So, it turns out that when you have a migraine for four days straight and are lying in your bed, depending on other people to help watch your children, popping Tylenol like it’s going out of style, and wishing with all your might that there were something you could do to get rid of the pain, you don’t feel much like blogging. Today the migraine has been downgraded to a headache, and a headache is something I can live with! So, I’m back:)
I’ve been thinking a lot about boundaries lately, specifically how to teach Jake about proper physical boundaries. I struggle in this area for several reasons. At the preschool that Jake attends twice a week (the one that provides specialized services for children with Down syndrome), they are beginning to work on physical boundaries. The teachers who work with Jake will give a high five, but they are starting to shy away from hugging, in order to be an example for the kiddos to learn that there are people we hug, and people that we don’t hug. They also teach all of their aides (the aide is hired by this organization, but goes to Jake’s typical preschool the other three days a week with him…) to do the same.
In theory, I totally, 100%, completely agree with the philosophy behind this. I have a deep desire to teach all my children, but especially Jake, who belongs to a vulnerable population, what proper boundaries look like. I absolutely want to jump on board the boundary train.
On the other hand…
At Jake’s typical preschool, which he attends three times a week with his aide, they end each class in a different room. The teacher stands by the door to the room where the parents are waiting, and calls each student to come out by name, as they see the parent waiting for them. And without fail, each student comes running out the door, stops, hugs their teacher, comes to the next door, stops, and hugs the second teacher, and then runs to find their parent.
How on earth am I supposed to expect that Jake won’t hug his teachers goodbye, or his aide (whom he absolutely adores), when that expectation is not put in place for the rest of the class? And to be honest, it hurts my heart a little when he tries to hug his aide, and she struggles with it. Because she wants to give him a hug too, but feels torn, and I feel for both of them in that situation. How am I supposed to be okay with not showing physical affection (in the form of an innocuous hug) to people who are safe people in Jake’s life? I am already working hard at teaching boundaries with people who are not a part of Jake’s regular life, but I actually feel as though physical touch, in appropriate ways, is super important at this age from people who are safe. People like teachers, and aides, who work with my kiddo day in and day out.
And so I end the same way I began.
The lines are all blurred…