My eight year old son has many oddities, however none is quite as evident as his fascination with skin. He loves to touch people and the older, the better. The upper arm flab of elderly women is his clear favorite.
My boy has had sensory issues from the start. As an infant, he hated to be held and only due to countless hours of occupational therapy did that change. Now he can’t keep his hands off of people.
He has always been able to obtain this tactile fix because he is so small, but what people don’t realize is that he’s really just a miniature man. The lady who lets him climb all over her lap forgets that he is an eight year old in the body of a toddler. The kid gets away with murder, I tell you.
We have recently started some new therapy. We brush his skin, we do joint compression and other exercises which are helping him keep his hands to himself. As he always has been, my child is a work in progress.
Most of our friends and family know they have to set boundaries and I do my best to keep him away from bikini clad women. Though, that isn’t hard because I’ve been doing the same thing with my husband for over 15 years. Practice makes perfect, I always say.
We tell my son that everyone has a bubble and that he is not allowed to get close enough to pop it. I sound like I’m off my rocker when I see him eyeing a smooth shoulder or a college co-ed in short-shorts and I act preemptively saying, “Bubble. Bubble! BuuuuuuBBBBBBLE!”
Of course, there are times when he’s bound to fall off the wagon and we are quick to tell him that it’s not okay to invade someone’s space. But, there are still occasions when, oh…let’s say, he might lie on top of our friends’ eight year old daughter. Hypothetically.
Okay, not hypothetically.
We told him that it was unacceptable for him to lie on top of his friends and that you can never touch a girl without permission. This is when his big sister chimed in and said, “Yeah! You can go to jail for that!”
Which is why I shouldn’t have been surprised at my son’s reaction when we ran into my brother-in-law the other night. My brother-in-law the police officer.
At least we know my kid has one redeeming quality…he is honest to a fault. Which was clearly evident when he pulled me down to his level and whispered, “Hey, Mom. You should probably tell him that I lay on girls”.