Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Feast!

My kids' preschool celebrates Thanksgiving with big Thanksgiving feasts during class every year. Quinn's class held its feast yesterday. This is my fourth year at this school, and this feast was the first time I went to a special function without a hanger-on child. I didn't have to chase another sibling around. I only had Quinn. It was so lovely and relaxing.


Do you see how one mom made cupcakes decorated like turkeys?


I brought cookies. And my cookies were the kind that come already shaped and ready to put on a cookie sheet. Quinn and I did add chocolate sprinkles though.

*****

I was really grateful for Jack's Thanksgiving feast today because I've been feeling a little bit sad about his vulnerability lately. A few days ago when I was co-oping, half the class was bowling with little plastic pins while the other half took a quick walk around the school in the wet weather. All the kids were cheering each other on and when Jack took his turn, one of the kids said, "Go, Jack!" and a little girl said, "Don't cheer for him."

That loud cracking? That's the sound of my heart breaking. The sound of my sadness over Jack having to bear the burden of being the slightly off kid that some of the other children don't like. The girl's mom (who I love) was the other co-oper and was properly horrified and told her daughter not to say things like that.

I know not everyone will love my child and that four year olds have a hard time embracing all kids. I also know that Jack does have allies in the class. And I know that all kids suffer slights from their peers. But I know that kids with autism can regularly get made fun of, especially as they get older, and it makes me sad. Not just for Jack, but for all the kids that are a little different and get bad-talked because of it.

Another tough thing for me was when Jack accidentally turned on the window air conditioning unit in the indoor playroom before school this morning, and where I think most kids would not have blinked, Jack was devastated. I told him it was no big deal and turned it back off, but he was still upset. "I made a bad accident," he said. Again, my heart broke a little. Visibly, to at least one of the parents in the room, who stopped me after drop-off to give me some verbal comfort.

So it was good to see him in the line with the rest of the kids when they sang their Thanksgiving songs. To see him doing the hand claps and foot stomps that the songs required. To see him smiling and enjoying the chicken nuggets that were put out. To see that the sad pumpkin, sad pilgrim, and sad scarecrow that he has recently made in class are not indicative of the only emotions he feels. To see him listen to me read some books to him and a friend. To see that even if he didn't interact with her, he played in a similarly appropriate way as her, and still had fun doing so.

He looks happy here, right? (I love this little dude so damn much.)


*****

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

7 comments:

  1. I love the picture of you and Q. And I just want to protect little Jack. I love all three of those guys so much. Y.M.

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  2. Hugs... I have been through it a lot, and have learned that there are a lot of little shits out there. But I've also learned that there are a lot of kids that just don't know better (yet) and are just honest. My boys have said some things that sound rude (like tonight when we were forced to listen to a highschool orchestra and Bubba asked what they were playing and when I said Christmas music, he said huffily with some confusion "It doesn't sound like Christmas music!" The lady in front of us laughed, but I'm sure some of the parents didn't think it was funny nor would the orchestra who practiced and practiced...

    But all that said, I know what it feels like when your heart is breaking...like when a kid says right to my face "Moosie is weird isn't he?" But I try to teach rather than become hurt and defensive (I said I try.)

    Have a good thanksgiving. And hug your boys.

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  3. Oh! It's so hard to watch them hurting. But he's got you looking out for him, and because of that, he's going to be just fine.

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  4. Thanks, guys. I am protective of all my kids, but I'm a little extra on-guard about Jack. He's so sweet and so vulnerable. But, that's a good path to take, ange, teaching instead of becoming hurt and defensive. I try to stay on that path too, but it's tough.

    Happy Thanksgiving, YM, ange, and SM. I appreciate your thoughts.

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  5. Kids can be so mean sometimes and obviously that young - have no idea the effect words can have. But the good out-weighs the bad, and the kid is just so damn cute! Makes me just want to give him a hug and a cuddle!

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  6. He's happy. He is. It must be so hard to watch, but when I see him, he's just the most content little dude. What I'm trying to say is ... you're doing a great job, Stimey. He's a great kid, and you are a great mom.

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  7. Yep, I totally, totally get where you are coming from. I have heard comments from children (and adults) and every time my heart breaks a little. Glad the day went well!

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