To Be Just Like Brother

Autism Spectrum Disorder touches each family it enters into in unexpected ways.

It touches ours with exercise equipment.

The particular and peculiar ways that a child will exhibit their self-stimulatory behaviors (stims) is as unique as a fingerprint. We’ve been through a couple of different sets of fingerprints in this house.

First, there was the swing. Next, was the mini-trampoline. Oh, how we loved that trampoline! Until little sister threw up on it.

And now, it’s a yoga ball.

Each of these pieces of exercise equipment has provided the deep joint-muscle interaction that Sweetboy’s body desperately needs. Each bounce signals to his brain that his body is getting the input it needs and that his world is orderly.

I’m no scientist. And, in fact, math is something that I have to remind myself is a necessary evil. But, when I see my Sweetboy feeling all jumbled up by a day that’s doing him in, and then I watch him bounce it all away on that ball for 10 minutes and come back ready to cope? That’s an amazing process to watch.

At the moment, that child of mine has turned our home into a literal Bounce House.

Three years worth of hopping has been replaced, mercifully, by bouncing on his yoga ball.

We couldn’t be gladder!

This past year, Specialists have been expressing concern for the potential of bone spurs on the heels and balls of his feet, with all of the hopping that he’s done these last few years.

The hopping was a form of stimming, for Sweetboy. When a child on The Spectrum stims, it’s often to help them regulate their outside world, bring order to feelings of chaos, and calm themselves down.

Sweetboy is no different. And, as you can imagine, summertime brings a special kind of unrest to this house. The lack of definitive schedule and the spur-of-the-moment ice cream runs, though they are fun, take their toll on his sense of stability.

And so, the child bounces on his ball.

A lot.

And do you know who’s watching every move?

Sweetgirl.

She observes all of his idiosyncrasies not as someone appalled, but as someone enthralled.

Enthralled by her brother’s constant movement.

Enamored of his ability to balance just so.

The bouncing has been a welcome change.

We certainly do hear less complaining of how much his “legs hurt”.

But the best part about this change?

Sweetgirl now has her own mini purple ball.

To be “just like brother”.

Dueling Yoga Balls

Dueling Yoga Balls

Yes indeedy!

Hopping Toward Thankful

Sweetboy’s stim is hopping; and he’s done more than his fair share of it lately.  We assume it’s anxiety over the transition as we end the current school-year. And, frankly, we’re a little concerned that we’re going to wake up one morning and find that this kid has sprouted long ears and a fuzzy bunny tail.  Sir-Hops-A-Lot frequently tells us that his legs or feet hurt, but he insists that “It’s NOT because of the hopping”.  It’s a veritable conundrum wrapped in a quandary.

This is another one of those moments where I’m torn in emotion. No, that’s not right.  My emotions feel shredded like so many ribbons tonight.  Why did God give us a child who can trample all over my heart with a few errant hops?  And then again, why the hell am I so ungrateful for the pure unadulterated beauty that this child brings into our lives?  I’m sorry.  Crass. I know.  I’m feeling some pent-up angst.  I blame it on the rain.  And now, I have that stinkin’ song in my head.  It’s entirely possible that you do, too.  I’m not sorry for that.  Someone should share the agony of having a Milli Vanilli song planted in their head with me.  Misery loves company and all that jazz.

But now? Now, I’ve written some of the vitriol out and it feels better.  And instead of pretending that I didn’t feel raw enough to write about it, I’m going to leave it right here.  Right where I can find it when I need to be reminded that, “Ah, yes, I’ve felt this way before. And I lived to feel like that again.”  Or even better, so that I can be reminded the next time that there most certainly is sun after rain.  It’s usually in his hug. Or his gorgeous guffaw.  And I’ll remind myself anew that I live under an umbrella of grace that is bigger than any emotional tirade on my part.  And I will be thankful.  Oh, yes indeed.  I will be thankful.