When one door closes . . .

. . . so does another one.

If my son could write, I'm pretty sure there would be a "Keep Out" sign on the door

Philip likes to close doors. And lately, he's developed an independent streak. By that I mean he has grabbed me by the shirt, pushed me out of his room and then slammed the door in my face.

Being shown the door

I experienced this same treatment on National Hugging Day, as pictured in this post.

Sometimes, I get kicked out of the room because I've just told Philip not to climb on something (the changing table, his plastic desk, the empty toy tub, the railing of his bed, etc.). Other times, my guy who is still using diapers needs some privacy to, um, use his diapers.

I try to peek in on Philip to make sure he isn't climbing on the aforementioned pieces of furniture, chewing on something he shouldn't or doing anything else that isn't safe. But I'm also keeping in mind that, in the recommendations that came with Philip's autism diagnosis, we shouldn't allow him extended periods of time playing alone. So, I stubbornly keep opening the door only to have it closed in my face. That's interaction, right?

There are times, however, when Philip makes a game of closing and opening the door. He will crack open the door to see if I'm still in the hallway. He might giggle upon seeing me and then quickly shut the door again.

There are other times when Philip closes doors because he needs to. He'll close the bathroom door and the other bedroom door even if no one else is around.

And it doesn't have to be a door. Today, I took Philip to the park. As soon as he entered the Tot Lot, he closed the gate behind him. Granted, I wasn't actually inside yet, but he knew it should be closed. Later, when it popped back open because the latch has come out of alignment, he ran straight to it. I was afraid that he was making a break for it. Nope. He wanted it to be shut.

Philip's autism means that he both literally and figuratively can shut others out. It's up to me to decide when it is okay for him to have his own space and when I need to intrude.

Fortunately, today at the park, he let me in. Sure, he closed the gate on me, but once we were both inside, he let me play with him. He let me throw leaves up into the wind with him.

He let me push him after I helped him up onto a big-boy swing for the first time.

And he made sure I could see how much fun he was having crawling through the tunnel.

A smile that warms my heart on a chilly day

Originally published on February 18, 2012.


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