Thursday, July 12, 2012

Achievement unlocked: Playdate!

We went to Tennessee last week to visit my folks and my sister.  I wrote a post about the plane trip, but haven't published it yet, 'cause my editor and I agree it's just not that interesting.

So here's something that is interesting:  Ben had his first ever honest-to-God successful play date on this trip.

A brief history of us and play dates:

Bubba had many play dates.  They were awesome and good for him and me.  We had friends who had kids at roughly the same time, so things were just in synch.

For Ben, we didn't know anyone who had kids the same age.  We met a few kids through preschool, but Ben didn't really like playing with them.  At playgrounds, he would hang out for a few minutes and then head off in a quasi-random direction.

arr, it be humid here.
In his first preschool, when Ben was among the neurotypicals, one mother pulled me aside and said, "my oldest has autism, and we'd be happy to have you over for a play date."  She was telling me that her 3 year old knew the score and was willing to let Ben maul his Thomas the tank engine set.  We accepted and the play date went as well as one could expect.  3 year old Ben didn't really interact with her kid much at all.  Her older autistic kid hid in the basement.  As play dates go, it was a bust.  I do, however, have great respect for that mom and her 3 YO -- they were very nice to try it.

Since then, Ben has had some good times with other kids, mostly while they were playing with his older brother.  That's the closest thing we've had to a playdate -- Ben chasing other kids while they do something fun.

Fast forward to last week...we are staying with my sister in the most wonderful small town in Tennessee.  We get invited for cocktails at J&J's house.  Their 3 1/2 year old took a shine to Ben and led him on a whirlwind tour of all the joys of his house.  Within about 20 minutes, they were pantsless and jumping on a trampoline.  There was much giggling.

I was already verklempt, but then L (their kid) said, "Ben!  come for a ride!" and hopped into his Jeep.  Ben, rather innocently, came and sat by him.  L put the pedal to the metal and the Jeep took off.  I think that rocked Ben's world in a serious way.  L really blew his mind.  I'm pretty sure Ben's world changed that day, and I'm quite happy about it.

This was a seriously good time.  It was a reminder not to stop trying.  Maybe Ben just needs to spend time with younger kids.  Developmentally, he's a bit behind -- he sure as heck seemed to enjoy every ding-dang thing that 3.5 year old was dishing out.

I have a new mission -- find kids that Ben can play with, and have play dates galore.  It's time.  If he's's time to party.


  1. pantsless trampolining and four wheeling. . . this is what I miss about the wholesome midwest. . .


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