Today was Ben’s official birthday and we wanted to do everything possible to give him the best day ever.
It didn’t start well. Ben and Jack started Lego Camp this week and unfortunately after Monday they handed me a page long list of ‘incidents’ from Ben. When I walked in, one of the counselors was pretty much holding him back like a horse at the gate.
She explained to me that one of the three teachers had to take turns blocking him from destroying everyone else’s inventions. He kicked a teacher. And much more.
So we withdrew him. The next day was his birthday. And I had to tell him he wasn’t welcome anymore at lego camp.
I spoke with his therapist about it. She explained that his motor skills are like a 2 year old, and what do 2 year olds do when they see a lego building? They smash it.
On the morning of his birthday, when Jack was about to leave for camp, he came crying to me.
I asked him what was wrong and he couldn’t tell me. Was it that Jack was going to Lego Camp without him? He said yes.
I told him that he can go to Lego Camp in the future, but right now his body wasn’t ready (language from the therapist, it’s his body, not him.)
I asked him what he didn’t like about Lego Camp. Holding him in my arms, he started to calm down and open up to me. He told me he just wanted to play with Jack and the legos without any other kids around.
I told him that he could still play with Jack and legos at home. Without other kids around. And he could play with his legos today in the morning while Jack was at camp.
And I told him that I’m glad he told me he didn’t like other kids around. That the word ‘camp’ meant there would be other kids around. And in the future if we ask him if he wants a camp he now knows that means lots of other kids.
I also said there are times when other kids around is unavoidable, but lego camp is optional.
After the talk he seemed okay.
It helped that my amazing sitter showed up with a present for Ben this morning. She is so good I don’t want to tell anyone about her. Okay, okay I will eventually, but that is for another blog…
He went with the twins in the morning to the park. We let him ride Jack’s bike. He was so happy, he pretended he was Jack the whole way there and laughed about it.
He ran laps around the park, while either I or the sitter tried to beat him. He won every time. I wish I could capture the joy on his face after each win.
Our friends the Hutchinsons were at the park when we arrived. We were able to have a real race with lots of kids.
Then he got his favorite meal, McDonalds, on the way to the Highland Park Hidden Creek Aqua Park. We only took Jack and Ben, leaving the twins with my mom. No little pesky brothers there to ruin his special day!
Just hanging out with his best friend Jack. In a sensory kid’s dream come true.
Later Jack was eyeing the big slides. Ben is just over the height limit and can’t quite swim yet so we were very nervous when he followed Jack up the stairs.
He asked a lot of questions about the slide. From his therapist we learned that he does not like surprises so we patiently went over every step, watching other riders slide down the curvy slide and pointing out what would happen next. We also told him he did not have to go if he didn’t want to. But as soon as Jack went, he surprised us by sitting down and sliding down next.
I was so proud of him I thought I was going to cry. But it didn’t end there. He also bravely tried the fast, bullet slide.
So beautiful to watch him over come his fears and take the plunge. For a normal kid it’s exciting, but for a sensory kid who doesn’t like change or the unknown, it’s a tear jerking, heart swelling moment.
Oh, yeah. And this happened…
Afterwards he had both sides of grandparents here giving him even more present and love.
Ben makes Bubbie play the evil Kraang while Grandpa Bill plays trains with his buddy Aaron.
Happy Birthday Ben. I hope will be a great year for you!