Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Clothing-Optional Home


The above pictured sticker is posted on my front door. It’s there to alert emergency responders that, heaven-forbid, might someday have enter my house to save lives. My son, like many eight-year-olds, does not care for voices of authority. In his case, panic makes it extreme. Hence, the sticker. 

There should probably be another sticker on my front door for the uninformed visitors. It would say something along the lines of, ‘Warning. Child that is not a toddler is running around in only his underwear. If he likes you, he may want a hug. If you sit down, he may wallow all over you. Uncomfortable closeness can and will ensue.’ 

People on the spectrum can have incredible sensitivity to sight, sound, taste, smells, and feeling. Kiddo is a perfect example of that case. Clothes are uncomfortable for him. He does not like to wear them. So, in the privacy of our home, he is not expected to be clad in anything but the finest in clean Angry Bird undies. 

Besides, it’s fun to watch the reactions he gets from the uninformed. The exterminator eyes my curious and friendly son with a nervousness he doesn’t display for wasps or spiders. Guests who may otherwise stay too long soon find a reason to go home at a decent hour. Jehovah’s Witnesses who invariably show up at my door during dinner time –and are not put off by the food between my teeth and fork in my paw – stay just long enough to thrust a copy of ‘Watchtower’ in my son’s hand before making for the next house. There’s just something about  seeing a boy over the age of 5 trotting about in his drawers that makes the neuro-typicals beat a hasty retreat. 

I make no apologies for my kid and his nudist proclivities, mostly because I’m laughing too hard to do so. Besides, this is his house. He should be comfortable here. He manages to keep his clothes on at school and the grocery store now. Yes, there have been naked episodes in public, due to fabric discomfort. “Naked child in Produce” is always hilarious to hear over the speakers at Winn Dixie. Looking for his clothes in the frozen section is a treasure hunt like no other. 

Kiddo has never liked being covered up. Even as a newborn, he was making like Houdini in chains and escaping blankets and onesies. Not 24 hours had elapsed after he got free of my womb before he was lying about in bare-butt glory. Even in the coldest weather, I could not keep clothes on the child. He hates the feel of them, a common complaint among those on the autism spectrum. In one of her books about living with autism, Temple Grandin asserted she only buys clothes from the thrift store. She needs the softness that only many washings can offer. Otherwise, she’s in sensory hell. I bet she sits around her house in her undies too. 

So if you come to my home, be aware. A boy long of limb and bereft of fabric is lurking about. He will stand right next to you. He might decide to climb you like a tree. Console yourself that at least he’s not a teenager doing the underpants thing. 

Not yet, heh-heh-heh.

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