Saturday, November 28, 2015
Matthew has always had a fascination with baby equipment...high chairs, strollers, car seats, baby swings, etc. Some of the fascination is because he likes to sit in the aforementioned items even though he is too big to fit half the time. He has attempted to sit in strollers designed for baby dolls! The other part of the fascination comes from the fact that he likes to tap the plastic surfaces or in the case of car seat carriers check the underside (almost like he's trying to figure out how they work).
It was probably gradual, but it felt like overnight that he started to become interested in babies themselves. He will say "bebe" when he notices them out and about. In the morning at school when we line up the first thing he signs is "I want to see" and then says "bebe". He knows one of the moms who has a double stroller with a baby and a toddler. She lets him peek in at the baby to see if he is sleeping and tap the bottom of the toddler's shoes. It's part of the morning ritual. I know it bothers him if we get to school when the first bell rings (our sign to line up) because then we don't have time to visit the babies.
While for the most part it is a sweet, cute fascination, it is not without its challenges. We are working hard to teach him that we can "look but not touch" when its a baby we don't know. We now have a social story that we read during therapy that talks about what to do when you see a baby out and about that you don't know. We are also trying to teach him that if it is a baby that we know, you need to ask before you grab anything or touch the baby or the baby's equipment. Just yesterday we were at a restaurant and he saw a dad carrying a toddler and he reached up and touched the man's arm and started to walk with him. Luckily, the man smiled down at him and we were able to redirect him easily. If you read Still Shaking you will know that he has a dangerous attraction to cars, so this fascination compounds things a bit because often when a van or car door opens there is a baby car seat or a parent getting a baby out of the car to put in a stroller. So it's like he has double motivation to run and check out the situation!
I partially blame Michael for Matthew's interest in babies. Michael is a baby/toddler in a family that Matthew follows on YouTube. Crazy, I know! Technically it started when one of Matthew's therapists got the idea to search garbage trucks on YouTube because she knew how much he liked them. For a kid who has no interest in TV or movies...he was hooked...on garbage truck videos! His whole body would shake with excitement when the garbage truck would shoot out the arm and grab the can and dump it into the truck. In case you are wondering, there are hundreds (thousands?) of videos out there that follow garbage trucks on their routes. Overtime Matthew has expanded his viewing options to include wagons, doctor and dentist visits, fair rides and bouncy houses. It was during one of the wagon videos that he was introduced to Michael and his family which includes 5 children total! I have watched the videos with him and can even recite a few lines by heart.
Abby has suggested that what Matthew would really like is if we adopted another baby! Well...I can guarantee you that is not going to happen! A Christmas present idea I had was to buy him a baby doll and stroller. Now if we can just keep him from breaking the stroller by trying to sit in it!