Quirks. Stims.

When I think of the art of raising children, I think of how hard it is to make sure that on a day to day basis, my children are ok.  But aside from that constant worry is the beauty of my children.  Their quirks, their mishaps and the way they remind me of myself as a child.

Quirks are a funny thing. We all have them.  But in the autism world it is called stimming.

 "Stimming is a repetitive body movement, such as hand flapping, that is hypothesized to stimulate one or more senses. The term is shorthand for self- stimulation."

Stimming is an action that a child does in order to self soothe.  Daniel's stims range from month to month, so I never know what he'll do next.

But I want to mention my quirk or "stim."  My quirk dates back to when I was 12 years old.  And anyone in my family can tell you what it is if they think hard enough.  My mom introduced it to me without her even knowing.  I remember watching her thinking so was crazy.  But there she was, happy as a clam.

So on one boring day, at 12 years old,  I decided to follow in my mom's footsteps and start ripping the split ends from my hair.  Yes, I know, a beautician's nightmare.  But I remember spending hours just sitting down and tearing away.  And just about an hour ago, there I was again!  Hair in hand, searching for a split end to annihilate!  Oh, how it soothes my soul!  If I'm anxious, depressed, sad, or angry, my split ends save my day.  My poor curly hair but I dare say that I love it.  I've tried to give it up and I just can't.  My husband thinks I'm crazy.  He always complains about sweeping up all my hair when Mr. Neatfreak goes on a house cleaning rampage.  "Can you stop that thing with your hair already!"  He just tickles my ribs whenever he gets mad about it.  Because when he mentions it to me, it always just throws me back to that boring afternoon when I was 12.

So I wonder if when Daniel gets older, if he'll remember all of his stims.  His most current one is tapping my elbow and my knuckles with his fingers.  Over and over and over.  He also likes to touch a person's jawline.  Almost as if he's a plastic surgeon trying to assess his someone in a consultation.  He's also into items that he can manipulate with his hands such as a bending straw.  And I look at him and I wonder what could be going on in his head right now.  I always ask, "What are you thinking about Daniel?"  Then, tap, tap, tap. There goes my jawline.  And then that smile as if to say, "Mommy, that's my little secret."


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