Monday, August 25, 2014

Old Maid, Swimming and Bowling

My mom goes to a lot of yard sales.

I'm not complaining.

She get's some pretty awesome things.

Some things are not so awesome.

Some things are just fun, because their iconic.

Like this Old Maid card game:

The cards are as big as Baby's head!
She didn't want so much to play the game as she just wanted to hold and organize the cards.

She's smiling because she has a My Little Pony to help her with the cards...

Sister, is most likely, our most social child. She, sometimes, is all about trying new games. So we sat down after Sunday dinner and played Old Maid. Sister thought this game was the best ever and didn't want to stop playing.


 This is the crew that was left after I was done playing. 
Sister is still there, hanging in strong, next to her cousin J-man.

The next day was the 4th and last week of Sister taking swim lessons. She was so funny to watch. She wants so badly to learn how to swim, but is quite terrified of putting her head under water... even after 4 weeks of lessons.

Her teacher, Niel, was so sweet with Sister and would make deals with her for how many times she would go under the water. She would squeal, kick and yell not wanting to go under, but, then, after she came up out of the water she would look for me with the hugest, proudest grin on her face.

It was so neat to watch her be part of the City's adaptive swim program. She had one-on-one lessons and I am positive she would not have done well learning swimming in a larger group. She LOVED it!!! She really enjoys the sport of swimming. It was fun to see how excited she would get each time.

Not to mention how especially excited Sister was when she found out that her instructor collected Poké Mon cards. He even gave her one during her last week because she had gone under water 5 times. She did finally finish with 7 dunks under the water... maybe next time she'll actually try swimming at her swim lessons.

My brother's family came to visit a few weeks before he came out to visit. On the day he was able to come out we all got together for some family bowling. I asked Gracie to come with us because I knew I would need the extra help, even with the family all there.

We were a bit late so when we came in everyone was already starting. I ran over... OK, my back was actually bad that day so, I actually slowly walked carefully and squeezed Daniel as hard as I could and kissed his face because I was so happy to see him. He turned to me and asked if I learned that in Europe! I said I was just so excited to see him!

Then we got everyone set up to bowl.

During the first 15 minutes I thought, "I can't believe I don't take my kids bowling more often. This is great. Look how much fun they're having! We should start doing this as a weekly activity. They are really enjoying this and they are doing so well! Oh, I'm so happy!"

Baby LOVED rolling the ball down the slider-thingy. Grace is to her left as she was the one helping her each time.
It took some effort just to get her off the floor so someone else had a turn.

You can't see it, but Brother was grinning from ear to ear.

Sister couldn't have been more proud of herself.

And then it all hit the fan.

It was like a switch.

The reminder as too why I don't do things like this with my kids very often.

It got harder and harder to get Baby off of a lane because she was so obsessed with rolling it down and watching it over and over again.

Brother soon got overstimulated around the same time we had to remove Baby from the bowling lanes for her own good and any one else who was playing and he sought her out as his overstimulated sensory object. Poor guy, after he had hugged her a little too much, he said, "I'm sorry mom. I'm just so overwhelmed right now."

I was so happy he recognized that! Now I just needed to work on having him recognize that before his little sister becomes the object of his release. (Count your blessing when you find them.)

And Sister just started doing her fall apart and freak out thing where you can't calm or talk sense into her.

Everyone in the family was pretty much done anyway, so we just quit early, but, I guess Sister saw that as a great time to feel UN-overwhelmed and continue to bowl through everyone's turn because no one was there to wait for. Turns out that it was not the crowd or the music or noise that overwhelmed her, but having to wait for her turn had proved to be too anxiety provoking while she was so excited for her turn. The excitement combined with the anxiety of waiting turned into a bad combo. So I happily let her play for another 15 minutes until I had my sister get the Bowling Alley manager to turn the game off so she would finally leave thinking the game was over.

Although a lot of our outings end like this, I have to admit, that it is really fun for the moment that I feel like, "Sweet! This is going great!"

My sweet family, being thoughtful of my overstimulated kids, decided to skip a picnic at the park and come to my house where Brother, Sister and Baby would feel safe and secure  and I made food for everyone and we ate lunch outside in the back yard. It turned out to be so much fun.

I'm so, so thankful for the understanding and acceptance my family has for our children. It's truly what makes a difference in raising children with special needs.

My hope and prayer is that all families who have children with special needs, whether they are cousins, nieces or nephews, siblings, aunts or uncles, or whatever other relation will rally round them with love, acceptance and understanding to the best of their capabilities.

I promise, children with special needs know and sense who truly cares for them and will respond accordingly.

Be the one they can trust and love.

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