Last week at school The Boy got a sticker. Yes, in the days of computer games and apps and new technology the sticker is still king. He came out of school leaning over to one side, pushing his chest out, to ensure the sticker could be viewed by everyone waiting. So proud. What did he do to deserve such a fine prize? Well, he got it for "being kind".
Apparently he was in the middle of one of his customary meltdowns in the sensory room. Another pupil, a younger one, was also in the middle of a meltdown. And he wanted in to the sensory room. So, after some negotiation The Boy agreed to temporarily postpone his own meltdown so this younger pupil could continue with his undisturbed.
He was extremely proud of his magnanimous gesture. "I've been very kind", he kept repeating on the way home. We talked about how it was nice to do kind things for people, and how it made you feel good helping others. And it felt like another tiny step forward - a reminder that The Boy will never be cured of his autism, but with the right help and guidance he might well 'learn' some aspects of human behaviour that don't always come naturally to him.
As I pulled up at home The Boy insisted on closing the car door himself. "I'm being kind to you", he said. He said he'd carry his own lunchbox inside as he was being kind to me. He even said I could cook him his dinner whenever I wanted as he was once again being kind to me. Selfless, my son.
Then as we walked into the building where we live, there was a neighbour leaving. She looks around my age, although we've never spoken. I was walking in front, The Boy will never walk in first, only ever behind me. Another little quirk. As I walked in I turned and he was waiting at the door for the neighbour. As she walked past him he shouted at the top of his voice, "DADDY I'M BEING KIND AND HOLDING THE DOOR OPEN FOR THE LADY BECAUSE SHE LOOKS OLD..."
Next time I think I might put the sticker over his mouth.