Well I have accepted that one of my children will never give me a running-jump-into-my-arms hug. But what I have trouble accepting is that he has never been able to give me a hug at all.
Don't get me wrong, Asher is happy to oblige giving me his version of a hug. That has entailed his left arm on my arm, with his little hand giving me tiny pats. So sweet, of course. But I want a big, strong hug like I get from the other two - that's not too much to ask is it?! Until now it has been.
So you can imagine how it felt when I picked him up the other day and asked for a hug and he laid his head on my shoulder, like normal. Then he squeezed me with his left arm and started his trademark pats, like normal. Then he relaxed his right arm as much as possible and squeezed me with that one too.
WHAT?! He squeezed me with his right arm?!
Oh yes he did!
"OHMYGOD Ashy you are giving mama a HUG using your RIGHT ARM! It feels so good, please don't stop, please don't stop, please don't stop" is what I wanted to shriek at him. But I did not.
What came out was more like "Oh Ashy", with tears running down my face, not ever wanting the moment to end.
Because you see, one of the principles of Feldenkrais is that you don't overreact when your child does something new. If you call attention to it, they will want to do it again and if they are unable it will cause them stress because they want nothing more than to please you. Of course that could relate with an able bodied child, but in a child with motor issues who has so much trouble making calculated moves, it makes perfect sense.
So I kept my big trap shut and just enjoyed the moment.
When we had our next Feldenkrais lesson, his therapist asked me how Asher had been doing and I told her about the hug. Her face lit up. "We've been working on that", she said.
"Hugs?", I asked her in confusion.
"Well no, but we've been working on him holding on to you when you carry him so that he can support his weight. He is learning!".*
She was so happy, and of course, so was I. He has only done it a few times since, but the fact that he can is exciting, because he just needs to realize it. When I got home I thought about the implications of this:
- Not only does this ensure me that with a lot of hard work Asher will learn to hold his own weight when he is being carried (my back shouts HOORAY!!);
- We have actual tangible proof Feldenkrais is working for him. I know many parents struggle with defining exactly how Feldenkrais/ABM works for your child. When describing it to people I have always said "I just know it works, I can see it in him", without having actual evidence of something that has changed in him. Now, I have some proof. And that makes me believe in it even more;
- I get the all important hugs I have been hoping for!!
Every little thing that Asher accomplishes makes me not only proud, but so hopeful. Hope doesn't get the credit it deserves for what an amazing emotion it is. When you get a real glimmer of hope the feeling is indescribable.
*Most of the time lately I have been leaving Asher for his lessons. With Jordan working two jobs these past months it has been nearly impossible for me to schedule appointments when Jordan is available to be with Nolan. So Nolan and I have been dropping Asher off and going for some one on one time while he is there. Seems to work better for Asher too, as he is less distracted by my presence.