Saturday, December 22, 2007

Party party!

I got the chance to go to Joey's holiday party at school, and took it. I also took Andy. It was a blast. A little surreal in some ways, but maybe that's because they are growing up so fast, and every moment is so precious to me.

The party actually had two parts- a sing-a-long, where the kids sat together and sang holiday songs, and then a classroom party. The classroom party was organized to keep the kids engaged for the hour by dividing the group into four stations, and having them make somethign at each station, then at the end, Mrs. S turned on the Nutcracker and they ate their snack. Really well done, I was really impressed.

Anyway, most of the parents sat in the gym in these rows of chairs behind the kids, who sat on the floor in two big blocks. Andy and Joey insisted I sit with them, and since I wanted Andy to participate and feel a part, I sat my butt on the floor with them. It was an excellent choice. Those other parents? They missed the best part of the fun! To sit in that sea of children, with my two little guys, and sing and laugh and cheer together... yes indeed. I wouldn't miss that for the world. One of the parents afterword told me I was having way too good of a time. My response? No such thing as "too good of a time" with my boys!

Some of the second graders sang special songs and even got up in front of the school and performed. Joey was beside himself at that point, wanting to get up with them and sing and play instruments and dance. He did work himself up to the point Mrs. Macy had to take him for a little walk and a drink of water to calm down. He SO wanted to participate! Don't worry, little Buddy... you'll be up there so very, very soon. The time will just fly. You'll see.

Then the party! The inclusion class joined them, so it was a pretty good group- about two dozen kids, making crafts and icing cookies and eating those cookies and other goodies and having a jolly good time. They noticed I was taking pictures, and I have some hilarious ones of other kids in the class. Andy and one of Joey's classmates got along famously, buddy-buddy for the whole party. A good time had by all.

Joey and one other little girl didn't get excited about the picture-taking, but that's OK. Andy blended right in, even with the noise and the chatter, so that was fanstastic. I think that child is school-bound at last. Growing up. Thats my boy.

But I did notice that Joey was a bit isolated. Whereas Andy picked up friends and other kids were hugging and chattering and playing together, Joey did his thing, on his own, then sat a little apart to eat. There was another little girl doing this as well, from the inclusion class. It was so marked, I figure she's probably an aspie or "HF" autie; they kind of shared the same corner, even though they didn't speak to each other. I worry about the communication difficulties Joey has, which seem to isolate him in groups. He tries so hard to be a part, to participate, to play with the kids; but usually ends up slightly apart, alone. I'll have to stay aware; is this his way of being comfortable, or will this eventually depress him? Stay tuned.

He is his mother's child, though. He wore his reindeer antler hat almost to the end, long after everybody else's was cast aside. Silly hats. That's my boy!


Anne Corwin said...

I tend to sit somewhat apart in groups, too -- remember that when you're in a big room filled with people, there's a ton of ambient activity going on all around, not just the interactions you might be directly trying to process. I can't speak for Joey obviously, but for me, sitting somewhat apart is a way to participate in a group situation without getting too overwhelmed.

I never found it personally depressing; the only thing that tended to bother me was when people would come up and nag me constantly to "join in more" and would ask me "what's wrong?" Being able to engage with the "action" on my own terms has always been an essential component of being able to deal with activities involving groups.

Stimey said...

Oh, that photo! There is a tremendous amount of joy there. It sounds like a great party. I'm thrilled for you.

I do understand about the sadness watching one child stay back. My Jack is always that kid. I was that kid. I think it's harder to be a parent to that kid than it is to be the kid.

Casdok said...

Good for you! I would have sat with the children as well.
Sounds like great fun!

Jen P said...

Great photo! I love pictures like that that show genuine happiness!

Maddy said...

How fun. I'm so glad to hear that I'm not the the only one with a numb bum from the linoleum in with the masses of the smalls!
Best wishes

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