Thursday, October 27, 2011

TOPS Soccer Comes to the East Side...

...and my kids were poops about it.

We went last week, and the kids did great. It was a small showing, just the coach and 5 kids kicking the ball around the Ferwood gym and having a good time. We spread the word around to friends and classmates, and the showing this weeks was a dramatic increase in kids and even a dozen Grant HS kids to help with out. The balls were flying, the teens were drawing out the shy guys and kicking the balls, it was fantastic.

Isaac kicked around the ball at first with a cute Grant Girl, then sat down and refused to move. She sat next to him and he finally told her that he was "too tired". Instead of demanding that he get up off the floor, I tried a different tactic. "OK. You're tired. That's OK. But if you are this tired at 5pm, then after soccer we need to get you home, feed you something quickly, and send you to bed to get some rest. OK? You get to decide. If you get back up and try to participate, we can still go get hamburgers after and you can have 20 minutes on the computer game".

It took him awhile to get back up. I asked Isaac to be the goalie while I tried to kick the ball at him. Finally, movement.

Olivia was worse. We are talking fingers firmly plugged in her ears, not talking, and LYING on the gym floor while balls flew around her. Her friend from last week, Wren, came over and tried to draw her out, and her best friend Mia did the same.


We tried everything (I did not bring her headphones, since she hadn't needed them at last weeks soccer practice), to lure her out of her turtle shell. Nothing, although at one point she did giggle and tried to catch the ball with her elbows, not willing to unplug her ears. Poor Wren and Mia were so disappointed, and I kept telling them to please not take it personally. She is just really (pathologically) shy. Finally, I placed her next to Isaac and tried to get her to be goalie too. Isaac played goalie, O just lay down behind him. She started laughing at our silliness eventually, and Wren and Mia joined out little game, but still. When both kids left the building and started piling into the car, both kids emerged from their goo and were laughing and playing.

What is going on? Isaac has never been this shy before, and Olivia is prone to this, but how do I manage it? I think we need professional help again. I don't want them to miss out on their own childhood, burdened by all of this anxiety. And I feel so anxious for them, I worry they can somehow sense it!

As we drove home I praised them for trying and told them we need to come up with a clear game plan for next week, because there will be a next week. And I want them to help me figure a way to make it better for them. We got home, and Isaac had his computer time, and Olivia was allowed to watch and episode of Word Girl.

Then I had a glass of wine.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wandering Out into the Typical World

Isaac is 9. He is changing, more independent, more apt to challenge his mom and dad in the small ways of 9 year olds (I don't eat to do this, I don't want to eat this), and wait timidly to see how we respond to this defiance. We are semi-strict at best, so are trying out different responses. With the new expansion of his sense of self has come new fears, and suddenly Isaac, who has never really felt shy about doing new things, is almost crippled by anxiety.

For example, we have (re)-joined the Cub Scouts. We tried this in 1st grade and participated for about 10 months before we basically got bored and let it drop. We joined a new pack and are finding it a far more active and social group. At the first pack meeting, where Isaac was receiving his first badge, Isaac shut down in a way I have not seen before. He put his head down, lowered his shoulders, and put his hands up as blinders to block out the two kids sitting next to him. He mumbled responses, and refused to make eye contact even with me (eye contact has never been a problem with Isaac, at least not for the last few years). It was physically painful for me to watch, and confused the other boys.

All I could think to do was whisper to him , "Never hang your head. Always keep your chin up. The only way to get over your fear is to look it in the eye."

I don't know how helpful this was. After about 30 minutes, he finally got up and started to participate though. He was so brave. I can't imagine how hard that was for him, but I have a new appreciation, having witnessed this.

Since this meeting, there have been two other new experiences that Isaac has resisted heavily, but he has done each one, mainly because I forced him. Is this the right thing to do? One was a soccer class, one a school party. Afterwards, he told me both times that "you were right mom, it was fun", but was he just putting on a brave face? Is the stress of these social interactions more damaging then the benefits?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Attack on the Mouse

So we did Disneyland. 5 straight days of over-stimulating-sensory-slamming-crowd-pushing-chaos. Not an easy feat with NT kids, intimidating with two kids dealing with a variety of anxiety issues. It was exhausting.

It was awesome.

We had planned the hell of this trip, evenings spent with the kids pouring over guide books, looking at YouTube uploads of the park and hotel, discussing game plans and park maps, going on for nearly a year. Was it all worth it? I will say yes since it was a great trip. Was all of that planning necessary? Probably not, they were so happy and distracted by everything all around them there was little in they way of anxiety or meltdowns (none, in fact). And every night at the Disney Hotel was a blank slate of dreamless sleep, the sleep of the truly exhausted.

In fact, I am still exhausted, unable to pull even a real post together. Sorry folks.