'm more relaxed at times b/c I'm not worried about "this step must be then". These people that claim you have to do A to Z before the age of 3 or 5 upset me. B/c if that was the truth... my kids shouldn't be doing as well as they are. So I just ignore them.

Personally, as long as the child isn't wet or uncomfortable... I'm certain there are bigger fights to fight than underwear.

We did the brushing on the little one and he didn't like it. Doesn't help that during the summer we don't have a/c so it wasn't comfortable. I never thought about trying it on the eldest. Thanks for the reminder.

I have 2 books that I don't know if you've read/seen.

1. http://www.amazon.com/Building-Bridges-Through-Sensory-Integration/dp/1932565450/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-7136435-9903205?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1175612635&sr=8-1
Building Bridges through sensory integration - I own this one.


More than a Mom.
- I just got this one through the library. It's Cnd too (both are) and recommended by Autism Ont.


Jerry Grasso said...

Brushing has been less of a difference maker for us, and sometimes joint compression gets us nowhere. Now, engulfing him in my arms, lifting him up, and swinging his body left to right...he digs on that...

My back doesn't dig on it at all

I don't know how I'm going to do all of this when he's 18 :-)

Anonymous said...

The word "normal" has pretty much worked its way out of my vocabulary. I have no idea what "normal" means.

Good post!

KAL said...

Sigh. I definitely don't know what normal is, I'm constantly asking myself whether the tantrum in the store is autism or typical 2-year-old behavior. A mix, I suppose. This is funny, mcewen. Underwear is greatly overrated anyways :) Glad you were able to recall an earlier, similar time and get some perspective.

Joeymom said...

Our school OT "doesn't do sensory stuff" (though I am meeting her in the morning. I think His Majesty the Director of Student Services has decreed that she WILL do it... trained or not!). Joey has done excellently with the sensory integration therapy our private OT does. The joint compression really helps, and we are going to try brushing this week. It would be lovely if we found something else that will help him, but I'm really scared about trusting school personnel to really do it, and do it properly.

Jade said...

Very cute story. Just shows the commonality between all kids...they're kids!

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