It’s Saturday night. I had all intentions of writing up B’s experience with Top Soccer, but not right now. I don’t have the energy to pull that together.
I actually should not even be in the office. I should be a mere block away, in our neighborhood’s central circle, at our annual Block Party. I should be listening to a band, talking to friends, maybe having a beer or two while B can play with some buddies.
Alas, it was not meant to be. Now, I’m listening to a faint noise of music and trying to remember that life does go on. That we don’t have to be at every event that we are invited to. That it’s just fine to stay home and recharge after what has been, admittedly, a long day.
But it’s hard not to get a bit down because I hate when I get knocked down by autism. I hate the effects of “B’s bad day” have on me. I get tired of constantly fighting back a bad day. And, in my typical anxiety-driven mind, my thought process has now become riddled with envious yearnings.
Yearnings of being normal, like all the other kids.
First, it was karate. But it’s not any same-old karate class. This is a special needs class, with a structure unlike a typical class. It goes at a much slower pace. It’s louder, whether it is the sensei trying to explain a move or one of the students unable to pay attention. It’s fabulous that a studio is willing to adjust its techniques to those with special needs. Believe, B does enjoy karate and Sensei K and Sampei V. But I still need to participate, whether it’s to stop him from climbing up Sensei K or have him focus on his movement.
Later it was soccer. B has taken soccer lessons before, but he was not in a league. Now, he’s in a league. Top Soccer is a modified version of soccer for those with disabilities (ages 4-19). And we are very lucky to be in an area with one of the strongest soccer leagues in the nation.
In Top Soccer, the game is adapted to the needs of the players. The players each get a “Buddy”, who guides them through drills at practice. “Buddies” are other league soccer players who know the game and are willing to work with them. The pace is more laidback and less driven. There are an array of disabilties prevalant at B’s soccer league and the organizers are cognizant of that. It is, in all serious, a wonderful program.
But it was a complicated first day. B started out strong, but then faded. When B fades, he starts acting out. He starts using more “hands and feet” in not a good way. He hangs on his Buddy. He starts to not listen to directions; rather, he wants to play chase.
While the parents are supposed to be there for practice, generally, they do not need to actively participate. Today I had to be “in there” to help the Buddy out. To help B make a choice if he wanted to play or step back. I even had to give him the choice of whether he wanted to go home or not. Sigh.
I brought a chair to sit during practice, and barely got a chance to sit in it. When I did get a chance, a whole 20 seconds went by before B was sent to the sidelines. For biting the Buddy. While they understand that incidents happen, he has to take a break. I have no problem with taking a break (believe me I preach that one all the time).
I just know that his behavior would not fly in a regular mainstream soccer league. Or in karate. Or at The Little Gym. Hell, I don’t know what’s going to happen in a mainstream kindergarten.
That’s when the green monster of envy rears its ugly head. I become jealous of friends with neurotypical kids. They can drop off their kids or cheer from the sidelines and not worry something will go wrong. Their kids belong in a typical soccer league or karate/swimming/basket weaving class. Those families have little trouble going to a Block Party with their kids. You know, their kids will play nicely with their while the adults can converse. In a very typical suburban manner.
I don’t remember the last time I was at a social event and be able to have more than a three minute conversation with someone without having to excuse myself. Because B got mad that a friend has messed up “his space”. Or B decides to climb up a playstructure to jump off. Or B is speeding through the house at cheetah-like speed, knocking into people or breaking something. Whatever it is, it happens.
I become tired of dealing with drama and would rather stay home. Hence, why we are home at this moment versus being out with our neighbors. The kids have fallen asleep, and the Block Party is still going on.
Tomorrow is another day. Another day to try and make progress. But for now, I think I will just write off today as “not so good” and leave it at that.