Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Super Six

I actually have a few blog posts lined up. They are sitting, quietly, unfinished, in the Drafts folder. The reason they haven't been getting posted is because Little A has appropriated the laptop for his own use. Every time he sees someone working on it, he asks to use it, using his communication cards. As initially we were after the communication goal, we made sure he got what he wanted immediately, provided he asked for it properly.

Now however, we need to move on to the "wait" phase. Anyone who has ever interacted with a child, nonverbal or not, knows how difficult it is to get them to understand that they may get what they ask for, but not necessarily at the precise moment they request for it.

At any rate, since I've been spending mornings at Little A's school while classes are on and there is no Internet connection in the temporary Mummy's waiting room, I get my "real" paperwork done during class time and can relinquish the laptop to him in the afternoons while I am at the shop.

Three weeks of school went quickly by, and midway through the summer session, Little A celebrated his 6th birthday with a small party at the school's playground. Since there are only eight children in class, and two of them don't particularly like birthdays (one being Little A himself), the teachers thought it would be a good idea to do a dry run.

The day before the party, the kids "practised" having snack time on the playground, at the art tables, followed by active play, which is a change from the usual classroom routine. All seemed to go well.

On July 5th, while the kids were in class, I set up the playground tables with a little centerpiece, loot bags, paper plates and cups, and snack items. They came out at snack time, and the first thing we did, to get it out of the way, was to sing "Happy Birthday." Little A blew out his six candles, and proceeded to cry.

He stepped out of the party room, upset, and sat with me, his teacher and my mum, until he calmed down and was ready to join the "guests." He didn't eat, and didn't want to play, but he did manage to get on the swings and hand out the loot bags and balloons before we left school.

Little A was fine the rest of the day, but didn't forget that he dislikes birthday parties as he cried that night, as I was putting him to bed, when he saw the birthday banner we'd brought home from school and taped up in his room. He cried every night after that and every morning on waking up, even when I took the banner down, until enough days had passed and he realised that his birthday was well and truly over, and that there would be no more singing of the Happy Birthday song.

We celebrated with his cousins two days later, but it was just a meal. No singing, no candles. Little A was happier that way, and that's what birthdays are all about, aren't they? Happy for the celebrant, never mind what anyone else wants or expects. And so he is six, and so we go on.  

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