NOTE - real names have been changed to protect the fabulous.
Yesterday my good friend Briar Rose came by with her 3 boys - Jack-Be-Nimble is Peter's best friend, Aslan is TJ's best friend, and Shrek. He's my best friend...I love that kid.
Anyway, Aslan had a friend with him, Hansel, and they immediately all ran outside to play with the puppy. TJ walked around and said "No thanks, Mom, I'm staying in" to which I replied "No thanks, Teej, you're going out". Hrumph, he said, and went out back. He came in 5 times of course....I'm cold (put on a jacket), I'm hungry (here are some goldfish-to-go), I felt a raindrop (suck it up buttercup)....the more he pushed, the more I pushed back. I didn't force him to run around and play, but I did force him to stay outside. Briar Rose knows how I push TJ and told him how excited Aslan and Hansel were to come over and see TJ....TJ made some noise and went back outside.
Well they all come tumbling back in the house and TJ says to Aslan and Hansel "Hey guys, wanna play Mario Kart?" which was met with a resounding "YEAH!"
Peter's eyes lit up. I immediately sent him, Jack-Be-Nimble and Shrek downstairs to play in the basement.
Mean Mommy? Maybe. But Peter is the most social kid ever, and once he's involved with TJ's friends he totally takes over.
And I wanted to see how TJ would do playing host. Not the most comfortable of roles for my boy with autism.
Briar Rose and I talked about it a bit - how hard school vacations are for TJ. How if he had his way, he'd spend the entire week alone in his room. How all Peter wants to do is play with TJ, how all TJ wants to do is be alone, and how I push each kid out of their comfort zone throughout the week. How they have time limits to be alone, time limits to be together, rewards in place for playing together, rewards in place for playing alone.
It's a lot of work, these school vacations!
I always say the best thing I did for each of my boys is to give them each other. These brothers have worked together to give the other what I otherwise would have had to spend a ton of money on in social therapy!
That sentence sounded a little weird...was is grammatically correct?
In any case, Aslan and Hansel were SO good with TJ - asking him questions and repeating them if they didn't get an answer, congratulating him when he won the race (he NEVER wins against Peter! CONFIDENCE BOOST!!!)....the 3 boys really enjoyed each other.
Aslan, in so many ways, is one of TJ's biggest champions. He is such a hero for his friend TJ. We are so, so lucky to have this family in our lives.
When it was time to go, everyone said goodbye, and Briar Rose's well mannered boys all said thank you, and they left. TJ shut the door, turned to me and said, "Was I a good host, Mom?"
You really were, Mr. T. Good job.