Monday, June 6, 2011

Branching out of my comfort zone: Trying New Things

This is really hard for me to admit.  And it makes me feel like a bad parent.  I don't like trying new things with my children.  I don't like taking us out of our comfort zone of what we do for 'normal' activities.  So far its worked for us for the last 9 years.  But I got to thinking, I am really making a mistake.  My kids are missing out on experiences that they'll never get back.  I am missing out on those experiences.  I don't like blaming Caleb for not trying new things, this is all on me.  I am scared of what will happen with him when we do it.  Don't get me wrong, I am proud to have a child with Autism.  It has given me a calling that I never thought I would ever find.  But it does have some drawbacks for us as a family on occasion.  We can't just up and go do things whenever we want.  We have to prepare.  Those preparations can take on the upwards of hours, days or weeks, depending on the situation.    

I got invited to take Caleb and the other boys to a baseball game.  I'm not going to lie, my instincts SCREAMED no.  But with all the thinking I had been doing lately, I decided, let's give it a try.  And I prepared him for several hours.  I showed him the stadium, I talked about what a baseball game was, I talked how we would have a picnic lunch.  He was prepared.  About an hour before we left, it set in for him.  "I DON"T WANT TO GO!"  He screamed at me.  This is normal for him.  He gets very upset when being taken out of the comfort of his home or put into a new situation.  He goes through phases.  First we scream, then we get very antsy and beg not to go, and finally he accepts it and pouts.  

We got to the car and I keep hearing him ask me, can we go home?  It is nerve-wracking and breaks my heart that this is so hard for him.  It's just a baseball game!  I hear my 4 year old son Christian reassuring him, Caleb, its going to be so fun!  That child is so good at helping calm him down.  There are days when I don't know how I could be so blessed with such a mature child. 

We get to the ball park and the moaning and groaning begins again.  He doesn't want to get out of the car, it's too hot, I want to do this and that.  Again very typical Caleb when he's upset or thrust into a new situation.  But we soldier on.  We meet up with my friend Linda and discover we can't bring food inside.  OOPS!  So it's an impromptu picnic!  We grab a seat on the ground and pull out our lunches.  Caleb is very happy to remember I have packed his favorite: PB&J.  Christian doesn't really care, he just wants to go inside.  Cole is more interested in eating rocks. 

So after we've had lunch and gotten our sunscreen on, we get inside, get our cool new piggy banks and programs.  We find our seats and have a seat.  We didn't realize it was going to be SO hot.  It was 98 at the warmest part of the day.  Glad I packed lots of water, the one thing they allow you to bring in.

We made it to the top of the 7th inning before we felt that the kids had had enough.  That's an incredible amount of time for Caleb to be put into a situation like that.  The stadium was fairly crowded, it was hot, and it was a very over-stimulating situation for him to be put in.  AND I have never been more proud of him for how he did.  He really was interested in meeting the mascot and we chased him a few times to try and get his autograph.  We'll try again next time. 

This really taught me that my son can do more, that I can expect more.  But more so I learned that I don't have to be afraid of what can happen in a situation like this.  I can deal with the stares, I can deal with the snickers, I can deal with the name calling.  I am not afraid.  I just need to be less afraid of the unexpected, which is something I have yet to master. 

Below are a few highlights from the game:

Lesson for me: Don't be afraid to try new things, what happens will happen!            

No comments:

Post a Comment