My son plays football. Yesterday he had his second 7th grade game. He was up and at ’em early in the morning…just like every other morning, really. There is just an air of excitement on game days. The morning was ‘normal’ – wake up, come upstairs, say “Good Morning Mom,” kiss mom, check football scores, check fantasy football league, go to kitchen table, ask mom to pour cereal (yes I pour cereal and milk, see day eight…all about proprioception), eat, take bowl to sink, then…here it comes…the great sock and shoe hunt. I have to believe that the great sock and shoe hunt happens in every home with children.
See those socks? Those are fancy pants socks (otherwise referred to as Nike Elite) that many ‘child athletes’ wear. Sure, I’m like most other moms (I really hope) and giggle a bit at these socks. Really? My mom bought Hanes socks and I did just fine. These things are RIDICULOUSLY expensive…but whatever.
We go walking out of the house. Tucker is a few steps in front of me. I look down and realize that he is wearing unmatched socks. They are not only unmatched but one is inside out. Sigh. I look to the heavens and say a quick prayer (this is a common theme). The prayer this time is that kids won’t make fun of him for:
1. Not having the Nike Elite Socks
2. The socks he does have are mismatched and inside out.
But NOT a double ugh.
“It wasn’t me. I promise.” Those are words I once repeated to his 1st grade teacher. As I took Tucker into school and looked down I noticed… his pants twisted, shirt half-tucked, untied shoes, missing a sock, he was a mess. An embarrassing mess.
“I swear I helped him get dressed this morning. I promise he did not leave home like that – I really don’t know what happened.”
She looked at me (bless her heart) and said, “I know, don’t worry about it – I know you wouldn’t send him to school looking like that.”
Then we both laughed…because we knew. Spectrum.
Ho hum…it’s just another thing that sets him apart from his peers. Children on the spectrum often look funny. Tucker often looks disheveled – he doesn’t match, he’s missing a sock, he has paint on his shorts, he has a stain on his shirt. He just doesn’t care, I’ll spend time in this blog referring to ‘social cues.’ He doesn’t get them and sometimes, it’s a huge relief.
Honestly, the most important thing is that he actually has clothes on – and that, often in itself is a triumph. Seriously, many of these children are naked. A LOT. Mine used to be naked 80% of the time, now I at least have him talked into boxers. In our old neighborhood we had a full glass front door and I joked that the entire neighborhood had seen him naked. He would just stand at that door watching cars go by, kids traveling on their bikes, runners going through the neighborhood….he would watch all of the action completely oblivious to the fact that he was nude!!! Many children on the spectrum don’t like clothes because their bodies are so sensitive (we’ll have a conversation about tags and socks on another day).
Modesty will most likely never be his strong suit.
He either gets that from his Grandma’s side of the family (you know who you are and you best be laughing right now) or the spectrum.
I’m not sure which.