So Jonah sucks his thumb, and I don’t care. (Sounds like a song)
Looks like he’s daring me to care, doesn’t it?
A lot of people who have autism do something called stimming….rocking, flapping…some repetitive (no surprise there) body movement that seems to help them self-regulate. Jonah doesn’t stim a whole lot (though when he was younger he loved to spin), but ever since he was in the womb – even in the ultrasound picture - he’s sucked his thumb.
I sucked my thumb myself when I was a kid. I remember how soothing it was, what a wonderful thing to have quite literally at hand…an oral fixation deliciousness with which Freud would’ve had a field day. If I remember correctly, I sucked my thumb until I was 6 or 7, at least at night. I don’t remember if my parents deliberately broke me of the habit or if I just gave it up.
Sometimes I watch Jonah suck his thumb and I wonder if I should care whether or not he does it, and for how long. But there is always something more important to care about.
For instance, I’d rather work on potty training, or getting his negative (swat!) behaviors under control. I swear I can handle just about any other aspect of his autism with relative aplomb when compared to how I handle (and hate) his hitting.
I hate that he hits.
Hate that he hits.
Did I mention I strongly dislike when Jonah hits?
Sigh. I have a meeting with his teachers at his new classroom at Wildwood School this week; we’ll talk some and likely brainstorm about this problem.
I am grateful to Jonah’s school, its teachers and staff, its benefactors…its very existence. Thank you, Wildwood. For so many reasons. For providing a place where we are welcome, first of all. Inside your walls we are like everyone else, yet different from one another too, and it’s okay, and it all somehow makes sense. Thank you, staff, for teaching Jonah, for changing his diapers, for withstanding his swats and hits and kicks and whining and screaming. Thank you for playing with him and singing with him, for letting him sit in your lap and spill paint on you and splash you with water. Thank you for giving him a safe environment. A voice. A whole bunch of different ways to play, to learn, to grow. Thank you.
Once a year, there is a Walk for Wildwood. The walk supports Wildwood Foundation and Wildwood Programs: Working collaboratively with families and community, Wildwood Programs empowers and enables children and adults with neurologically-based learning disabilities, autism, and other developmental disorders to lead independent, productive and fulfilling lives.
If you can help support the walk, click here. And thank you!
If not, no problem. Jonah will suck his thumb in your honor either way.