Sunday, May 28, 2006

Things I've noticed...

Happy Memorial Day holiday to those in the US :) C's parents are visiting from Pittsburgh for the weekend, so B has all of his grandparents in town for the weekend & we'll be together tomorrow for an indoor picnic. B had Friday off school & I really noticed a difference in his ability to cope with the change in routine, compared with the last school break in April... For one thing, B is doing a lot more on his own- creating his own Pokemon cards & working on a set of lego vehicles/bases/creatures to go with a story he's been writing, so he doesn't need my presence nearly as much. This means that when we do things together I'm not burnt out, so we're both having a lot more fun! We had quite a few chores to do on Friday: swiffing & spot-washing the kitchen floor, wrapping presents for a birthday party on Saturday, ironing his HP robes for the same birthday party, baking bread, making pizza dough... the list just went on & on. B cheerfully assisted me with some of these tasks, so we had time to bake shortbread as well & that was a real treat. The behaviour changes that are allowing B more "free" time (free of overwhelming OVD thoughts) seem to be developmental, since he's not necessarily having less trouble with the "thoughts" but is able to verbalise them to us so we can then deal with them more quickly & permanently. He's better able to tell us before the thought becomes overwhelming, too, so we can discuss it casually & find out what B thinks would help to get rid of it. Lately his hands & feet have been giving him "thoughts" so I try desensitisation- holding the offending appendage & telling B how wonderful it is. He'll often get ticcing at first but then it eases-up... or, if not, I bring Rufus into the conversation to distract B with something funny. So far this approach is working.

Another thing I noticed was how well B tolerated the big birthday party on Saturday. It was mostly kids from school, which helped, but it was a combined party for 2 brothers, so there were probably 30 kids there & the attatched adults, too. It was semi-organised chaos with lots of food & drinks laying around, which usually spells trouble for B, since he's not supposed to have too many fatty foods like potato chips, due to his medications. It was a Harry Potter-themed party, with the activities being the TriWizard Tournament from "Goblet of Fire", so B wanted to wear his nearly-outgrown robes that I made for his Halloween costume 4 years ago... C & I have Dumbledore & McGonagall costumes, so we wore those too (just to get into the spirit of things :). When we first arrived, B noticed that he was the only kid wearing robes & wanted to take his off, but I was not in the tmood to carry his robe around all day, on top of wearing my own, & so he left it on, which was good because the birthday boys soon appeared with theirs on, too :) The first of the tournament events was catching a bouncing plastic egg on a trampoline, which B wisely opted-out of (he did bounce on the trampoline later, with dad spotting him). The second was racing through a big, inflatable undersea-themed bouncy thing (like you see at carnivals), but B only went through once because it was too smelly inside. After pizza, etc, & birthday cake, the last event was a game of freeze-tag with goodies handed out to all at the end, which B really enjoyed (he loves playing tag). The whole party was noisy mayhem & I think most of the kids had fun... B does not like noise or mayhem, & did an awful lot of unsupervised eating (sigh- although he did check in with me on drinks because he worries about caffeine... ), but he did tolerate it all very well. The older birthday boy is someone B considers a friend & came to B's much smaller birthday party (in other words, this kid was enough of a friend to make the cut :), so I think B was aware that his presence at the party was important to his friend. It wasn't until we were driving home & B was processing the noise & confusion & tiredness that he started complaining that he didn't really like being there. I was really impressed, in light of all the parties B has spent cocooned in dad's sweater (while dad was wearing it) because of the noise. It feels to me as though B is beginning to be able to tolerate social situations much better in general. This feels positive to me because B likes people & likes meeting new people, but up until now has had trouble tolerating situations where he might meet new people. Plus there's the birthday socialisation that is part of kid-life. I have never made him go to any party he's not enthusiastic about, even though he's missing-out on the bonding that kids do when they share experiences, so it feels positive to me that his experiences of these mixed-bag events are less negative than in the past (he was definitely looking forward to this party). It also underscores for me how important it is to make his own birthday party a smaller, less chaotic (we try... :), & more focused event (see early April for this year's party report :). Then B really does have fun & can share his idea of fun with his friends.

B did pretty well last evening, post-party, after having a bath right when we got home & a late-ish supper with his visiting grandparents (who came to the party as well). Unfortunately, we were up with him at 2:30-ish because B was sick. The good news- he hit the trash can instead of the bed! Another sign of maturity for sure... He's better today, with no lingering ill-effects & will probably go sailing with dad & granddad later this afternoon. :)


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