What I'm going to write about next upsets me a bit, only because I haven't figured out quite what to do about it. We were recently visiting friends in Arizona and Calder got to visit with his friend Thackery who, like Calder is 5 years old. They played together really well having a lot of fun together. The second day of our visit Thackery fell and hurt himself, not too badly but enough to get Mom hugs. While on her lap he says to her "I want my friend Calder ". Calder was nearby and was able to hear this request/compliment. He didn't respond so I repeated what Thackery said and tried to explain what to do. Calder didn't respond in any way and in fact he resisted my attempts to encourage him.
Today after school his best buddy classmate gave him an unsolicited hug goodbye which in my thinking is a very sweet thing to do. But Calder didn't like it one bit and recoiled. I tried to get Calder to settle for a wave and "goodbye" to which he did begrudgingly with totally averted eye contact.
I'm not sure where to begin with this one. Do I teach him social expectations or do I support his wishes not to be touched? I hate putting limits on him because he often surprises me. I feel so bad for the kid on the receiving end ( or non-receiving as it may be...) because usually it is a dear friend and I can sense hurt in their eyes. I want my kid to have friends and know how to show comfort to them when they are in need.
Parents don't always know the answers right? Sometimes there is a curveball thrown your way. I wish I had some great explanation for Thackery but all I can say is that Calder does love you and you are very dear to him. He remembers things about you that most kids will forget. Maybe he just has different ways of showing it. I know as Calder gets older and better at organizing his thoughts, he will be able to explain more things and how he experiences them.
I do think the gentlest of touches can hurt him and that when he says that washing his hair hurts, he is actually experiencing a form of pain. I don't always know what 'normal' or 'typical' looks like.....maybe a lot of kids recoil ....but from their best of friends? I don't really ever see it, but maybe it's out there.