Wednesday, June 27, 2012

the tough stuff

So I took Punkin to his dance class again today and it went pretty well. But that's not really the point. We arrived about 10 minutes early and after settling into our seats, a little boy from his class came up and asked me, "Is Punkin going to wear that black suit again?"

Now, it took me a second to register that he was talking about his compression vest. It's made by Spio and is amazing, although slightly difficult to put on. It's several pieces, one piece for the torso and a leotard type piece to wear over his legs. "I don't know. If he wants to wear it, he will."

"Why does he wear that thing?" Now I'm wondering where this kid's parent is, because normally by now they've intervened. Everyone in the waiting room is staring at us, so I have no clue how to proceed. I don't mind the question, I just have no idea if it's okay to engage this boy.

"Well, he wears it because it helps his body feel better." He stares at me. "You know how tags on your clothes or bright lights or really hot weather outside can bother you?" He nods. "Those things bother Punkin a lot. So he wears the suit sometimes to help his body to calm down and feel better."

Now everyone is really staring at us and I feel like I'm now the spokesperson for sensory integration disorder. "But what does it feel like? Why does he like it?"

"It feels like a big hug. It helps him to feel calm."

"But is he gonna wear it?" And that's where the conversation ended, because someone else he knew said hello and his  mom/sister/caretaker pulled him away and told him to be mindful of other people's space.

It was weird. It left me feeling oddly defensive. I wanted to yell, "Because he wants to and it's none of your beeswax!"  But he's a kid. And honestly, he must have had needs of his own or he wouldn't have been there. I don't mind the asking, I just never feel prepared to answer.  I guess it just reminded me that if this kid noticed a difference and thought he was strange, then a lot of kids must notice. And then I worry about bullies. *Sigh* We've come so far, but we still have a lot of work to do.


Anonymous said...

Honestly. I think he was just curious. You handled it just fine. It's the person who pulled this other child away abruptly that could have handled it better.
It's usually the adults that feel awkward. It's a situation they're not used to or comfortable with so they REACT instead of thinking and acting on the situation.
You're a great mom and I marvel daily on how well you take care of your little man and yourself.
Love you! AK

Kristiem10 said...

I hate having those conversations, too. No matter how matter of fact you are, sometimes it still hurts your heart a little bit to have to be having the conversation at all.

Kristy said...

I have this issue with a lot of the kids in kindergarten that we include with. They want to know why they act certain ways or why the have to wear the vest or why they have the weight stuff. One day I had this boy that just wouldn't let it drop and was giving my buddy a hard time about it. So finally I asked do you want to see what it feels like? and to my surprise he said yes. So I put the other weight vest on him. He wore it for about 5 mins and then took it off and said thanks. He never asked about the weight vest again. I guess he just wanted to know what it felt like.