However, when he makes eye contact it communicates something. Quite often it is not accompanied by a smile or facial expression, but his eyes speak volumes. I’ve noticed that some people become intimidated by his eye contact. It is very piercing. It’s as if he’s trying to look into your soul and understand you deeply or tell you something very important.
I am trying to not take that away from him. Because I am tempted to rush though our interactions, especially with strangers. I too quickly urge him to keep moving in his walker. To smile or say “hi” with a wave, so again, we can keep moving. But if you happen to be someone who grabs Nathan’s attention–and he will sometimes literally grab your clothing–he will make you pause for a moment. Sometimes, he will make a kissing or clicking sound at you. It’s all very uncomfortable for me, but not Nathan.
Nathan’s love for people is also played out with dolls, stuffed animals, and picture books of people. I think through his tendency to entertain himself with these things, he’s telling us just how much he loves people. I love how observant he is and how much he desires to connect with others.
When Nathan was first diagnosed with Cri du chat syndrome I learned many things from Google. One of them was many people reported that their CDC child was incredibly social. This is true of Nathan. But how can you be social when you can’t speak? This answer is still unfolding for me, but what I’m learning is that for Nathan this means being a part of others somehow–having a sense of belonging.
Nathan is a friend who communicates without words.
In his own unique way, Nathan is able to contribute in friendship. He is an incredibly good listener, especially in situations where he is listening in on conversations. He is a good comforter though his presence of just sitting near or cuddling up close. Most remarkably, he reflects what is happening in your heart and mind. I find that when he tries to capture my attention, it is often when I am distracted by busyness. He tries to stop me and have me sit with him. He reminds me of what is truly important. People. When I talk to him sometimes he pulls me close and stares in my eyes as we are nose-to-nose. I’m not fully sure what this boy’s life purpose is, but I know it has something to do with loving and accepting others through his presence.
Even though Nathan can’t talk the way most people do, you can discover by spending just a little bit of time with him that he has plenty to say and lots of affection to give.
My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!
Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!