I remember well when our children were very young, and Aaron ran into the kitchen one day in our German military quarters. He was probably in the first grade.
“Mom! Is ‘sex’ a bad word?” he blurted out.
“No,” I calmly replied, though I think my heart was beating faster. “Sex is not a bad word.”
With that, he turned and ran into the living room, where Andrea was playing. “Andrea!” he again blurted. “Mom said that ‘sexy’ is not a bad word!”
Wait. How did ‘sex’ become ‘sexy?’ I just chuckled, knowing that if I made a big deal of that word then they would continue to inquire into things they didn’t need to inquire about just yet.
Today, being a full grown man, Aaron still has that first grade mentality about that word. THAT word! I know that he’s seen more and heard more that perhaps has shed a little light on it, but he doesn’t seem to have what you and I would deem to be a “normal” insight into what makes the world go round…..birds and bees…..and all that “stuff.”
Remember the nightie story? How Aaron was in the crowded aisle at Wal-Mart and held up a very revealing Valentine tiger print nightie? I was walking ahead of him and heard him yell, “MOM!!” When I turned around, there he stood, holding up that tiny tiger print thing. Then he loudly said, “Mom!! You need this!!!”
The ground didn’t open up and swallow me like I instantly hoped it would, so I am here to explain once again that Aaron didn’t have one single clue that this nightie was supposed to be sexy. He liked it because he had never seen a tiger print nightie like that before. Tiger print!! How cool was that?! And for Aaron, it ended there. Just like I wished, for a few humiliating seconds, that my life had ended there.
For a long time now, whenever Aaron sees hugs on television, he lowers his voice and says, “Sexyyyyyy.” He draws out that word because he knows that hugs have something to do with love. And that love is “sexyyyy.” It alarmed me a little at first, but I just ignore it and don’t react. If Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune puts his arm around a contestant, Aaron says, “Sexyyyy.” If a brother and sister hug, Aaron says, “Sexyyyy.” If a man hugs his grandmother, Aaron says, “Sexyyyy.”
And on occasion, when Gary and I hug, Aaron will say, “Sexyyyy.” But he doesn’t say it often about us. I wonder what that means? When parents hug, it’s yucky? J
There is a girl in Aaron’s day group that Aaron knew years ago. Years ago, they didn’t get along. And today, they still don’t get along. Actually, they tease each other terribly and then things can get carried away…..which often means that Aaron will chase her around the room or slap her arm or something else that gets him, or both of them, in trouble.
Apparently the other day Aaron decided that it would be funny to chase her around the room, but this time as he ran after her he was loudly saying, “Sexyyyy! Sexyyyy!” I’m sure this got quite a reaction, which made Aaron enjoy it all the more before staff intervened.
Now if I had a special needs daughter, and a guy that has been a huge irritant in the past was running after her yelling “Sexyyyy!”….. then I would be alarmed. And her dad was. He came up to the day group the next morning to talk to the staff about Aaron. I’m so thankful that the staff understands Aaron and understands this girl and understood the whole situation. I know how it looks to this dad, though.
Gary and I sure wish Aaron understood all this. We tried to explain it to him as best we could, but he still thought it was harmless fun, just like a first grader would think.
Last night I was watching Dolly Parton’s movie of her childhood, The Coat of Many Colors. Aaron came in the family room while it was on, watched a couple seconds of it, and hurried on his way. I asked him if he wanted to watch it and he emphatically said no. It was too mushy and real for him, and I knew it.
“Mom?” Aaron asked this morning. “Would you watch The Rig?”
I told him no, and he laughed. He knows I don’t like the creature on the oil rig. So I turned the tables.
“Aaron?” I asked. “Would you watch Coat of Many Colors?”
“NO!!” he replied.
“Why not?” I asked.
“It’s sexy!” he answered.
This surprised me a little, so I asked him what he meant when he said it’s sexy.
“It’s too full of love!!” he explained.
This explained so much about how Aaron perceives THAT word…..sexy. And how he reacts to all that love being openly shown with hugs and smiles and laughter and pure joy. You and I are warmed by those displays of love, whereas Aaron is very uncomfortable with strong emotion.
But he thinks it’s funny to say it’s all “sexyyyy.” That somewhat questionable word makes talking about awkward displays of normal love more tolerable to Aaron. He has no idea how it comes across to others. I wish the worried dad understood this.
I really wish all those people in the Wal-Mart aisle had understood it, too!