Thursday, December 07, 2006

Growing Up

Check Out Those ASD Kitchen

I had a VERY interesting day yesterday. Leo had his 1st grade "archnemisis" over for a play date! Could it be? Charlie (the bus taunter/teaser?) from my 1/27/06 entry on

Natch, I barely slept the night before because I was consumed by the fact that the boy that gave my son so much grief will be over! And I was nervous about handling him. The one time he was over, I failed miserably at managing him (in my defense the parents didn't give me a heads up, can we say PID??) He broke some toys, crashed Leo's bike into a tree after riding over my pumpkin vines, dumped every toy bin over, and scared Sydney on purpose among other things. How much can happen in one play date? A LOT.

Let me just say it. IT WENT WELL. SUCCESS AND NO STRESS. Woohoo! I don't know if it's going to happen often, but they do like each other and had some fun.

And now for some background on this duo...This boy Charlie and Leo were on "different teams" and "not friends" practically all last year, after their friendship quickly fizzled. Leo was quickly turned off by his very active behavior and that he got into "trouble" so much at school. Later on in the year Charlie and a mid-year transfer student Harrison became fast friends. Of course, because life is complicated, Charlie and Harrison ride the same bus and live on the same road.

So recently, Harrison didn't ride the bus for a couple of days. Charlie and Leo sat together, and I gather they "discovered" each other. They are not in the same 2nd grade class this year, although Harrison and Leo are. They both began asking for playdates, which terrified me. I knew from last year that Charlie was on different medication and doing well with listening and controlling unacceptable behavior. I'm guessing he's ADHD. So because I'd seen able to observe him, AND I really wanted success, especially with a neighbor, I wanted to make this work (like I have anything to do with it).

They didn't quite know what to do with each other for the first 20 minutes. I thought "Oh God!!!". Charlie kept walking around and around and around while Leo was patiently following him asking him if he'd like to do X, Y, or Z. Finally, with some suggestions from me, they began playing outside. Natch, Charlie found the only dangerous thing out there, a fallen tree that hadn't quite fallen completely (yes, danger danger)and decided to hang from it, and in 5 minutes, convince Sydney to climb it. Images of dead or trapped kids danced in my head. Yes, the part about keeping my eye on him the entire time...I should've kept my plan intact. But other than that, they jumped on the tramp and ran around finding stuff.

I was pretty proud of Charlie - he has learned to listen and had some self-control. He also considered Leo's feelings and preferences. Not much eye contact, actually less than last year. Towards the end, I let them play X-Box (whatever that is). It involves the T.V. is all I know.

I couldn't believe it - I had prepared myself for anything - I had all my chores done including dinner. I had prepped Sydney that I'd have no time with her as I'd be occupied with the boys' safety. And it all turned out well. His mom came to pick up, and I told her what a wonderful kid he is, and that they had to refamiliarize themselves, but after that warmup period, they got along. Clearly they don't have too much in common, but both had fun. I was so proud of Leo - he didn't mention football, soccer, or any other sports games to do since he knew Charlie wouldn't be interested.

His mom has never mentioned Charlie's differences, nor have I mentioned anything about Charlie's history with Leo. I threw out several openings, but she didn't bite. Clearly she doesn't want to share with me, which is understandable. She has no idea what people say about her son, and I know he doesn't get invited to many birthday parties, etc, because he's a behavior problem. The mom doesn't stay at parties to facilitate, which makes it even harder for other parents to learn about Charlie and keep him from becoming even more unpopular.

So that's that story.

Harrison, the other little boy that is Charlie's best pal, is a good friend of Leo's too. We even went trick-or-treating with him and his family. Anyway, Leo and Harrison got into an argument, so for about a week "they weren't friends". Again, it began as a bus issue. Every day, Harrison and Leo would race to the bus, hoping to be first in line. Many times Harrison would get there first, but if Leo did, Harrison would elbow his way ahead of Leo, pushing him out of the way so Leo would be second. Leo told Harrison every day to stop it, that he didn't like it. But Harrison ignored him and remained 1st in line.

So at the end of the week, Leo told me about it, and that he was really frustrated because Harrison wouldn't listen. I said that friends don't treat each other like that. That friendship is about respecting each other, etc. With Leo always in control, I asked him what he thought he could do to solve the problem. Talking to Harrison wasn't working. What could he do now?

He didn't have any ideas, and so I suggested that he "ignore" Harrison, or tell him that he's not being a friend, and until he knocks it off with the bus line, he's not going to treat him as a friend either. That he doesn't deserve Leo's friendship. Let me clarify, I was totally winging it! I knew I should keep Leo in control always, but that's all I knew to do.

The next day, Leo came home and said he "tried to ignore him, but it was just too hard mom." I can't blame the kid, he's in his class, 2 desks down. The next day after that, he managed to ignore him enough for Harrison to get the idea. And as how things work, Harrison decided to ignore Leo too. This went on for a few days, and then they finally "forgave" eachother, and are now "friends again."

That night, I asked Leo if they watched T.V. AGAIN at school. This drives me crazy. Whenever the weather is bad or something is going on in the gym, out comes the VCR. Of course, the kids love it. I asked Leo what they watched, and he said lately it's been "Reading Rainbow". I had no recollection. Leo said we had watched it at home a few times. Still didn't ring a bell - I normally only record PBS type shows, and when he was into it, Power Rangers. Leo said, "Let me sing the song for you." And he begins to sing in a lovely little boy voice, so sweet and innocent. No embarrassment. I enjoyed every second of it, also relishing how creative he was in trying to jog my memory. "NOW do you remember Mom?" And I did.


mcewen said...

I chose a day care center based purely [more or less] on the fact that it was the ONLY one I could find that didn't have a TV or video.
As for the friends... we have that too = arch 'enemies' to 'bosom buddies' = time period immaterial, it's like someone flicked a switch - perhaps someone did!

Ashley loves Leo said...

Interesting about the day care. Who would think that would be something to look out for?

Hmm...arch enemies and bosom buddies going hand-in-hand. Something I'll have to get used to! My friends say this happens much more with boys (more forgiving) than us grudge-holding women.