Being that it’s autism awareness month, I thought I’d share one small thing that sets Zane apart from his peers:
Zane is terrified of haircuts. When he was a toddler, during haircuts he would scream such a scream, you would think he was getting abused. Now that he is older, he mostly just simpers and shakes. His whole body trembling as I take the razor to his hair. With each stroke, I have to remind him to sit still, because no matter how he tries, his body immediately tenses up in fear. His quick jerks and the constant trembling, makes it extremely hard for me to maintain my patience. Not only does it make a haircut last an hour when it really should only take 10 minutes, but I’m fearful of accidentally cutting him.
I say f#%! a lot while I’m cutting his hair, mostly because I’m frustrated that my poor child has to endure this fear over and over again throughout his life. Does your child have anything that makes their whole body tremble, so thoroughly afflicted with anxiety? Now imagine having to subject your child to this, because the hair clippers are in my hand. I’m the one who holds the fearful experience. Telling him that it’s for his own good does nothing to calm him.
I tell him to be brave. I remind him to take deep breaths. I promise that I will not hurt him, over and over again as I attempt to get each strand of hair.
The most heartbreaking part of the whole experience:
While I’m hating myself, my son is constantly giving me compliments in the midst of his anxiety. So proud of me for having not hurt him, after each pause,
“Wow mommy thank you, you didn’t hurt me!”
“You are the most beautiful mommy that I love!”
“You’re a great hair cutter!”
And then right back to shaking as I go for the next row of hair.
When the hair cut is finally over, his shaking reaches a peak and he finally allows himself to cry. Grabbing me in a desperate hug as he exhales all his fears.
My son is courageous.