Back in the day there was a page on an autism blog I followed called the “Community Brag Page”. This was a place where people could talk about their children’s accomplishments to an audience that truly understood. I mean, it’s normal to see on Facebook etc the proud parents posting about their honor roll student or their star athlete or the recent MIT acceptance letter. If someone posts on Facebook that their kid sat through dinner in a restaurant or wore a pair of shorts or played with a neighbor it may seem odd. To most people, these things are commonplace.
On the community brag page, everyone knew that these things were a big deal. We all knew that these things that parents talked about had not come easy. We cheered each other on.
It was nice.
This past weekend we went to a 3 year olds birthday party. There was a face painter and a balloonist. OK, so they’re not actually called balloonists. That’s someone who operates a hot air balloon. I looked it up. Anyway, at this party there was a face painter and a balloon artist? Balloon shaper? A person who makes shit out of twisting balloons.
Jay took some time deciding what kind of balloon he wanted. If you’re a balloon thingy maker, you are not going to get away with a sword or a dog with my boy. He finally came up with something; then he sat to wait his turn.
While he was waiting, I could see that preparations were underway to do the birthday song and the cake cutting.
Jay has VERY FEW sensory issues – for which I am grateful because I know they can be debilitating. However, I know my boy does NOT like the birthday song. For reasons unknown to me, he reacts very strongly to it. In the past it would have meant, screaming, crying, yelling – There was even a time where he pulled plants out of the ground. Yeah, not fun when you’re at someone elses house.
I went to him and quietly told him that I thought they were going to sing happy birthday soon and asked if he would be ok. He said no and immediately covered his ears and buried his head into my chest. I asked if he’d like to go to a room upstairs until it was over. He let me know that he did but also that he did not want to lose his spot in the balloon line. I suggested that we ask Mr Balloon Man if he could hold his spot because we’d be right back.
And that’s what we did.
We were nearly to the top of the stairs when we heard the first line of the song. He quickly dove into the nearest bedroom and closed the door.
There was silence.
After a couple of minutes, a smiling Jay said “I think they are done now.”
We opened the door and walked back down the stairs and he resumed his spot in the balloon line.
Jay got a balloon robot and in what was a first for the face painter, got his face painted to look like a slice of pizza.
All 4 hours we spent at the party were a success – And this is worth bragging about!
Not to be ignored is Ace. I don’t think I ever updated you guys on his report card. The final result came in and the kid got straight friggin A’s. There are no words really to tell you how proud I am of him. Under all the normal conditions this would be worthy of praise but I’ll leave you with this quote from the only “grandfather” they’ve ever known – Because he gets it.
“It’s all the more impressive when you consider where he’s coming from. I mean, from almost having to repeat 2nd grade to straight A’s in 6th grade. That’s impressive.“