Monday, April 15, 2013

look, don't touch

It's 10 am, and after a fast-paced morning (picture Nascar're getting warmer) I am making my  rounds through the boys' rooms after they have made it out the door to school.  No, I take that back; after they have been teleported out of their pajamas that lie in a heap. I walk over to see our new pet, a fancy rat named Willow, in her cage in Ethan's room.  Inside, all of her toys and her bed are moved around so she can't get to her water, or her food bowl.  It's was here.  I struggle not to get angry.  It wouldn't be so hard to take if this were the first, or even the second time.  But this is the 9th.  Yes.  I'm counting. 

The rule is, no opening Willow's cage without asking mom, dad, or Ethan.  I have found Isaac a few times, trying to sneak open the cage.  We have talked about it.  If Willow were to get out, we might lose her.  If Willow escaped, she might get hurt or not have food.  If you were Willow, would you like it if every time you turned around, something in your home was different or out of place?  If, if, if...

Thankfully, the cage is closed, but I take a few moments to readjust the interior so that she can get around. As I'm moving Willow's home back to it's original state, I remember a moment not too long ago in the store with Isaac...

We had made a stop at Hobby Lobby for a few items I needed, and as we browsed, I got down at eye level with Isaac and said, "There are a lot of breakable things here.  You can look with your eyes, but don't touch with your hands, okay?"

This is torture to Isaac.  Part of his major processing is done through hands-on.  He is quite the tactile learner.  I kept an eye on him as we walked around the aisles, trying to find all the items on my list without overstaying our welcome (or before something got broken).  I tried not to laugh as I watched Isaac reach a hand out to touch a ceramic statue, and then pause mid-lift.  Slowly, he put his hand back down and leaned in so close, his nose was almost touching the figure!  "Isaac?"  I ask, a little smile in my words--"What are you doing?"  He looked at me with a very serious stare and said, "Mom...can I look with my hands this time?" LOL

Back to the cage...

I will be having another talk with Isaac today.  We will discuss the rules....again.  We will have some sort of consequence to breaking the rules...again.  But we will also talk about how touch is important.  It helps us to connect and relate in a way that is becoming extinct in our culture.  A hug, a handshake, or a high five:  all of these physical touch responses are vital to Isaac's growth and sense of love and acceptance and all a part of relationships in our world. Touch brings about comfort, strength, appreciation, hope. 

As much as I know Isaac has done something he isn't allowed to do, I also know he does something that we all need to do more of--not being afraid of touching others lives and hearts. 

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