Sunday, July 23, 2006

Slumber Party Milestone

Friday was my birthday - yes, I'm a ripe ole age of 41. Tradition calls for cake and dinner for our little family of 4 at home. We even have a hat and a plate that goes right with it. Tradition had to be postponed for a special invitation that Leo received - a slumber party.

Leo's friend Peter got to invite 3 friends over for a sleep-over after Peter's 7th birthday party. Leo was so touched that he was one of the 3. One parent declined , so it was just Leo, Peter and one other boy Aaron. The threesome went to bed a 10:30pm and woke up at 6am. He told Peter's mom - "I'm having so much fun. I'm going to tell my Mom I had a blast!". Later, Peter's Dad heard Peter and Leo talking at 4am. He went in and said, "Hey, guys, okay now let's go back to sleep". All heads were in the middle, bodies in their sleeping bags - Leo, Peter, Peter's little brother, and Aaron. Adorable.

I happened to drive all of the boys over after the party. Those precious conversations I'll never forget overhearing - "Do you have a guy, you know a stuffed animal to sleep with?" And later - " Yeah, I do. Let's all get our guys out for the movie, okay?" And sure enough, peter's mom said they watched Sponge Bob with their "guys". Later, the picture showed them all crashed with their stuffed animals.

The amazing news is this - Leo is strong enough to handle less sleep, and sleep out of the house on the floor in a sleeping back, and some non-GFCF, processed foods. The old Leo would have been "put out" for days if he had bad food or less sleep. He is so strong now! I am confident he'll get his needs met. I am confident he'll call me if he's sad or needs something. I am confident I am truly blessed. Sure, we all thought it was weird that he wasn't home that night, but it was great.

The Mom and I discussed the food options and planned accordingly - enzymes included. She was the perfect first host for this milestone. She was sensitive to his needs "right food right time", since he's very hypoglycemic as well (duh, right?). Leo has also spent a lot of time at Peter's house and with Peter in general. Perfect! And for the record, she doesn't know of his past diagnosis or differences.

I also must comment it was a milestone for me. My challenge each day as a parent is to balance my personal issues with parenting. I strive to make smart choices for my children without my issues interfering.

I had a BAD BAD BAD childhood. Let me say it was just BAD! So it was huge for me to let Leo sleep over with another MAN in the house, a potential predator. Natch, we adore Peter's dad, but how can we ever know for sure he's okay? Or even Peter's mom? I think about this stuff every day - I think about how Leo's elementary school doesn't have a fence around it - anyone could walk out of the woods at any time during recess and grab a kid and disappear. I think about the loose security about pick-up and drop-off at school and now at summer camp. True, this IS Wisteria. True, safety is the main reason why I chose this town we live in, but STILL.

Indeed, I casually quizzed Leo about the camp counselors - did they see him change into his suit? What did they do in the pool? I am lucky Leo is very open and descriptive - those early intervention hours are still paying off!

To top it off Leo, chose to have a nap the next day, which secured the likelyhood he'd have a better day. What good choices! What a little man!


Anonymous said...

Hey Ashley, Happy Birthday babe...41 is just beginning to find your best self. I know.

How great that Leo and Peter had this friends time. And that you survived it s a reminder to me always that the job we do here as parents is establishing the foundation for independence.

A social worker once explained to another family member that the foundation is SET by the time a little one turns six into s molded after that but the core is in. Congrats on what you ve helped teach. We hope to follow the model.

A Dad is S Wisteria

Ashley loves Leo said...

Hi Anon. I really really appreciate your kind and thoughtful comments.

I agree with your reminder about our job as parents. I attempt to explain this to my kids on occasion. I tell them that their minds are far superior to mine, and that My mind isn't always going to be around when they need it.

Self esteem and confidence are indeed the brass rings in my book. Knowing who they are, learning to trust themselves....

The foundation is set by 6 or 7? I guess I have another year or two with my little one then!

Thanks again

Kristina Chew said...

Happy Birthday and glad to hear Leo had a good time at the party. Have you given him non-GFCF foods with similar results?

Ashley loves Leo said...

Thanks Kristina for your birthday wishes. I'm writing this as I'm taking my low thyroid supplements. Indeed, after 40 my warranty has expired...It's all about nickel and diming!

To answer your question - I'm too chicken to try an uncontrolled scenario. It's all about accumulation with Leo, so history tells us we can "cheat" once a month, with a bite of this or that at a birthday party (social reasons is when it comes up the most). He hallucinates and gets tired and weepy the few times we've gotten to lenient, like over a Halloween once.

I must admit after Leo was cleared via Bioset for wheat and dairy, I took the kids for the very first time out for pizza. This was last month!

Leo "saved up" his cheating for this event. Enzymes in my pocket, we settled into a booth at Pizza Hut. Indeed, fine dining for us!

Leo had never had more than a small slice in his life, let alone pepperoni and 4 slices. He was in awe of the whole experience, and liked the pizza. Strangly, he didn't ask for it again the next day as I expected.

It was a mixed emotional experience. Weird to see myself as a "regular" parent out for a pie. I won't be doing that again for a while - to deep for me.