Replays

Three days ago, I watched Robert running down the stairs. He slipped on one step, lost balance, regained it without falling, and ended up standing two steps below. Instead of continuing his journey to the basement, he turned back, climbed two steps up, and reenacted his misstep.

Well, not exactly.

He bent his left knee and with the right foot he gently traced his previous movement  leading the foot through the edges of the two steps. He did not risk another slip up.  He had full control of the movements.

It was not the first time, I watched Robert replaying such bumps.  Whenever I observed Robert tripping  over something, I also noticed him repeating the incident in a well controlled manner.

I remember that long ago, when we once bumped our heads as we were reading a book, Robert gently placed his forehead on mine as if he were saying, “This is what has just happened.”  I understood the communicative intent then, because he was talking to me.

On the other hand, when I observed Robert replaying his missteps, I considered that behavior to be a form of magical thinking.  Since nobody was around (I was either behind, or in another room.), Robert was not talking to anybody.

Because I also witnessed Robert repeating the faulty step three times (Slipping on dry leaves in Moose Hill Park .), I suspected that this behavior was a manifestation of obsessive compulsive disorder.

This time, three days ago, I was struck by a realization  that the reenactment was a  way Robert was  telling  himself what  had just happened.  He was communicating with  himself… without words. The fact that in the park, he replayed his slip-up three times, probably meant, that he couldn’t get it right on the first two trials.  He wanted to be exact and to understand the incident correctly.

I have been trying to understand the  ramifications of Robert’s reenactments for the three days now. I am concerned.

The fact that Robert communicates even with himself without words, is not to be taken lightly.

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