My son asked me this question yesterday as I was preparing his lunch.
“That’s a great question sweetie. Can you try and explain to me what you’re feeling inside?”
“I don’t know.”
“Are you worried about school?”
“I don’t know, but look!” He pulls down his lower lip to show me the cold sore he has.
“Oh, I see. Is that what’s bothering you?’
“I don’t know but why does it keep moving inside?”
“You mean in your tummy?”
“I don’t know but sometimes I feel it in my body.”
I can see my son’s anxiety increasing, like a rising thermostat on a hot summer day. Tomorrow he starts a new school which means a huge change in his routine and environment. We knew about this change months ago, and he seemed fine with it then. He even visited the school and was super excited about it. He hadn’t mentioned a word about it all summer until just a few short days ago which, of course, have been hard on him. His anxiety is through the roof and he can’t seem to handle the reality of what is about to take place.
“Maybe we can do something together to help your body be still again, what do you think?’
“I don’t know, let me think about it.”
As quickly as the conversation started, it was already over. I wish I could have more time with him before he tightly shuts the door to his incredible world. If only I could have a glimpse of what he’s going through, perhaps then I can find the right words to help my child more.
Every time he gives me a brief look at his beautiful way of thinking, I’m left wanting to learn more about my son.
He comes back after 5 minutes “how about we make a grocery list and we go shopping?”
“That sounds like a perfect idea”.
He got busy writing his list and I marvelled at how my teacher is trying to tell me something.
Why won’t his body be still? What does he mean? Is he nervous or is he sick?
He tries so hard to fit in with all that goes on around him. I can see when things get too much for him he uses his strategies to self regulate and help him calm down. Sometimes he’s successful, often he is not. By now, he’s mastered the social cues of what is acceptable behavior in public and what isn’t. He may not understand the why or how behind the reason but he’s practiced and practice makes habit.
The unquiet body with autism.
The unquiet body that still makes him flap his hands when he’s nervous, upset or scared.
The unquiet body he sometimes negotiates with.
The unquiet body that often makes it difficult for him to learn.
The unquiet body that I, his mother and student, so desperately wants to understand.
We’re driving in the car and he happily says “My body is more quiet now mommy.”
“Good, honey, I’m glad. Will you tell me when it’s not quiet again?”
“I will, but I’m sure I’ll be okay because you’re making the banana bread, right?”
“Yes I am honey.”
He nods his head in approval.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all could be fixed with a little banana bread?
Thanks for stopping by…