A family's story

Posts tagged ‘Fun’

It’s the Little Things

Some days I wonder if what we’re doing with Tate is really working. I start to feel itchy and overwhelmed by all of his appointments, therapies, IEP goals and pull-outs with specialists. I think of the things he can’t do, and forget to focus on the things he can do. Then, a day like last Thursday afternoon comes along and makes me realize that we’re doing this all for the right reasons…for our Tater Tot. Jake had a swimming lesson. Tate can’t handle the group-class setting, so he isn’t doing lessons right now. I need to arrange for a private lesson for him. It’s on my “To-do” list. I’ll get to it sometime between now and whenever. While Jake does his lessons, Cole happily goes to the childcare room at our Y. He is content to play in that room again, choosing to do arts and crafts with the cute teenage teacher. Tate hangs out with me. Typically, he wants to play on his DS or my phone. On Thursday, he seemed a bit restless. He asked to go for a walk.

As we walked around the Y, we walked past a few of the game tables that they have set up. There is air hockey, ping-pong, and foosball/table soccer. Tate was mesmerized by the air-hockey table on Thursday. He wanted to play on it. At that particular moment, though, there were 2 kids playing already. They were unaware of Tate’s obsession, and they were enjoying their game. I told Tate we’d walk around and check later. Instead of perseverating on that game, he agreed to continue our walk. We walked by the gym, past the bathrooms, and up the stairs. Tate decided that the weight room looked boring, so he asked if we could take the “alligator” back down. He was being so well-behaved that I allowed him to take the elevator, and he got to press the buttons. He was in heaven.

Once we reached the lower level, he ran to the air-hockey table. It was empty. He turned around, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “Can we play this, please?” I heartily agreed to play with him. We went to front desk, got the equipment, and came back. I turned on the table. My little man’s eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. He rubbed his hand, then his arm along the top of the table. “It’s so tickl-y, Mommy!” He put his face down to the table, and put his eyes at that level. He let the slight breeze tousle his hair. He took the little “puck” and shot it across the table and through my goal. “Yay!!! Whoo-hoo!” Oh my gosh…he gets how this is played!!! “Way to go, Tater!!!”

I started the game again. I slid the puck back to him, and he send it sliding back towards my goal. I defended the goal this time.

“Aw, Mom…it didn’t work.”

“I’m not going to make it that easy on you, Tater…”

He looked at me with a glimmer in his eye. He shot the puck back at me, and scored again.

“Yay!!! Whoo-hoo!! I did it!”

“Yes, yes you did.”

Can you guess how long Tate and I played this game? Like, legitimately played? TWENTY MINUTES! We played a back and forth game, with talking and laughing, for twenty minutes. Six months ago, heck, 6 weeks ago, this would not have been possible. I loved every stinking moment of our interaction. We talked about the game. We talked about the vibration from the electricity. We talked about where electricity comes from (according to Tate, it comes from the wall. I suggest you not argue that point with him.).  We sang songs from his favorite shows. We did spelling words. We talked about his brothers. We connected. Let me say that again….we connected.

When it got to be about 5 minutes from the time that we had to be done, I started to give a warning. Tate didn’t want to stop playing. I gave another warning at 2 minutes. Finally, when it was time to wrap it up, I told him that it had been a lot of fun, but that we had to be done because we had to get his brothers. I anticipated a fight. Instead, Tate came over, turned off the table, and helped me carry the equipment back to the front desk.

I can’t guarantee that it will go this smoothly every time, but I am enjoying my memories from that afternoon…of those twenty minutes where he and I truly connected. Those memories will get me through the rough patches…and remind me of why we keep doing what we’re doing.

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The Park

Last night Jake had his first LaCrosse practice of the season. Luckily, it was at the park nearby. During dinner, as I went over our schedule, I mentioned the “p” word. Both Cole and Tate jumped all over it.

I-I-I go to the park with you, Mom.” – Tate

Me, me, me go, too! – Cole

Since Hubz was running late, I decided that it wasn’t a terrible idea. We packed into the van and drove down. I helped Jake get into his pads and helmet and gloves, made sure his mouthguard was in, and sent him on his way. Tate, Cole and I made our way to the play area.

Tate made a bee-line for the swings. His swing–he uses the same one every time– was open and he felt like king of the world. He started pumping…and shrieking. Gleeful shrieks.

Cole bounded up the steps of the slides and climbing apparatuses.  He’s a fast little bugger. He zipped up the stairs and zoomed down the slide. Wheeeeee!

Hubz showed up shortly after we did. We alternated between the 2 younger boys and stealing glimpses of Jake at practice.

At one point Tate and Cole were on the slides/jungle-gym thing, and 2 other young children came over with their mom. Tate smiled and looked so happy–but had no clue what to say to these people who were his peers. Cole said hi, and instructed them that the slide was “mine”. Ahhh, 2.5 year olds.

Tate needed minor prompts to take turns, but so did the other children. He shrieked a little–to calm his social anxiety, I’m sure, but was otherwise appropriate. While he shrieked the second time, I noticed the little girl freeze. I noticed her look. Her mom told her to keep moving up the ladder–to let the little boy have a turn. I contemplated saying something about the shrieking. But didn’t. Not this night.

The little boy and girl ran to the merry-go-round. Cole jumped aboard. They spun and spun. Tate watched from the swings…giddy as can be.

We spent about 15 more minutes at the park. The boys swung a few times and used the bouncy thing-a-ma-jigs. (You know, those metal structures that you can bounce on, and they make you feel self-conscious as an adult because you look like you are, a-hem, riding them, so to speak?!)

Cole announced that he was “cold like ice”. He imitated a good shiver. Tate had begun walking the perimeter of the playground, singing his phonics song about vowels. When he heard Cole, he said his finger was “ouchie”, and when I came to take a look, I held his ice-like digits in my hand.

We left, I put the boys in pj’s, and we turned on Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Soon, our Jake burst into the house, chit-chatting away about how much fun he had at practice. (Yessssss!!)

All in all, it was a great night…hope it’s an omen of good things to come as Spring moves along…

Start ‘Em Early

Yesterday Cole and I started a Mommy and Me sport tot class at a local YMCA. He is the only one of my 3 kids who has shown any true interest in playing sports. He started saying “baseball” before he mastered his brothers’ names!

He needs exposure to kids his own age, especially because he thinks he’s 8. I figured this half hour class would be worth it. Sports + 2 y.o.’s = fun…right?

So we got to the class and prepared for our half hour of sporty fun. During the stretches, which were hilarious, I looked around the group. What a hodge podge: 7 boys and 1 girl, 2 dads, 3 moms, 1 grandma, and 1 grandpa. Of course, the 2 dads in the group were seeing visions of super athletes dance in their heads.

The instructor decided to start with soccer. Most of the children, being 2 and all, were not so interested in kicking, but rather rolling on the floor. A few got the idea, but were quick to change gears. Cole liked laying on the ball. Must have been comfy. I was able to get him to kick the ball by holding his hands, but then he would pick it up and throw it. Whatever…he’s 2.

The one dad was already lamenting that his kid wasn’t FIFA material. He yelled at his 2.5 year old because he “wasn’t trying hard enough”. The dad threatened leaving, no snack, and suspension of driving privileges in 14 years. ( I may be exaggerating a bit…but I am sure the poor kid felt that way.) The skirmish ended with both dad and son pouting on the sideline. C’mon, really?! It’s a half hour class at the Y. Some people take things waaayyyy too seriously. Not everyone is the next David Beckham!

Having a kid with needs puts so much in perspective. I don’t need a star althlete. I am proud that my kid can understand the directions and keeps up appropriately….Cole had fun. He loved running around, playing with kids his age, and fun time with Mommy. We’ll be back for more…and I will probably have more stories to share.

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