Highs and Lows

It has been such an interesting week.  Interesting as in, “may you live in interesting times.”  I wrote that things were going surprisingly well at school.  That is still true, but I didn’t have all the information at the time.  It seems two days before I posted, G had one of his typical but minor conflicts on the playground.  But this time, it was a recess where the two teachers monitoring the playground were not familiar with G and handled the situation in a way that set G off.  The teacher had to bring G to the principals office where fortunately, the principal and secretary are in the loop when it comes to handling G, and his teacher happened to be in the office at the time.  Between the 3 of them they got control of the situation and got G calmed down.

It isn’t great that G had such a meltdown at school, but I’m amazed at how well it was handled.  The school seems to be looking at this as a breakdown in their procedures.  I didn’t get pulled into the office and taken to task the way I was all last year at preschool.  They’ve sent out guidelines to all the kindergarten and first grade teachers for when it is their turn to be the playground monitor.  Nobody got in trouble and I haven’t been made to feel a failure as a mother.  (yet – heh heh)  There was an open house shortly after I learned of this incident and when I discussed it with his teacher she said it was one of those things and talked instead of how well G is doing in her class. 

Also this week was a big new experience for G.  I was approached at that open house by the mother of a classmate who said her son has been asking to play with G on the weekend and asked to set up a playdate.  We discussed dates and times, and it wasn’t until the end of the conversation that I realized she intended to pick G up and take him to her house to play instead of meeting at a park.  It was our first unattended playdate.  I was sooooo nervous, I almost backed out a dozen times.  But we’re still the new kids in this town and G needs to make friends.  I don’t want to do anything that will prevent him from developing friendships.  So I emailed the autism specialist and got her advice.  We prepped him for going without us, wrote social stories on how to behave and what to expect, and kept the amount of time short.  The other mother was planning to have him all afternoon but I kept it to 90 minutes.  I was going to say 60 minutes, but they were eating lunch too so I extended the time.

I am really proud of myself for letting this happen.  I think this kind of playdate is probably a stretch for any 5 year old, but particularly for G.  It went against every instinct, I want to shelter and protect G and be there to help him behave.  And the playdate was a spectacular success.  The mom said they laughed and told silly jokes in the car.  The boy’s older sister and her playdate were trying to act like superior 2nd graders and tried to stump the boys with math and spelling that they are learning in school – and G answered every question right.  The girls asked a multiplication question, that G answered correctly and they tried to tell him was wrong.  When the mother corrected the girls, the boy started bragging that his friend was the smartest.

After the playdate, G seemed spun up so we decided to go for a walk as a way to help him settle.  It didn’t work.  We were about 5 minutes from the house when G started trying to over-control where we were walking.  He didn’t want to go here, he wanted to go there.  He wanted to be the leader and was mad at the dogs for getting in front of him.  Small stuff like that – and then he exploded.  It was really physical and really bad and really shocked me.  I haven’t seen a meltdown this bad in ….  well, ever.  Dh and I each have a handful of bruises from when we would try to keep G from running away from us. 

I’m trying to remain positive.  G is going through many changes right now and doing a good job of assimilating everything.  It is a lot for him to take in all at once so there are going to be tough moments.  I am grateful that the school seems able to handle him and very, very grateful that he saved his most recent meltdown for when he got home instead of at his friends house.  I am so proud of him for making a good friend who wants to play with him outside of school and for being able to go on his own like a big boy.  And yet, I’m sad that this is so hard for him.  I want to make it all better for him.  It’s not that I want him to be different, I just get sad when I see how hard he has to struggle.

Published in: on September 15, 2008 at 6:18 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Proud of your courage to let go for the playdate!
    Sorry to hear of G’s meltdown. We went through a lot of those previoulsy, and although they’re not as frequent now, they still pack a mean punch- literally.

  2. Yes, I’m glad the playdate went well! Looking back, it seems Evan had meltdowns after these types of activities as well…it would take everything he had to hold it together at the playdate, family gathering, etc, that when it was over he just fell apart. I know it’s hard, hang in there!

  3. I’m so glad the playdate went well! Can I ask, did the mother know your son has autism? I’ve struggled with this. My son is invited to just a few houses, and I mean few as in two — people are judgmental, it’s heartbreaking. It’s so great to read blogs like yours! Encouraging. Thank you!

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