Who writes about feet? Not my sister, she hates feet. I can do it. I can write about anything these days, as long as it amuses me or makes me wonder and yes, I am easily amused....
My feet are not the prettiest feet, I get that, but for my son, Frankie, they are gorgeous. I know this because he told me so! Ok, so that's not a big deal to many but it's a HUGE deal to us. As many of you already know, our little one is ASD and we have had to re-arrange him inside and out to make him fit our society rules and expectations. He's awesome the way he is but we have to make sure everybody else realizes this, even if they don't take the time to see beyond his often expressionless face and awkward ways. Part of this is to teach him rituals that are socially accepted AND expected. Don't get me wrong, as a parent, I had to teach all my kids their "please and thank you's" but I didn't have to teach them how to point, how to smile, how to kiss, how to say "I love you." These were all small battles from the past that we fought and we won and we made a big deal out of them (see previous blog entries for proof!). Now, getting into the subjective stuff is a lot harder and we are working through it slower but steady!
Showing Frankie the art of "complimenting" others has been quite interesting for all of us involved since it's not as easy as it looks. I've heard that teachers usually learn more than their students and this holds true for pretty much all the ABA programs we roll-out for Frankie. First we had to use "compliments" among each other and make sure he understood what a compliment was; make it clear to him when he was receiving one and when others were exchanging them. Needless to say, our home became very courteous and pleasant, at least for a while! Frankie had to learn how to realize when he was being complimented and to be grateful for it. He also had to learn how to give one back without being prompted. Hey, people like to hear good things about themselves and flattery will win you friends - I tell you, one must get crafty these days to make friends at the playground!
Unfortunately, these kinds of things don't pay-off right away and the fruits of your labor are not reaped immediately, until one day it does. On that day, that blessed day, your kid comes up to you and randomly notices you had a pedicure done. Your feet are looking p-r-e-t-t-y nice....he thinks about it, he makes really good eye contact and tells you: "Mommy, you have beautiful feet" - and there you have it! Those words make it all worth it....all $17.50 of it and the half-hour you spent waiting. That day you and your kid learn the power of a compliment!
I probably shed a tear or two when I was told my feet were beautiful but not because I was flattered but because it was the proof that often times I need. I need wonderful proofs like this one to believe that everything Frankie needs to learn can be taught to him and that he can learn it. It does take a lot of effort, time and patience, but isn't it the same for EVERYTHING in life that's worth accomplishing? So, with that compliment in my mind, I will keep on moving my "beautiful feet" and hurry up on this trail we have ahead because time is of essence!