What a weekend! What a fabulous, hectic, exhausting, but exhilarating weekend. And Michael sailed through it like the champion he is, and taught me a thing or two in the process. I was worried. The previous week for me was exhausting and stressful, and then we had two new things on the agenda for Michael on Saturday. One was his dance class being filmed professionally, which would mean a camera man and more people in the studio, and change, of course. Second, we had our next catechism cafe right afterwards which is challenging for Michael in a different way, and was sandwiched in between his third activity, Gym and Swim. It means coming down and focusing on what is being taught and contemplating spiritual matters, something that is increasingly challenging for Michael.
For me this meant lots of prep work on Friday. I proceeded to write Michael a “Social Story” (http://carolgraysocialstories.com/social-stories/) , and went over the steps of the next day. At first on Saturday, Michael did not want to go to dance class due to his fears, and was nervous about the catechism workshop. We read the social story together several times, prepared his toys and tools to help with transitions, and talked about how if it was too difficult he could calmly tell us he wanted to go home. Barney even came along to one of the events! 🙂 And it was a smashing success at the dance school! We came home, had lunch, and then it was time for part two, catechism. He was nervous and was exhibiting strange behavior. We had a fight where he briefly started screaming, tried to throw something and started to hit his head. It lasted less than five minutes as I reminded him what he could do to calm down, and he did it while asking me to stay in the room with him. In the aftermath a few minutes later, I suggested maybe we skip the catechism workshop if it was too much. And that’s when he looked at me in a shocked way and said:
“But Mommy, we always try first. We don’t quit and give up. Please. I want to go.”
There was no time for the happy tears that wanted to come, as I knew we would be a few minutes late already. I just nodded and agreed.
“You’re right buddy. Let’s go.”
He apologized for the fight and the angry words he had yelled and off we went. He did fantastic at catechism too! He participated whenever he could, and when the catechism workshop was tough he asked if we could walk around the church which helped calm his sensory system and then let him focus beautifully for the craft. I was so proud of him. The fun didn’t end there with changes and handling emotions. At his Gym and Swim class his regular instructor was not there and he had a substitute. He missed the instructor, but handled this change superbly as well. He had come a long way from the little boy who needed massive preparation and needed everything to unfold in just a certain manner. A few days heads up for unique events, and for others like at swimming, he went with the flow.
Watching Michael soar through the challenges of navigating change has been amazing, particularly in the last month. I have seen a maturity in him, and when I begin to lose my way or worry I am putting too much on him, he is there to reassure me that he needs to try, we need to try. We must always believe in our children, and try everything, give them every opportunity.
So Exceptional Parents, how well do you give your Exceptional Children the chance to try even if they fail? How often do you do that? Most of the time, when expectations are high and those around us have confidence in us, we not only succeed, but keep the feeling of pride and belief in ourselves for the future. So remember, try and try again always, you and your kids. Until next time.