Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jazz hands!

Captain Adventure has this mannerism that is pretty common in autistic kids: He will “flap” his hands in front of his face. Basically, he’ll lift his fingers up in front of his eyes and then flop his hands back and forth, really fast and hard, so that his fingers are flashing in front of his eyes.

He tends to do it when he’s tired, agitated, confused, overstimulated or otherwise not feeling 100% comfortable with his environment.

Unlike a lot of autistic kids, it’s pretty easy to get him to quit it…as long as you’re willing to approach the issue in the spirit of playful redirection rather than making him quit it.

Tonight, he was tired and a bit annoyed because Daddy put him into a timeout for excessive wild screaming. (The nerve of some people! Just because one is shrieking in a way that causes eardrums to rupture does not mean one is in need of a timeout…harrumph!!!)

After the timeout, I was easing him back into polite society and getting him settled with a nice bowl of macaroni and cheese. Naturally, the phone chose that moment to ring, so I left him with the bowl while I answered the phone…two seconds later, I peeked over my shoulder at him and saw him wildly flapping his hands in front of his face. Ugh.

I can’t tell you why that particular twitchy thing bothers me so much, but it does. It really bugs me. Maybe because it’s so…unmistakably not right. It’s just not a behavior you see in ‘typically developing’ kids, and since this whole thing still sits on me about as comfortably as a pair of size 000 jeans would…my hackles go right up whenever he starts doing it.

Or maybe it’s just because this is a relatively new ‘twitchy thing’ he’s started doing. It just started in the last few months, which has made me wonder if maybe he’s picked it up from other kids in his program or something…he’s quite the copycat truth be told, as the story to follow will clearly demonstrate.

So I got off the phone double-quick, turned to him and started flapping my own hands. Copycat!

“Mommy!” he shouted, his eyes twinkling happily. Already, he’s broken out of the hand-flapping trance. “Why DO dat?!”

“Jazz hands!” I announced, holding my palms toward him and shaking them like a tambourine. He grinned and copied me. Excellent!

“Put ‘em up high!” I shouted, shoving them skyward.

“Uh-HI!” he yelled back, putting his hands above his head.

“Down low,” I murmured, dropping them below my waist.

“Own oooo,” he agreed, dropping his as well.

“Clap! Clap! Clap!”

“Crap! Crap! Crap!” {Mommy about choked to death trying not to laugh on that one.}

“Saaaaaaaay, ‘What a smart boy am I’!” I held my hands out, palms up.

“Yesh. Captain Adventure is mark ‘oy! Yesh!” He held out his hands to emphasize his own cleverness.

And behold, there has been no more hand-flapping tonight.

(There has, however, been a bit more ‘crap, crap, crapping’, which is cracking me up to the point where I’m afraid I might actually die of oxygen deprivation or something.)


Judy said...

From the mouth of babes, hehehe. Never a dull moment at your house, but think of all the wonderful memories you are collecting. You are one lucky lady!!

Anonymous said...

Crap, crap, crapping....ROFL!! That is classic! I'm going to snicker the rest of the day just thinking about it. At least your abs are getting a great workout, right?

Science PhD Mom said...

*LOL!* Well, you know, it will just go along with your daughter's trumpeting about your love of the f-word. Just take it with a dash of salt and a large margarita, or a big belly laugh, because it is d@mn funny.

Willow said...

HAH! That's a good solution. Bug has this weird "snork" thing she does as her social tic. Drives me bat shit crazy! (I just tell people it's her allergies, because really, no one else gets why she HAS to do it except my friends with kids on the spectrum.)


mama edge said...

This could be the new wedding dance craze. Jazz hands - high - low - Crap - Crap - Crap! Call it the Caotain Adventure Lambada.