01 April 2014

The special needs birthday party, the date night

Hudson celebrated his fourth birthday last Saturday with a birthday party at Jamtown in Lake City.  Huge shout out to Mr. John who gave an awesome music class to about six or seven autistic kids plus only one or two typically developing kids in the mix.  We sang songs, learned new songs, banged on drums, shook our shakers, and rumbled our clave sticks on the carpet, and for the most part everyone stayed chill, able to follow along.  Many parents commented on his great demeanor with the kids.  We've been going to music class there for a while now and it was Ben's idea to have a birthday party there, since then there would be a structured activity for kids and parents to do and we wouldn't have to worry about structuring a whole party ourselves.  We served cake and ice cream after, and all the details were taken care of by Mr. John.  Down to the napkins and cups, and a parachute to lay on the floor so everyone could sit and let their crumbs fall without worrying about the rug.
H gets ready to blow out four candles on his cake.  Preschool buddies look on.

All in all we are so proud of our little guy, even though he took a long time to warm up to his own party.  He was incredibly shy, but we could tell he wasn't overly anxious because he wasn't getting violent or angry, just mute and antisocial for the first fifteen minutes or so.  Once there was a task for him to do, like pass out some instruments, he was okay.  He just needed to know exactly what to do, and have a mission.  Doesn't sound too far off my own social behavior - I'm way more comfortable in a party if there's something for me to do and I don't have to put all my attention purely on socializing.

Later that night, Ben and I got to to out to see the Carmonas at Cafe Solstice on the Ave, at their regular monthly show.  There was a small audience that night, probably because it was pouring out, so we got to chat with them a lot.  It was nice because both because we don't often get to go on dates, and also because we are both feeling more momentum behind our relationship to flamenco over the past several months.  Going out to see the local shows feels like a good way to get it back in the system, and to at least keep on acquaintance level with the people around us.  Ana Montes, the dancer who is the perennial "special guest" for their shows, even came and talked to us as though we were all friends, but we really hardly know her.  We just know of each other, so it's okay to just get past the formalities.  They asked me up to do some rumba at the end and I got painfully nervous even just doing that, oddly enough.  But that's why I was grateful for the chance - every minute in front of an audience is important to practice mindfulness and presence.  At least Ana was nice enough to tell me I did a good job after.  But even now, days later, I groan thinking about it - ego reminding me I have a need to impress, and I will just breathe through it and kindly thank the ego and let it go on its way.

We came home and saw my mom still awake working on her computer but she reported that Hudson went to sleep without any fuss and without any company in his room after the light was out.  Amazing what he's capable of doing when truly necessary.  He begs for us to hold his hand, or cuddle him, until he's asleep.  Such a habit that I stopped remembering it was purely behavioral.  Of course it is.  He can do all kinds of things, when stretched.  He's going to keep amazing us, I'm pretty certain.  I'm grateful for all the learning and reflecting opportunities this weekend provided.

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