The Big 4 and Other Stuff

Sunday was my son’s fourth birthday and we decided because of funds, we’d have his party in our two bedroom apartment, which actually went surprisingly well. We invited far too many people, but knew that many of those that were invited probably wouldn’t show, which was fine because it would have been far too crowded if everyone we invited showed up. Because my son just started school and doesn’t really know a lot of the kids yet, most of the people at the party were adults, but there was one other child around my son’s age. She’s his cousin and two years old; about to turn three. There was also a baby at the party, but she’s only a few months old. My son wasn’t feeling well, either because he picked up something from school last week, which I later found out was strep and had to inform everyone who was at the party that they could be contagious. He’s been extra clingy, but he was excited about his party, especially after the mention of cake, which he kept asking for once he heard.

All in all, the party was great. My son had a great time once we started the process of letting him blow out candles on the cake and singing to him. Even that is progress because at his first birthday party, the singing actually scared him. Now he loves to blow out the candles because he knows when he’s done he can have his cake. Naturally, he put his hand in the cake as soon as the candles were all blown out. The party went much longer than expected, but it was fun and once the presents were opened and my son had his cake, which was pretty much his only concern, he played and had fun with the balloons. I loved watching him have so much fun and was lucky enough to get a bit of “mommy” time with my sister and best friend. (We took a walk around the block three times during the party while my wonderful husband kept an eye on the kids).

Then Monday was the second support group meeting I’ve been to. My husband had originally planned to go with me, but because he was feeling ill, decided not to go at the last minute. I went anyway and I’m glad I did because I took so much from this meeting that I didn’t get at the first one. The discussion for this meeting was about starting the new school year with an ASD child or children and the guest speaker was someone from the brand new preschool for children with ASD that will be starting next week. Unfortunately, I will not be able to afford to send my son to this special preschool and next year he’ll be too old for preschool. This year there are about 20 kids in his class and only two adults; a teacher and a teacher’s aid.The ASD preschool has a 2:1 ratio for new students and then works up to 4:1 and then 6:1, eventually getting ready for a regular classroom.

The rest of the week was rather uneventful since we all stayed home sick until today. Today, I took my son to preschool and naturally, Monkey and I were the first ones to arrive, so we waited patiently outside of his teacher’s classroom until we were greeted by another mom that I hadn’t seen before. She had her three year old son with her and right away we noticed similarities between our sons. They began screaming at each other, which was pretty funny because they were both screaming because the other one was screaming and they were both using the exact same pitch. Then the mom that I’d just met turned to greet some other parents who had just arrived and then the teacher who had just come around the corner, so Monkey and I made our way into the room as soon as the door opened. After getting Monkey situated and getting his hands washed, I said by and he waved saying, “Bye, bye.” And then I walked out of the room, but stayed close enough to the door to wait for the new mom to come out of the room. I could tell she was having trouble leaving her son, but I assured her that her son was in good hands and that it would be okay. After talking to her for minute, I informed her of Monkey’s diagnosis and she told me that her son, too had been diagnosed with Autism, which began an hour long discussion about our children and exchanges of information.

I was extremely glad to know that there would be someone else in Monkey’s class who also has Autism so that they might better understand themselves and each other and I was really glad to meet another parent whose going through what I’m going through right now. Then, when I picked up Monkey from school, she informed me that he and the new kid in the class had screaming contests all day. She looked like they were driving her crazy a little bit, but I was just glad they weren’t actually hurting each other because that could have happened, too. All in all, it’s been a pretty roller coaster-like week. We’ve all had our ups and downs, but it’s all worth the ride.

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