Sometimes we parents can get bogged down in the notion that the teaching of our children must be done by professionals. Parents of children with special needs are particularly vulnerable to this idea since children with special needs often have to learn and develop quite differently than children with typical needs. This series centers around the idea that learning can and does occur most effectively through everyday life experiences at home and out in the community--for children with both typical and special needs.
You might remember this and this and this
from last year's Beeping Easter Egg Hunt. I was NOT making the same mistakes this year! If he did not want to hunt Easter eggs or pose with his basket, that was fine. We would just enjoy being outside and he could run along the yellow tape to his heart's content.
*As a quick aside, anybody notice that my kiddo has had another growth spurt?*
So that's it...I did everything right and we had an awesome time with no issues at all that day! Yeah, right!
Not long after he began running around in the grass, Jack started asking me to carry him. I tried and tried and tried to tell him to walk but oh no he wanted Mama to carry him. I thought maybe it was because the sun was too bright and I forgot his sunglass clip ons. When the sun is very very bright he tends to get clingy or he gets rooted to one spot or the shade. I relented and carried him around a bit until we happened upon the trampoline and he declared, "Shoes off, jump, jump!" as he frantically pushed at his sandals.
He slowly worked his way up to a standing position on the trampoline as I snapped pictures
That's when I noticed how big (relative to how small they were) his feet are getting. I checked out his toes and sure enough his little piggies were rubbing against the inside of those sandals. No wonder he did not want to walk!
A fairly short time after we started jumping (relative to the amount of time we usually spend jumping on a trampoline every time we get a chance), someone announced that the tactile puppet show was about to start. I'd had my heart set on Jack experiencing the tactile puppet show. I gave him the 10 minute countdown and we went inside where he immediately began fussing about going back outside.
It was a bit loud with the live music and people just coming in for the puppet show. I told Jack that this was new and fun. I told him that I wanted him to give it a try before he decided that he did not like it.
A musician brought a drum over and Jack began banging away in about 15 seconds of pure joy but then it clicked...I guess he thought I tricked him. He began getting all upset again and the musician just did not know what to do. Frankly, I didn't either. I was playing all this by ear. I told the musician to go ahead and move on to the next participant since I did not think Jack wanted to play anymore. I tried for another
eternity five minutes or so to get Jack to calm down and feel the puppets but he just wasn't having it.
A sympathetic mom offered that her son also gets overwhelmed in large noisy crowds like that one. While I thought that some of it was tantrum (about wanting to be outside), I had to agree that the environment was a bit overwhelming. I took him just outside the door in hopes that he would calm down enough to return. He did calm down but he wasn't going back and that's when we headed for the swings and he was happy again.
So where's the therapy in all this? Well there was the new experience, the jumping, the running around, the listening to instructions (sort of) but mostly there's the review....overall Jack had fun. I know the parts that he enjoyed the best. In review, I can tell you where I went wrong--too small shoes, no sunglass clip ons, not really giving him clear information about the puppet show and how there would be lots of noise and lots of people. Each time, we try something new it prepares us both for the next time we have that experience and if I take the time to review what went right and what went wrong, then I can do a better job the next time. I'll never anticipate everything. I'll never get everything right. It's part of the parenting journey. And now I'm a little further along on the journey. Each experience better prepares for the next especially if we take the time to think over just what happened.
Next time an event doesn't go like you planned, I encourage you to take a little time and review.
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