Hugging-it's the new stim!

         NotSoLittleMan has grown and changed so much over the years that it sometimes startles me.  I look at him now, chortling over some witty comment he made and I remember the days when he was unintentionally hilarious. Now, with the help of interventions (social group, behavior interventionists, social comics, social stories, practice, conversations and videos); experience (playdates, mingling with peers in school, sports, activities); and growth (several years have gone by, he has, of course, grown and developed); my NSLM is no longer the brutally blunt (funny), friendless, constantly stimming, socially inept, train obsessed kid he was in kindergarten (and grade one, and grade two and...) 
        NSLM is able to greet someone, ask how their day was, wait for an answer and respond appropriately.  NSLM has made some new friends in middle school and has graduated from trains to YuGiOh  to video games and internet-with the more recent obsessions being much more age appropriate even if they would be considered excessive in comparison to his peers.
        NSLM has dealt with a bully successfully (albeit painfully), navigated a new and much larger school, learned to be somewhat flexible in his routines and can even cook a few simple meals. 
         And the old stim, particularly the circle pacing, has been replaced with hugging.  It is a side hug, or behind hug, and I am usually the recipient, but I do notice that in the situations where he usually needs to pace that circle he is now hugging me instead.
         I, of course, am loving it! But it leaves me wondering..... What is he doing at school? Cuz you can bet your favorite T Shirt that if he was randomly hugging people at school I would have heard about it!

    All joking aside, I am, like every other parent out there, enjoying the growth, worrying about the hurdles and doing what I can to encourage him to be the best dude he can be.  I thoroughly enjoy his more mature wit, ability to have a tongue in cheek answer for everything (although sometimes I struggle when he borders on insolent), He is an amazing kid!

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