Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's Worth It

I have been so lax in my blogging!! Summers tend to whirl by so quickly I find myself in September wondering what just happened. We have been spending our days with friends, at the local pool, traveling for weekends throughout the gorgeous state of Michigan and of course with Zachary's baseball. Todd was the coach this year and that has also kept us busy. Daniel is pretty good about the games, but this season we finally figured out that it is helpful for him to bring his Ipod along to the games. That way he can listen to music that he loves and not be scared by sudden cheers from the "crowd" of people. It works. The down side is it keeps him more separated from people who he normally would engage with, but at least it keeps him from getting angry.

We had our end of the year baseball party at our home on Monday. 10 families RSVP'd "yes" to it, which brought the total number of people to 40 for hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. A number that I initially found a bit staggering! The good news for us was we had a game at 7:00 so everyone had a time they HAD to leave by. We prepped Daniel for this many times. I knew it would be crazy here, but he had his room to escape to if he needed to, which he did. He of course came out for FOOD, because he is 13 (14 this fall) and if you all have a teenage boy you know that there is no such thing as "enough" food. He is always hungry. Always. He has grown 4 inches this year and is showing no sign of stopping. The Keens (shoes) I bought him at the beginning of summer are size 13 men's. While these are expensive, I decided they served multiple functions, they can go in the water, so they are good for being on a boat, on the beach, riding a bike or walking around. They have good support, which he needs too.

Back to the party. . . at the end of the party, it got a bit hectic as everyone was trying to round up their children to get to the game. Daniel, of course, was in the middle of it all and watching it and feeling a bit overwhelmed. I wish he could know to pull himself out of these situations, but he can't quiet do it. I could see him escalating but I was also trying to be the hostess and say thanks for coming to everyone and see you at the game and keep my own ball player moving. One of the moms was being particularly "challenged" by her son, who was not listening and trying to shove as much sugar into his body as humanly possible before leaving!! :) She was talking to him in the stern mom voice, not yelling, and he was not responding. Daniel was watching all of this with the utmost fascination. She finally said to her son "look at my face and my look, what do you think it means?" (I paraphrase, but it's close) and DANIEL said, "she's feeling embarrassed of how he's acting". I completely (inappropriately) laughed out loud. But he was right! She was angry with him, but she was probably mostly embarrassed that he was not listening to her AT ALL. I looked at my friend Jodi (who is a follower here) and said "WOW, that was a major social cue he just picked up on!" I was totally impressed.

I had to apologize to the other mom for laughing, but if DANIEL can pick up exactly what she was thinking and trying to communicate, I think it's fair to say that her child knew exactly also, but was trying to ignore her. I see over and over that Daniel is very intrigued when children are ignoring their parents and it makes me cringe a bit, because I think that possibly he doesn't know that it's possible to just say no! I really don't want that to start!! I have heard him say "did he just say "no" to her?"..... to which I respond "he did, but that is not ok to do to his mother!!" I have to keep my creds as a parent!

Daniel's social group has worked a lot on facial expressions. They look at pictures of situations and interpret how a person is feeling. I guess, it is paying off. Which is again, just in time. Whenever I start thinking that I'm going to take a break from this therapy something generalizes to our life like the one that took place in my kitchen and I realize, once again, it's worth it.


Jodi said...

Always amazed that you are able to see the silver lining in most situations - which is why you are able to keep on keepin' on. Because you're right.....IT'S WORTH IT! Daniel handled the ENTIRE situation very well given all the stressors. Even I was proud of him!

Michelle S. said...

Jodi, you are correct, that is a survival mechanism that has built up over time. Otherwise I'd be in the fetal position in the corner a lot. (not that it still doesn't happen occasionally) as you know he was stressed later and some of that was due to things that happened between this and the baseball game. But he did bounce back remarkably well!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is awesome that he picked up on everything that was going on so well... very perceptive! Go Daniel!

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Yay, Daniel! The social skills classes are so important - they really made a huge difference for Nigel, and I'm so glad to read that Daniel has reaped the same benefits.