January 12, 2011…Up Close

So yesterday I noticed all these bruises on my inner thighs. Dark ones that really looked like they hurt. And when I stuck my finger in them, they did. I couldn’t figure out what in the world I’d done to get them. And nope, it definitely wasn’t that.

By today I’d completely forgotten about them until I entered Jakob’s Son-Rise Playroom. Within seconds, I knew. I was sitting cross-legged on the floor, he took a running start and dropped on his knees in my lap. To quote Jakob, “ouch, my boo boo”. That hurt. The kid has very boney knees.

When he comes at me with that move, I’ve learned to steady myself, try to catch him and remain very still all at the same time. He has an exact destination when he comes at me that way, he’s going in for an “up close”. That’s in the lap, nose-to-nose, forehead-to-forehead and looking right into my eyes. He can hold this position for extended periods of time but he gets into the position in one abrupt movement. It could be terrifying if you don’t know it’s coming.

Like most things with Jakob, I’m not really sure how this began but “up close” and “far away” are concepts we’ve had a lot of fun with. Anything and everything in the house and every body part has been up close and far away. He gets it, no doubt about it. But it all has seemed to settle on the nose-to-nose, forehead-to-forehead move. It’s a greeting, it’s a goodbye, it’s a one-man party if there’s a mirror. (In addition to burnt-out lights at Target, there are mirrors…lots of them).

Eye contact is something we’ve worked on. With this move, we got it. I’m not really sure if it would be considered “quality” eye contact but he is tapped in and he’s connected.

He plays this little game with everybody and each one of us has a different little routine that we do. Some of us turn sideways, blink, wink and squint. Some of us shake, say “boo” and do a “huge shaking boom”. There are endless possibilities, really.

It’s funny to never know what’s gonna stick. We do all kinds of off-the-wall and wacky things to try to engage him and sell him on this world that most of us live in. We have to. If he’s gonna be willing to step out of his world of Autism where he’s perfectly happy, we have to make our world look like the most awesomest place to be ever.

All the things that do seem to stick have a few things in common. They’re unique, unpredictable, silly, creative, sweet and funny.

Mmmm. Unique. Unpredictable. Silly. Creative. Sweet. Funny.

They’re Jakob.

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