A friend recently said to me, “You just have to make him wear jeans a couple of times a week if you want him to wear jeans.” Well, it should be just that easy…I let it go and then laughed, hysterically. The challenges of dressing a kiddo on the spectrum can be…well…intense. The thing is – they have enough trouble just getting their brain to engage and function that we (parents) try to remove anything that will stand in the way.
Jeans? Yeah…they’ll do just that, stand in the way. They feel funny: the seams, the waistband, the fabric. If Tucker’s body doesn’t feel right, he can’t let it go. Not because he’s being naughty or stubborn, but because his brain WILL NOT ALLOW him to let it go.
I liken it to a fly when you’re trying to sleep.
You know that experience? You’re laying down for a nap in mid-July. You basking in the sunshine coming through the window. It feels perfect…refreshing and relaxing from a week of work. You close your eyes and are on the brink of sleepy time when you hear it…the fateful buzzing. You keep your eyes closed and try to lay still, willing the fly to go the other way. But it doesn’t, it just gets closer – buzzing around your face. Then, it lands.
You shoo it away, convinced that it will learn its lesson. Then, remember the window you are sleeping by? The window that provides the natural warmth? Yeah, the little bugger starts hitting the screen. Even though you know it’s not that noisy, it feels like the loudest noise in the world – because ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS TAKE A LITTLE, BITTY nap.
Finally, it stops. Peace, finally some rest. Then the fly begins again. You swat. It circles. You swat. It circles. The cycle continues until you get so angry that you get up to get a fly swatter to KILL that annoying creature. The kill is successful – but then you realize that no sleep will be had because of your adrenaline-filled fly-killing rage.
Well, that’s how I liken our jeans experience. The jeans? The fly.
Tucker will stop learning (kill the fly) or take off his pants (just get up from his nap) to avoid the feeling of jeans. I think most folks would prefer that I simply allow him to wear sweats/shorts.
What does this have to do with Christmas? Well…in talking about Christmas services I said, it would be nice if you could try your jeans (I try this tactic twice a year…Easter and Christmas). He said, “I hate jeans – but it would be nice for Grandma and Grandpa. Jeans are better than khaki pants. Can I take the jeans and we stop at a gas station by their church right before and right after?”
Yes. Yes you can.
So, there you have it…jeans. Jeans for 90 minutes…but jeans nonetheless!
I even have proof – although he was walking so fast it’s incredibly blurry. Proof, nonetheless.
It reminds me of the holiday season – and how it really is the small things that bring joy.
The 2-cheeseburger bribe brought him joy.
The jeans brought the rest of us joy.