Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Alex's Birthday Party

Hayden went to his friend Alex's birthday party a few weeks ago. This is what Alex's dad Greg wrote about the event. (Yes, I'm just now getting around to posting it.)  I thought it was sweet and he gave me permission to share: 

"Wow, what a day what a day. Some of you may know that yesterday we had Alex birthday party phase 1.  We are doing this in phases so that our special lil man does not get too over stimulated , as he sometimes does with large groups. This was an exciting day because we invited his two best friends from school. Gavin and Hayden.  I have had very limited exposure to these two guys, but man are they cute kids. I would say Gavin is a bit more serious , while Hayden is a ball of fun.  I know they have a fun and special bond as students of Cornerstone, and I am so happy for the opportunity that Alex has to make friends with these kids. I would say they are all pretty equal on their spectrum and I can really see where they bounce off of each other with their learning. I know that with Potty Training that Alex and Hayden were partners in crime. I go back and forth referring to them as The Three Muskateers and then The three Amigos.



For the party, we rented out the pool area at the Holiday Inn and let the kids swim and play.  I spent a good amount of time playing with Hayden and I gotta say that is one fun and smiling kid. Like Alex , his little smile can brighten up a room. Seeing him swim with the white life preserver around his waist, little legs kicking and just having the time of his life. Gavin slipped at one point and his head went under, he didn’t do well with that, swallowed some water, but I gotta say it didn’t stop him. We put a pair of Alex floaties on him and he kept on swimming. Gavin's big sister Kaylie was there, and she is such a quiet thing I gotta say with three loud boys I almost forgot she was there. It is neat to see how a sibling will be so loving of her brother , not caring wether he is Autistic or not.  Alex, at first he really didn’t want to venture away from the steps. I later came to the conclusion that he didn’t like the light that was on in the pool. Later, he would tell me not to go near the light, so I would drift closer and closer to it. Reaching out my hand to him, “ Help me Alex, help” he forgot about that light and swam to me, “ I save you Daddy, I get you” looking very serious the first time, as if he really intended to save me from the evil Pool light.  I then made it more of a game and he and Hayden would swim after me to save me. Gavin was busy playing with his Mommy.  This went on a good six times before I got tired.  We spent an hour in the pool playing and then it was time to go eat cake and have presents.  Alex, who took the longest to get in the pool also took the longest getting out of the pool… “ I gotta swim Daddy” but eventually he did get out.


The transition to the lobby for Cake and presents was actually pretty easy. All four kids ( 3 boys and Gavin's sister) sat down at the table rather easily and were ready for some cake. To think a year ago, Alex could not be bothered to sit and eat at the table. While dishing out the cake, Gavin looked at Christine and politely told her “ I can’t eat that”  and it is neat that these kids are so in tune with their special dietary needs that he just assumed that this was something he couldn’t eat. When Christine told him it was Gluten and Cacein free ( as well as soy free )  He dug in. Hayden I was told was a very picky eater as well and would most likely not eat the cake. Boy were we in for a surprise. All of the children asked for seconds on the cake, Hayden especially showing enthusiasm for it. You would think that with three four year olds there would have been a mess. Not at all. These guys went to town on this cake. For a brief moment, I spoke with the two mothers on food and what our kids will and wont eat.  Will Eat= short list. Wont eat= Everything.  Face it, our kiddos are picky eaters. Presents went quick and easy and I video taped everything. Unfortunately we did not get many still photos. At one point it looked like Hayden got a little excited as I saw him bob his head a little and giggle, but he eased out of that quickly. Then at the end Alex was overstimulated and had to run it off up and down the aisles. We got him home and that night is an entirely different story.





I have to say, I think the best part of the whole day was seeing how Alex interacts with his peers. Children who are also on the spectrum and how they play together.  What parents of neuro-typical children just don’t see, our kids, their milestones are something other parents might take for granted. I know yesterday, I saw grandparents just sit back and enjoy watching Alex play with other kids and they don’t always get to see that. Our children don’t always communicate as well as other children and their thinking is so literal that we do have to watch how we word things. (I get yelled at this quite often.) I have to say, I am so grateful for the school Alex is in, it has been such a blessing to us that it has brought him together with his compadres. The Three Amigos. So much growth has happened with Alex socially these past few months. I know Haydens Mom has said the same for her son, and I am sure Gavin is feeling the same. It just freaks me out a bit to know that as recent as 20 years ago, it was common practice to institutionalize our children. That thought would keep me up at night if I let it.
This is my First update and I am sure my lovely wife will add to it. Thank you for reading.
Greg Carey

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