Yesterday Monkey had a play date with two of his classmates (twins.) Duhdee and I chatted with their mom and dad while we supervised the play. I have to say this is one of those things that really spikes my anxiety. It seems so simple, just go and let the kids play, but nothing is ever simple when FX is involved.
First, we had to convince Monkey to walk into a place he’d never been before. This went smoother than I had feared because they already had snacks planned. Grapes make transitions easier.
Then we had to manage some of Monkey’s behaviors like head banging (he will bang his gently head on the floor at times when he is upset), throwing of toys and, of course, whining (this is a sign he’s becoming hyper-aroused so we have to intervene to help him calm down.) This is the sort of stuff we have to do on a consistent basis so we aren’t really getting a chance to relax. Play dates are hard work. Trying to keep him within a certain set of limits, trying to keep him from behaving in a way that would make people regret having invited us over, is tiring for him and for us.
As we are socializing and managing Monkey we’re also taking in the behavior of the other two. Monkey’s delays and challenges, which we often seem to gloss over, are cast into crystal clear relief when he’s with “typical” children. We can’t help but notice how very far behind and how very different he is from other kids his age.
Knowing that I have this, along with all the work of keeping him in a state where he can be social, to look forward too makes me tired before the play date even starts. Yesterday I had to ask Duhdee to end the visit. Duhdee seems to have an ability to cope endlessly but Umma can only take so much reality, it seems.