Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's time to PARTY!

Baby was invited to a birthday party today. I went shopping with her earlier in the day to pick something out for the little girl in her class that I do not know. I asked Baby to tell me what this kid likes but she wasn't very helpful, distracted by all the Tinkerbell possibilities.

We settled on a Disney Princess Aurora Birthday Tea Party toy. Baby was very excited to go to this party. I'm recovering from a fever and bug so I was not overwhelmed with excitement but we were going. Without a doubt, an opportunity to socialize will never be turned down.

McDonald's knows how to host a party. There was a huge playroom, chicken nuggets and French Fries were plentiful. Baby tossed off her shoes minutes after walking in and began playing.

It was the parents' time to socialize. It was my time to sweat. I never know if the parents' in Baby's class know that she is on the spectrum. She's in an integrated class, half are typical functioning and half have IEPs. Can they tell? I think she presents herself very well and it is only as you spend an extended period of time with her that you can see her markers. Is a two hour party enough time for them to know or can I live the life for a little while of a mom with a typical kid?

I spoke to the other parents that I know. Their daughter is on the spectrum, her markers are harder but she is a sweetie and the parents remind me of my husband and myself-very down to Earth, looking for friends that understand but afraid of rejection yet every party we gravitate to each other. As I'm talking to them, I hear the birthday girl's mom talking to one of her established cronies.

"I had to invite one IEP kid or the school would have frowned down upon it. We have to be ACCEPTING."

My expression didn't change and I kept laughing and smiling but I was immediately conflicted. They didn't know that Baby was an IEP kid. YES!! The other part of me, the part that is a mother to moderate Autistics wanted to burst into to tears. It's that type of parent that makes me have night terrors that my children will have lonely lives. I wanted to scream, "You FUCKING IDIOT, Autism is Not contagious!" But I was silent, and I know exactly why. I wanted that moment. I wanted to be a normal, regular mom as badly as I want my kids to be accepted as regular kids.

We left the party and Baby fell asleep in the car on the way home. I was struck by how ill at ease I felt with typical parents. I thought back to the times I have met parents at Bugabuga and the CEO's school and their kindness. I think of the hesitant smiles of the parents and the gentle pushes to get the children to play. The understanding that we may not be able to talk but we may have to play together to model the behavior for our little ones. The look in their eyes that says, "I don't know you but are you ready to play Peek-A-Boo?"

I saw a picture of me from the party and where everyone else was relaxed and smiling. I looked pensive and worried. The photographer caught me waiting for something to go wrong but hoping that it wouldn't, hoping...

I left the party, knowing that I needed to have another party for no other reason than socialization for the CEO and Bugabuga. They need these experiences, just like Baby, even if I have to sponsor every single one.

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