Saturday, September 09, 2006

The smaller hands people

Bud had an amazing week at school.

That's the word they used: "amazing." It was - he was - amazing. He participated, he transitioned, he talked, he engaged. He played with other children.

There is magic happening in that classroom.

Without question, Bud is performing some startling feats himself. And, also without question, the entire professional team is conjuring up great things. But there is a group of smaller, but no less able, players who are also making magic.

As Bud and I walked to his classroom on Friday, he chatted his way through a script about birthdays, announcing "This is my favorite day of the year! It's my birthday!" A little girl sidled up and fell into step with us, pulling her backpack-on-wheels behind her.

"It's his birthday?" she asked.

"No, he's just pretending it's his birthday," I answered. "It will be his birthday in a couple of weeks, though."

She informed that her birthday was in July, her name was Molly, and she was in Bud's class. I told her it was very nice to meet her, and we continued on to the classroom together.

At the end of the day, Nana waited for Bud at the side door of the classroom, where he is dismissed to us early so that he can avoid the hubbub of the crowd at dismissal time. Bud bounded out the door as his aide reported on his fabulous day, then he returned unprompted to the classroom to shout "Goodbye, Mrs. Parker. Thank you, Mrs. Parker. I had a great day!"

Several of his classmates overheard him, and rushed over to say goodbye. Kelly flew outside first and threw her arms around him as he leaned in for her hug. She returned to the classroom and a moment later our morning friend Molly came out.

"Bye, Bud!" she said, eyeing him, and then backing up slowly as Bud's old friend Sophie appeared.

"Bye, Bud! See you on Monday!" Sophie said, wrapping him in her arms.

"See you Monday," he replied happily.

Then Molly, emboldened as she watched this scene unfold, approached Bud while Sophie returned to the classroom, and she too gave him a big hug and wished him a good weekend before skipping back inside.

It may be that Bud is becoming a ladies' man. My hunch, though, is that he has developed a bond with some classmates who have a strong mothering gene and who are seeking him out to care for him, nurture him, and encourage him.

I already knew that Bud was in good hands; I just had no idea that the hands came in so many different sizes.

8 comments:

Kassiane said...

Bud sounds darling. So do his friends. Good to hear about him having such a marvelous start to school. I love hearing about kids (autistic & non) working well together, having successes, et cetera. Thanks for sharing Bud with us.

Daisy said...

This is one of the best things about inclusion -- watching the other kids reach out to ours, despite their differences.

Kristina Chew said...

Small hands but gooder than good----bravo to Bud and his new (girl!) friends.

Tara said...

Bud will have no trouble at all coming up with a list of names for his birthday party!!
Congratulations all around. This is a development worth celebrating.

Bonnie Ventura said...

MOM-NOS wrote:

My hunch, though, is that he has developed a bond with some classmates who have a strong mothering gene and who are seeking him out to care for him, nurture him, and encourage him.

I think it's more likely that the other kids are just enjoying Bud's company, MOM-NOS. The idea of "disabled person in need of pity and mothering" is a complicated social construct and is beyond the grasp of many 6-year-olds. I'm guessing that the little girls see Bud as a fun classmate because he is so full of enthusiasm and loves to pretend.

In either case, I'm glad his school year is off to such a great start!

MOM-NOS said...

Bonnie, I would never equate "pity" with "mothering." I do think that Bud had a difficult transition, and he was lucky to find friends who had a lot of empathy for him. Even at six-years-old I think these girls know how to help a friend in need.

Bonnie Ventura said...

MOM-NOS, I didn't mean to suggest that you were equating pity with mothering, and I apologize for my careless use of words. What I meant to say is that there is a certain kind of socially constructed response to disability that includes pity, mothering, and a condescending and forced friendliness. Amanda has written a lot about that on Ballastexistenz. I don't think six-year-olds have that particular attitude. I do agree with you that they know how to help friends.

MOM-NOS said...

Thanks for the clarification, Bonnie. I can't speak to that particular construct, but I agree that these girls were not employing any kind of "forced" friendliness. They just genuinely like Bud and care about him. :-)