What a great day today was! We went to see the band FLAME play at the Carrot Festival- an amazing festival held in honor of carrots and all things orange at a local synagogue, and then we went pumpking picking with some kids from David's class and his teacher!
FLAME is a band made up of musicians who all have Developmental Disabilities! It was really quite incredible- if you had only been listening to the music, you would have no idea that each of the musicians has some form of disability! They were great entertainers, drew a large crowd and sang some fabulous songs!
This is definitely a band I want to learn more about- especially with matthew being as musical as he is, it is amazing to have this group who seems to tour our area a few times each year.
It was also incredible to have the opportunity to hang with David's teacher on a non school day. It was great to see him with the other kids from his school out and about and to watch them interact.....David is actually a pretty quiet kid at school. He spent the day being kind of shy and planful in all of his actions. He was particular as he picked his pumpkin, and loved playing in the sand box.
I am struggling a little watching him with peers. I guess the hard part, and I am sure this is not just as a mom of kids with needs, but it feels like that, is that most of our friends kids have started to make those strong bonds with other kids, and my boys are not the "friends of choice". If we are getting together as families, my boys are liked, but in a group of kids, my boys are essentially "the last ones picked for kickball". They seem to not even be aware, but I am feeling this pretty intensely.
It is hard to watch other kids form friendships and to see your kids really still struggling. On the other hand, I am trying to remind myself that not everyone is super social, and David is likely a quieter, 1 friend at a time kind of kid. So in a large group, he is never going to be the party animal.
It is tough though, how do you teach a child to be a friend? How do you teach him to like what the other 6 year olds like? Am I not providing him with opportunities to watch the "cool shows?" but if he isnt interested in those shows, how do I get him to watch them? He is somewhat aware that his friends are into Star Wars and other action figures because he picked out a few of those things as his halloween costumes, but he didnt know who each figure was, and kept going back to wanting to be Mickey Mouse for Halloween. I would prefer that he be what he WANTS to be, rather than picking a costume that has him "fitting in", but on the other hand, I want him to play, to love light sabers, to play with the little figures his friends carry around, to do the 6 year old boy stuff.
It is hard enough for me that Matthew really does not have a friend to call his own. After all, part of childhood is having friendships. It is going to friends houses, and being together doing boy stuff together, but at this point in time there isnt really a "friend" for Matthew, so I have adjusted to that. But to now watch David get passed by is hard- but I know developmentally he is just getting into playground play, and really has not mastered imaginary play at the level his friends are at, so it is stressful for him to try to play with them.
I watch Jacob at school, and it is just all so easy- he goes between being a doctor to the animals, to making his own book, to cooking in the kitchen and it is all so effortless- it is as it is "supposed to be" He has already had more birthday invitations than David or Matthew, he will have friends, heck, he ALREADY has friends and they are kids he is close to, who look for him as much as he looks for them.
I am sure this will get easier, but I will always wonder, did I not do enough playdates? Did I do something wrong? Do we need more social groups in our life? Is this just as it is? Is it more a "me problem"?
- I am a single mom of three amazing boys! All three of my sons entered my family through adoption. All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!