For most of my son’s life, he’s never shown much concern over how others see him. Being Autistic has its pros and that is certainly one of them. He’s just ‘him’. What you see, is what you get, and I’ve always loved that about him. He’s never set out to impress others with his actions or even with his appearance.
For example, his clothing has never mattered to him. His coats that came home with stains, never bothered him. Socks with holes were just something to fidget with. Dirty shoes were never an issue. He simply didn’t care.
That is, until this year. He’s suddenly becoming Mr. Cool, and I’m loving it! At 14, caring about one’s appearance, is typical boy behavior. But my son, has never shown age appropriate behavior. So this is huge for him!
By paying attention to his appearance, he’s showing growth and improvement in certain areas of his life, that he’s not shown growth in before. Although I don’t encourage my son to be vain or to be the cool kid on the block, that doesn’t change the fact that this is a big milestone for him.
The other day, he forgot his coat at school. When we had to run out for the evening, he was stuck wearing an old coat that he had outgrown. The sleeves were visibly too short and he searched everywhere in the house for a better fitting one. Much to his dismay, he found none, so he was stuck with the small one.
When we got to our destination, he immediately took his coat off. Since this is something he never does, I knew he was trying to keep people from seeing him in it. I felt bad for him because he was obviously embarrassed. But on the other hand, I knew he wouldn’t forget his coat at school again. Sure enough, he brought it home the following day. Although I was happy he learned a lesson from it, the best part was that he was showing concern for himself and his appearance.
This change in him, doesn’t pertain only to his clothing. This morning, while he was getting ready for school, I walked in his room to hurry him along. He was standing in front of the mirror, slowly brushing his hair, making sure that every strand was perfectly in place.
As I stood there watching him from the doorway, all I could do was smile. It was such typical teenage behavior. It was great! I praised him for doing such a great job, and he gave me that handsome smile of his.
My little Mr. Cool is really growing up. He makes me so proud, everyday.