Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy Dance

The "Happy Dance" is what we call Moosie's out-of-body excitement jig. If he's standing, his legs are kicking and stomping, his arms are a twitching and twirling, and he's got the "mascara face" going. When he's sitting, the only difference is his little heels hit the floor a million times a minute and it sounds like he's playing the drums.

Some in the autism world call this "stimming," some call it "self-regulation," and we call it the "happy dance." We've called it the happy dance since before Moosie turned one, before he was even in early intervention or had a single label. Wait, not true, he had the "failure to thrive" label to try and overcome. Anyhow, I think Moosie's been kicking those legs since the day they formed in the womb.

In any case, now whenever we go anywhere, people know when Moosie is excited. He looks like a little wind-up toy that was just released from a tight grasp. It makes everyone smile, and I used to smile too.

But now, instead I think, "When will this stop being cute? When will people no longer find this so innocent? When will others find this distracting and intrusive?"

I know the answers to my own stops being the "happy dance" when it is no longer age appropriate. I know this because of the many things that Bubba does that are no longer OK just because he is chronologically another year older.

This saddens me because Moosie will still be the same Moosie, but the expectations surrounding him will change. Not that expectations can't grow and change, but why does expressing excitement, release, frustration, and pain have to be confined to such strict limits?

I wonder how Moosie will react once his Happy Dance is treated as more of a distraction rather than a glimpse of pure joy. For now, I am going back to smiling.

1 comment:

Casdok said...

I know exactlywhat you mean. My son is now 18 and his happy dance now frightens people.
But it still makes me smile as i know he is happy!!