Monday, 16 May 2011
There is nothing in the world like one of Cameron's hugs. If you've had one I'm fairly confident you are nodding your head right now.
When you live in a non verbal world you have to find ways to express yourself and Cameron uses hugs in many different situations to let you know how he is feeling.
Cameron will hug you when he is happy and he will hug you when he is scared. He hugs you when he is sorry, to say thank you and because he can't think of anything else to do.
Sometimes his hugs are not exactly well timed such as when I am dashing to the toilet - it's urgent - and all of a sudden Cameron's arms grab me and his body sinks into mine. Or when I am in a mad rush to get out the door and Cameron suddenly appears in front of me and envelopes my body in his melting hug. You have no choice - you will be hugged. He even tries to hug me while I am driving.
Cameron hugs strangers and he hugs the people he loves. He tries to hug everyone which can cause some problems. Some people don't like surprise hugs. Some people don't appreciate being hugged by a stranger, especially a big teenage toddler.
School is another challenge. In Cameron's world the staff at school are in his close, safe, trusted world but in order to teach the students that there are social boundaries which must be observed the staff don't allow the children to hug them. That's really hard for someone who expresses himself through hugs and physical contact. He often moves in for a hug only to be met with a swift, stiff arm pushing him back.
The other time that Cameron will hug you is when you are upset. If you are crying he will quietly move in and smother you in a giant bear hug that makes you relax and feel incredibly loved. There is nothing in the world like it.
Lately I have been getting a lot of hugs on the way home from school and at the shops. At the shops they are big, excited hugs because we had a treat or because I've let him look at something he wanted to see. Sometimes he just swings around and hugs me for no apparent reason but I'm sure he knows why. It can be a little embarrassing standing in the middle of the shopping centre with a teenager wrapped around me but I have learnt to push my embarrassment aside - just imagine if I'd never got the chance to experience these hugs or if I never felt them again.
On the way home from school he just suddenly stops, swings around and envelopes me. We are not going anywhere until he is ready. Slightly embarrassing with all the teenagers from the high school walking past but avoiding eye contact is the key. You can try and push away when you feel the hug has gone long enough but until Cameron is finished we are not going anywhere.
Cameron can be quite cheeky sometimes and lately he has been quite mischievous with his hugs. We have a family member who he is refusing to hug, or even look at until five minutes before our family gathering is over and then she gets a huge hug accompanied with a giant sized grin.
A young, adult, female friend of the family who Cameron reeaaalllyy likes usually gets a hug as soon as he sees her but the last time we met he walked straight past her and greeted a total stranger. Not nice Cam. After a while he went and found her and gave her a hug. He has started holding his hugees to ransom.
I let Cameron hug people we know, and then I'll try and pry him off them. Sometimes easier said than done. However for people we don't know I usually fling myself in front of them as Cameron moves in for a hug. Sometimes I'm too slow and sometimes it gets embarrassing but on the whole everyone is very understanding and kind. That's once they've caught their breathe and got over the shock of receiving on of Cameron's BIG HUGS.