Dancing With Michael

A few minutes after my 7 year old’s bedtime last night --
and I add with such amazing coincidence at the exact very
moment that he pretended to fall asleep with a slight smile on
his face -- his teacher telephoned me to confirm that I was
coming for his Show and Tell presentation.

Usually, I was aware of this event. Usually, he decided what he
wanted to do, we rehearsed it and he got kuddo reviews. I
knew nothing about it being his turn so soon again. I started to
tell her I’d check to see if his dad could come because I
had a meeting that I couldn’t cancel. She interrupted me
to make sure I understood that
I was the Show and Tell
item/guest that my son booked.
Huh?

To get revenge on the sleeping possum, who by then was
sporting a full smile and trying not to laugh, I started to sit
down on him, but his quick awake response for self
preservation was to roll over and off the other side of the bed
to avoid impact with The Momster’s bum.

I confirmed the 8:30 AM time, hung up and asked the Little
Man what’s going on. Why did he book me for Show and
Tell?

His reasons went on and on. Because I’m pretty, funny,
goofy, because I can do impressions, because I work with kids
who have hurt brains in wheelchairs (how he sees the multi
handicapped kids at my job), because I talk to and write about
famous people, because I painted scenes on his old bedroom
walls, because I can do card and magic tricks, etc.

I was confused. Did he want me to do a comedy routine?

"
No!"

"Ok., what then? A power point presentation of our last
vacations?"

"
No! " He just giggled.

"What then?" I asked.

Then he composed himself, sat straight up, looked me square
in the eye and said, “We can dance, mom!�

WHAT?????  was my first reaction, thinking he wanted to do
our goofy dances as we do in the kitchen with rock, soul or
Motown playing.

“You want Mommy to come in to your classroom and dance
like that -- oh, Michael, did your dad put you up to this when
you were with him last night?� I asked.

“No, Mom, not that kind of dancing. The other kind. You
know, barroom dancing with me!�

He meant ballroom dancing.

Oh! Now it made sense. He was very proud that he learned. I
was very proud that he finally started to develop some sense of
rhythm and dance at 6 years after being clumsy and insisting
for years that jumping up and down was a totally acceptable
form of dancing. Maybe for the punk rockers in Pittsburghâ
€™s Oakland section in 1980 who jumped up and down and
broke bare hot light bulbs with their heads, but not for me.

Most kids with any type of autism spectrum disorders usually
are not interested at all in any type of dancing. I dislike
generalizations and stereotypes, but in this matter I feel
comfortable saying so. I know about only a handful who loves
to dance besides Michael and I've asked at least 150 parents
that question. So if my going to school to dance with him
increases the chances that he'll continue to want to dance, I
will do it.

So I tucked him in a second time and assured him that we will
dance for his first grade class.

“No, mom, not just for my class. All 3 first grades are
coming. The principal’s coming and I think some other
teachers. My speech therapist is coming and bus driver. Itâ
€™s going to be in that auditorium.â€�

Of course, it is! And why wouldn’t it be? He arranged it.
He doesn’t do simple.

“Oh, Michael, I wish you had told me last week about this.
We could have practiced more,� I told him, starting to feel
really shakey about it. .

“Don’t sweat it, Mom, I’ll be there. You’ll do
OK.�

Return to  Essay List             Homepage