This weekend we had some good highs…and some crummy lows. I’d love to sit and talk all about Tate’s awesomeness this weekend…but that would not do our lives justice. I don’t like the lows, but they are a part of life.
On Friday we had a few hours to kill in the morning before therapy. The neighbor called and asked if we were interested in meeting at the spray park. As much as spontaneity throws my kiddo, I decided to go for it because we were going to be playing with water. WATER. And he loves water. And also? It was hot. So I packed up our stuff, got the boys in their “simming soups” and we were off. Tate groused a bit on the way there, but as we pulled up and he saw the gloriousness that was the spray park, I had to restrain him from bolting out of the moving car.
We eventually made our way to the splash zone. Cole was off and making friends immediately. He someone charmed a little girl out of her bucket and was splashing gleefully in the fountains. Tate made a beeline for a water squirter. I was a little nervous, as he had to exert quite a bit of force to push it down and then had to steer it to spray water. He did figure it out. Then some older kids started to spray him. Initially, I think they wanted to be squirted back. As they realized that Tate wasn’t going to play interactively, they tried to boot him from the sprayer. Um, not sure about other kiddoes, but mine? Never, ever try to pry his hands off of something that he has deemed his…especially if it’s one of his stims. Oh, goodness. He shoved a kid who outweighed him by a good 15 pounds. “NOOOO! I am playing!!!” Well, they left him alone. There was a little girl who started to bother Tate after that. She was more his size, and was squirting him as if he were a rat she was trying to drown. I stepped up and showed him how to squirt her back. She got upset and squirted me…in the face. There was a part of me that wanted to take the squirter and slam her in the face, but the adult in me won and I just walked away. When she didn’t get the glory of ruffling my feathers, she left Tate alone. Win-win!
We spent an hour and a half at the spray park. The boys had a great amount of fun, and we managed to get our stuff together and head out of there without any tantrums, meltdowns, or struggles. Both Cole and Tate were sufficiently wet, happy, and ready to go.
My neighbor watched Cole for me while I took Tate to therapy. Both of Tate’s therapists raved about how focused he was, and how well he did on Friday. I was so proud of him. HE was so proud of himself. That made my heart so happy. Unfortunately, as we left, the skies opened up and we got some rain…and a little thunder. Tate does not like thunder. I got him to talk…and we talked, and talked. He heard a loud clap of thunder. “Uh-oh, Mommy…funder. Watch out, it’s gonna get wet.” I asked why it was going to get wet. “Funder is in a storm. And a storm has rain.” Oh.Em.Gee….he reasoned that one out all on his own!! Whoo-hoo!!
Once we were home, we sprinted to the house, and got a bit drenched. He stripped down to his birthday suit, and paraded around the house that way until I could coax him into some dry clothes. Thankfully he was willing to put some on, because I was watching the neighbor’s 3 kids for a few hours. Of course, that’s when things fell apart. My neighbor’s kids were great…all 3 were quite well behaved. My 3 rapscallions? Not so much.
Jake was tired and wanted to vegetate after his day of camp. He didn’t want to talk to anyone, play with anyone, or help anyone. At one point, Jake shut the basement door on the rest of us. I was NOT happy. I pulled his stubborn little butt downstairs and reminded him that he’d have plenty of tv time later. He grudgingly played with the others. Tate and Cole were in each other’s business like you wouldn’t believe. Cole was instigating at every chance. He had not napped that day..and it was quite obvious. Tate, overwhelmed by the noise of 3 extra children in the house, as well as Cole’s antics, started slapping everyone who was in his path. He was having a sensory meltdown, and tried to use the trampoline, but the youngest neighbor was on it. When I tried to navigate it to Tate’s use, the oldest sibling was in his grill…not understanding that Tate needed to bounce. *sigh*
Tate started yelling at everyone. He started shoving. He started whining and wouldn’t listen to anyone…not even me. After a little coaxing, I eventually got Tate calmed down with an episode of Team Umizoomi. The neighbor children played with the legos. Jake laid on the couch reading a book. Cole played with the neighbors. We settled down, and my nerves weren’t as frayed.
On Saturday we had a party for Cole…a little belated, but it’s never too late to celebrate. We got a cake, got some good barbeque food, and cleaned up the house. Tate was in a great mood. He asked to go with Hubz to the bakery. He was great when there, and even said the cake was “cool”. When they got home, he told Hubz about birthdays. He knew that Cole would blow out a candle. He seemed ok with everything. We prepped him for the people coming, the activities we’d be doing, and the food we’d be eating.
Hubz’s parents came and dropped off their side dish, and they took Jake to a movie with the boys’ cousins. Tate was sad that he couldn’t go. He doesn’t like movies, but he felt left out. He played with the storm door in the front until I came back from the grocery store. His emotions took over, and he smacked Cole in the face when Cole was being a little annoying. I asked Tate if he wanted to watch a show. He said yes. He alternated between tv, playing with the kitchen sink, and playing Super Mario Bros. on his DS.
Tate shied away as guests arrived. He hid in the family room, watching tv. Hubz’s parents, Jake, and our niece and nephew were the first to arrive. They were chatty and shared loads of the movie with us–very excitedly. For Hubz and me, it was great to hear how well that Jake did while in the theater. For Tate, it was a sensory overload. Shortly, our kitchen filled up with relatives…and noise. The combination of loud, exuberant voices, squeals of delight, boisterous laughter, and multiple bodies was too much for Tate. He started to shout at us to turn off the fan. When he does this, he tends to imitate someone (looks innocently around) when she gets annoyed and is demanding no guff. Turn that fan off–NOW–Mommy!!!
We turned off the fan, and that seemed to help him settle down a bit. He washed his hands and moved outside to play in the water with the other kids. He had a nibble here and there for our lupper (Lunch/supper). The next hour went smoothly..until it was time for cake.
Every time we celebrate a birthday it is a crap shoot. Tate has run the gambit of reactions…from crying inconsolably in another room, to screaming in a meltdown on the floor, to hitting whoever is in his way, to smiling and rocking along as others sing. We never know what we’re going to get. Considering how over-stimulated he was that afternoon, we knew he’d react somewhat negatively. At first, he was ok. He swiped at the cake with a finger to nab a dab of frosting. “Mmm..delicious!” But as we started to sing “Happy Birthday” to Cole, things turned. Tate couldn’t handle it. He blew out Cole’s candle. Cole didn’t do well with that, and shouted. I hurriedly tried to relight the candle…and Tate was done. He shouted at others during the whole cake distribution. He demanded a piece, then shoved it aside. We got the cake doled out and I took one bite, and that is when Hubz and I exchanged “the look”. The look that says “help…this is almost to the point of no return.” I set my cake down, and pulled Tate into the living room.
We squeezed into the oversized chair together. He squirmed to get out, tears rolling down his little cheeks. His lip protruded in a big pout. I held firm, and pulled him beside me. I started to feel his body relax. “Mommy…I need a hug.” I hugged that little man with all of my might. “Again…please” I hugged him again. “Thank you.” We sat, and he played with the Xoom tablet. He proudly showed me how he could find Doc McStuffins on Youtube. We listened to a few songs.
Hubz came in to ask if we wanted to watch the gift opening. Tate shooed him away. We continued to play with the Xoom. We watched Doc, and some Mario. As we did this, Tate came back from the point of no return. Eventually, he joined the rest of the family–politely asking my sister-in-law if he could have her seat (it’s his chair, after all). She obliged and life went on.
Tate really struggled to sleep that night. We’re sure it was his senses still in the “fight” response to the activities of the day. He couldn’t take flight, so his body was fighting it all. It pains me to watch him struggle with something that seems as simple as a family birthday gathering. However, it’s not simple. Not an easy activity for my Tater Tot. And yet, we made it through. He gave us his way of communication. He was able to tell us when things were too much…and he knew ways to help calm himself down. So yes, we had some highs…and some lows….that’s just the way we roll.