Lovies, Security blankets and Autism, Oh My!
Most kids have an object, you know the one they have had since they were little, I have heard them called lovies, woobies, babies or something along those lines. You know a security object, a blanket, or stuffed toy is the normal thing. Most often even kids with autism often have them. Zach doesn’t, he never has, until the last couple of years he didn’t even like stuffed toys he would throw them if you tried to give him one, sometimes he would even take them and hide them in a closet or under the bed as if they made him uncomfortable. He has never had the words to tell me why. To tell me he doesn’t like the texture, or the way the eyes look, vinyl toys are okay, so are action figures but if it is plush he is not so fond of it (with an odd exception for angry birds toys).
The same thing is true of hugging, he was one of those kids who hated to be touched. He loved weight on him but not being touched. He was always like this, when he was little he loved being swaddled but not held and rocked. He was like that from birth. I missed rocking and cuddling with him as a baby but when I pushed these things he was visibly agitated. He would cry and squirm like I was hurting him. I still pushed but because I felt that he needed that connection, I needed that connection with him. He did love to hear me sing, I would sing him to sleep and rock his bed and that worked for him.
He has always had these sensory things that make him unique. Some foods are are skipped because the texture is wrong (like fries are okay but mashed or roasted potatoes are not), he has to have certain clothes, they can’t be too tight or too loose, pants are only allowed if they are soft, no buttons, snaps or but ties and velcro are okay. His shoes can’t be too tight either. he has to have a certain weight on him to sleep, before we used weighted products he would sleep under 5 or more blankets, with the weighted blanket we are down to 3. and one of them is very light. He prefers shorts to pants but again they have to be loose and soft. When he was younger he couldn’t stand if his clothing had something he saw on tv, or in a game. However after a while watching his brothers wear those type of things with pride, he has changed his mind.
Each day I see him grow and learn, last week he lied (Link here) to me. A full blown calculated lie, and I cried. It was just him and I in his room, at bedtime. He did something else for the first time that day. After a moment of crying he wrapped his arms around me, and said he was sorry. He pulled my arm around him, and held me and said “don’t cry”. It was amazing. He has always done things in his way and in his time, he gets there eventually.
As you have probably guessed he is not the kind to cuddle, he likes to be near me but not touching. I am not a morning person, he comes into my room every morning and grabs his iPad (which I charge each night to prevent him staying up too late, also to stop meltdowns when the battery dies hehe). Then flops down on the bed to wait for me to wake up. Normally he is just close enough to touch me. Twice since the lie he has cuddled, not in the traditional sense but in his own way. He grabbed my arm pulled it just close enough to touch him and if I tried to move it away he would pull me back. It was an awesome way to start the day.
While autism and his sensory issues make him different he always finds a way to be happy, to amaze me and most of all to be him. All I have to do is accept him for him. His smile makes that easy, his joy in life makes it a pleasure and watching him grow and learn makes all the late nights, all the worries and pain worth it. His strength, love and perseverance are more than autism. He will never be neurotypical however he has his own version of normal, and I love it.