Tuesday, March 11, 2014

We've Been to Holland: ASD Children and Parties

I was nervous. Banshee had been invited to her very first bday party. This isn't a big deal but it was her first party without the Pixy accompanying her.

Naturally, we were both excited under the nervous shakes.  We don't get invited to lots of events like this, so I bought a cute gift for the b-day girl (a crayon roll from Amyzing Creations on etsy), added some bonus things (a couple coloring books, stickers, a princess wand) and put it in a cute bag decorated with Banshee's artwork. It was a gift we were both proud of for different reasons.

The day of the party came and Banshee asked Daddy to take her to the party. It was being held in Banshee's ballet school, so we didn't have to worry about it not being familiar and risking her shutting down on us. I reluctantly let them both go, nervous that Banshee would do ok and sad that I wouldn't get to be there to experience it with her.

I'm being brutally honest when I say that I worried that Banshee wouldn't participate, wouldn't want to eat the party food, would decide the sound was too loud and rock with her hands covering her ears, bury her face in her hands because the light was too bright, and perhaps the most prevalent of all Bansheeisms: she would decide to spin. Banshee can spin for pleasure for hours if you let her. She says that if you want to feel what happiness is, then you need to open your arms and spin. While I agree with her, especially when the music moves one to do so, it can get a bit frustrating when everyone else is learning to do a silly dance as a party activity.

I did some laundry, I tidied up, I read stories to Cubby, did some homeschool with Pixy, organized a bit and ...still, no report from the party by the Sailor. What was going on? I had prepped Banshee on proper party etiquette, told her to try not to be shy, dressed her in pretty party clothes...did I do enough? I started to feel like perhaps I'd failed her somehow.

Right when I couldn't take it anymore, Sailor texted me this:

Enjoying the birthday party!

This is Banshee playing dress up and taking pictures WITH her friends because they were all
Pretending to be supermodels. Not on the sidelines, not across the room.....she was in the group!!! I was so happy that I started to tear up a bit.

I asked Sailor for a full report, to which he answered: She is having a blast! Banshee's party manners are great, she's engaging with everyone. A little shy for their fashion show, so she started to rock a little, but she did it anyway! So so proud of her.

I read and re-read the text. Wow. What a brave girl, to do the very thing that is extremely difficult for her: to be social. As I waited for them to come home, with Cubby and Pixy ready to cheer for her, I recited a powerful saying that most parents of children on the autism spectrum say: Today, We've been to Holland (from a poem describing a typical child versus an ASD child as countries/vacations) and it was a very good day.