Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 6th has arrived!

It's been a crazy few weeks, but my reward has come at last. All 3 kids are currently at school and/or camp. That means time to meet my friend for coffee. That means spending quality time at home with the dog. That means taking time to sit here comfortably, eating my lunch and writing a blog post. That also means time to clean this house (but we're not doing that today -- that'll wait for tomorrow).

Simon's bus arrived around 8:30 this morning. He wasn't sure about getting on board today, but once he recognized his fellow bus rider (same child from the school year) he seemed to recognize that everything was all right and this was just back to normal. I'll find out later today how his return to school went. And, in some ways more importantly, I'll get to see how he and Rachel are doing at camp now that they are finally together (as I still believe they should be, if I felt there was a single program that was right for BOTH of them). But after dropping Daniel off at his "Multi-Sports Camp", I SO WANTED to perform the Dance of Freedom. I'm sure I was wearing the goofiest look on my face, and I didn't care to see who stared.

The last few weeks have been, as I said earlier, a bit crazy. Daniel had me to himself for a week-and-a-half, and we did a lot of fun things. Rachel and Simon, together, had me to themselves (without Daniel, I mean) for a week. Then last week, Simon had me all to himself when Rachel began ESY. There was so much back-and-forth. The poor dog was so ignored because Rachel is still slightly afraid of her. And, to make matters harder, Kevin was working longer hours than normal (and dealing the increased DC-area traffic which is the consequence of working late) because he was faced with a deadline.

But last week, Simon was able to have something that NEVER happens around here -- total Mommy Time. We had different activities planned for every morning, some of which were just necessary, and others were just fun. He got his haircut (necessary -- definitely NOT fun). We went to playgrounds (indoors and outdoors). We went to a MOMs Club activity (party). And then, what was intended to be the best part of the week, we went to the Splash Park.

I want to talk a bit about those last 2 things. First, the "Canada Day Party". The co-president of our local MOMs Club (which I am also on the board) hosted this event in her home. She has a 4 year old and (I believe) an 18 month old, so they have many toys in their home. But we had never been there before. As we were walking to the front door (parked down the street), Simon started off excited. Then he started to get agitated. He started saying "Oh, No!!". I decided to turn this into a game and said "Oh, Yes!". We also kept changing how we were walking -- straight walking, marching, running, stopping, etc, which kept him occupied and helped him to forget we were going someplace new. But, by the time we were approaching the front door, apprehension was there, full force. We rang the bell, but Simon was trying to pull me away and back towards the car and starting to scream. Our host opened the door, and I hope didn't think too badly of us. After stepping inside and realizing it wasn't going to end quite so soon, I tried something new. I went downstairs to their play room (which was relatively free of other kids at that moment). We found a couple of toys, including one that allowed Simon to "stim" on lights and noise. Simon was immediately drawn to this. He stopped screaming, so I let him play. Over the next 20 minutes, I was able to pull him away from that toy and get him slightly more engaged -- he was able to share with the other kids a bit (with a lot of coaxing) and was able to go from toy to toy without too much difficulty. He continued to "stim" most of the time we were there, but at least he would change objects from time to time. And he was able to cope with being in an unfamiliar setting. This may not have been the wisest course of action, but it did work.

Now, the Splash Park. In my mind, this was going to be the best part of the week. We were going first thing in the morning, so it would be as empty as possible. Simon LOVES his bath and he loves to splash and be splashed. So, what about the Splash Park is there NOT for him to like? Well, I discovered what there was to NOT like about the Splash Park as soon as I opened the car door. THE NOISE. All of those fountains going off are NOT exactly what I would call quiet. The screaming started as soon as I opened the car door. Hands over the ears. Howls. Kicks. Limp body while I was trying to pull him out of the car and get him to stand. I brought him into the bathroom to put on his swimsuit. That muted the noise a bit and he calmed down. Then we stepped out of the bathroom. Screams returned. I put down our stuff and brought him over to one of the calmer fountains -- just to get him wet. I hoped that when he realized it was lots of fun and it's just like his bath, he'd calm down. Maybe if he hadn't already gotten so hysterical, it would have worked. But, probably not. He was not going to enjoy this activity. Period. He had made up his mind. Drawn the line in the sand. After about 10 minutes, I changed him back into his clothes and back into the car we went. As soon as he realized he could no longer hear the noise of the fountain, he truly began to calm down. So, what I had hoped would be the most fun activity of the week was, by far, the biggest disaster. But there doesn't seem to be any negative lingering effects.

But now it's just me and the dog. Time to catch my breath and get things done. Time to read the book that I promised to review. Time to get this house under control. Time to take a shower when I WANT to rather than when I can squeeze it in. In other words, time to go back to being human.

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