Saturday, October 29, 2016

Proximity Alert


If, like a Star Trek star ship, I had a proximity alert sensor, it would probably have experienced catastrophic systems failure by now, taking out a couple of anonymous redshirts along the way.

Either that or I would have taken a phaser to it, enraged by the frequency of its klaxon. Beep! Beep! Beep!

OB is keen on being close. Very close. If he can't be in close physical proximity, then he keeps up an incessant thread of noise to tie us together.

This behaviour is a classic draw for the "all kids do that" response. But I don't think it applies. I've seen other kids playing by themselves or occasionally going into another room. Not all the time, of course, but sometimes. OB is nearly six. I definitely know that other 6-year-olds are not all like OB in this regard.

If OB is playing and I leave the room, he will follow within moments, even if I'm only on the other side of the French doors . . . and the doors are still open. If I go out of his sight, he has to know exactly where I am going. On the rare occasion when he does not, or can not, follow, he will keep up a steady stream of questions that I must answer at the top of my voice, or risk total meltdown.

Beep! Beep! Beep!

If either of us are going to the toilet, it has to be announced. He must know where everybody is at all times. If I take a moment too long in the toilet, he comes to the door and asks what I am doing. He used to come in, but I don't allow that any more. I enforce it by wedging my foot against the door.

If I spend too long putting the laundry in, or emptying the dishwasher, he invents or engineers some catastrophe that means I have to stop what I am doing and come immediately to his aid. Yesterday I came running to his screams to find that his predicament was being 'buried' under a sofa cushion and apparently totally unable to free himself.

Beep! Beep! Beep!

If I go and sit on a chair in the same room as him, he is immediately up in my face. He wants to sit on my knee, but he can't sit still, so he's crawling, climbing, jabbing me with his elbows. If I protest, he gets off, but then waves his arms right in front of my face, or raises his foot so that it's millimetres away from some part of my body. If he's resting against me, he's always pressing some part of his body into mine a little harder than is necessary.

If I bend down to pick something up, he climbs on my back, knocking me over. If I sit on the floor to play with him, he clambers onto me.

Beep! Beep! Beep!

If I talk to somebody else or pay attention to something else, he physically interposes himself between me and whatever or whoever I'm looking at. If I'm working at the kitchen counter, he suddenly has need to get something out of the drawer or cupboard I'm standing in front of.

He shoves his head up my clothes, puts his hands in my pockets, touches my hair, my face, my earrings, my glasses. When we stand in the corridor at swimming, waiting for his lesson to begin, he stands on my feet.

Beep! Beep! Beeeeeeeeep!!!!

There is no neat ending to this blog post, no solution or clever analogy about life. I sometimes long to put my shields up and go to red alert, but it's not the answer. This is how we are, and I have turned my proximity alert off for the duration.

6 comments:

  1. Wow. That's exhausting & presume anxiety related? Hope he goes to sleep at a reasonable time so you get some space. X

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    1. I'm very grateful that he is a good sleeper and goes to bed relatively fuss-free these days so I have plenty of time to recover in the evenings usually :)
      And funnily enough, he isn't so clingy when we're out and about with other people or if he has little friends around to play, it's only when it's just us.

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  2. Hi Suddenly Mummy,
    I was so hoping to read a magic solution that you had discovered at the end of your blog since I have a DS who behaves exactly as you describe !!! How long has OB been with you please ? Our little one is 2 and has been with us for a year.

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    1. Ah, I'm sorry! I wish I had a solution too! I read somewhere or other about this behaviour possibly being attachment-seeking, and to concentrate on giving focused attention to try to fulfil that need - it's tough going though, and we're only human :)

      OB is nearly 6. Our background is a little complicated. I fostered him first, from 4 months old until shortly after his 1st birthday. Then he returned to birth family. He came back into foster care a little while later, and I had him from then until now. So he's been with me permanently for over 4 1/2 years now.

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  3. Gosh, that is exactly the same here pretty much all the time... and we are now home educating so it's bonkers. Ours was 4 when he came to us and has been with us about 3 years. He recently sat and looked at a book for an hour while I was in another room, I sat very still not daring to move in case I rustled and broke the spell! From Hushabymountainblog (can't get the ID label to work!)

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    1. Oh, I know that feeling! This evening he watched 3 episodes of Peppa Pig with Birdy and I hid in the kitchen! It was lovely!

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