Sometimes a text message makes me teary, like when I get a note that Simon just put his own shoes on. He willingly tried and successfully put on his own shoes. I also heard after being picked up from work that he told another young boy that he plays with at Swap that he didn’t want to play with any other kids right now. He came up with and those words to tell another child what he needed. Neither Bob nor Mark, the early intervention teacher, suggested it. It was all his own.
After a bit of whining about traffic in the car, we arrived at Hopworks, busy, full of kids Hopworks, for dinner. I was worried that after doing so well at Swap and coming straight to dinner afterward, he would be angry, aggressive and difficult.
Instead, he sweetly asked for help to play with the train table, knowing he needed a moment of parent presence to get comfortable. I returned to our table after a minute, leaving Simon to put some trains in their places. A few minutes later, a younger boy, maybe late 2/early 3 came over. He reached over and took the trains right out of Simon’s hands. I braced myself, ready to jump up and stop Simon from hitting, throwing, screaming, or whatever he might do after having his trains taken. He didn’t do anything. Simon looked over that boy with distress limply hit one hand on the train table, and sat down, heartbroken. I just sat for a moment, staring, until it clicked that my son didn’t need intervention to stop bad behavior of his own, but he needed to be comforted after having it done to him.
The night went on, Simon ate well, played with toys, and remained patient, happy, and proper. A much younger girl had two cars and Simon wanted one, so he asked her for one. Being 1 ½ or 2, she didn’t respond. Simon came over to me, explained what happened, and said “can you help me think of how to ask her?” Incredible.
You could see over the course of the loud and interactive dinner that he was wearing down, that the noise and activity were getting to him. He didn’t talk quite as much, he got less broad with his play, starting to run the trains in a circle, leaning a bit to watch as the wheels spun down the tracks. His eyes got wider and he started watching things from the corners of his eyes. He was narrowing his focus, doing what he could to tune out the sensory onslaught. He needed to be changed near the end of the evening, and with the monstrously loud dryers in the bathroom, he put his headphones on. He left them on for ten or so minutes after we returned to the dining room. He usually takes them off as we let him, so it was obvious he appreciated the little sensory break.
We ran into an old friend as we were leaving, and it was obvious Simon was done and wouldn’t be able to say hi or even accept a hello from someone else. But that was fine, he had been verbal, controlled his body, his volume and emotion despite loads of kids and some tense moments. Even has yelled and ran away from a greeting, I was immensely proud of the day he had, of the way he coped.