I've talked before about mapping out firsts and pushing boundaries and expanding experience. Much of the time it's Leslie who does that legwork, and I'm dragged behind in her wake, not wholly resistant, but perhaps more skeptical. Lily started dance classes at the tail end of last year and loves it, and so why not go all in? Leslie talked to a friend whose son is in it, and I drove down to sign Lily up.
Here's how it works (as I understand it):
It's almost all ages. I saw a kid on the sign up sheet who was 19. The organizer splits them into two groups. There's a starter group and a more advanced group. Participants are paired with a buddy (if needed) who provides help and hand-over-hand as necessary. There are no practices. They just hit the ground running...or wheeling as the case may be. I told them to put Lily in the starter group because I'm not sure what she'll even do with a bat and she rarely catches the largest of playground balls, so a tee-ball is going to just bounce off her beautiful noggin. He said we could switch if the other group was a better fit.
I thought one of the cool things was when the organizer asked me whether there was a certain type of person Lily should be paired with. And I thought about all the people who work with Lily and who have success with her. Cheerful and positive and upbeat. And when those people work with Lily...Lily mirrors some of that back at them. I chewed on it for a minute before saying, "High energy, loud, positive, but not a pushover." He thanked me because he said some of the kids don't do well with all the stimulation.
This made me think about Lily in the mornings. When I wake Lily up for school she's often in a bit of a daze. She doesn't usually answer my questions. "How did you sleep?" (crickets) "Ready to get up?" (silence)
Once I put her on the potty and she has a chance to process, wake up, and catch up she starts responding a bit more. But what I was thinking about was that a long time ago (or so it seems) Lily used to fight that routine. She didn't want to sit on the potty, and we had to sit with her and convince her to try. And she could get a little frustrated with us, and during those times the absolute best way to snap her out of it was...to giggle. If you just laughed and smiled at her for no reason, you'd see the corners of her mouth turn up and she'd giggle back at you. I found that in the mornings everyday that I woke her (we take turns), I'd sit with her and put my head against hers and smile and laugh. And every time (or nearly so) she'd slowly grin and laugh with me, and she started her day in a good mood.
This morning when I thought about this in terms of a blog post I was thinking this was some sort of Lily-specific autism thing. Like I had some insight to share with people about what makes Lily tick that I'd gleaned. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought..."well, this is stupid. Isn't everyone a little happier with happier people?"
I thought how much it bums me out when I talk to people who are themselves bummed out. You want them to be excited to hear from you. You want them to be full of energy and fun to talk to, but they're not, and it's disappointing, and there's nothing you can really do about it and it sucks away at your own mood, and on the other side of it, when you're a little down and you're talking to a chipper cheerful person, it's hard to stay in that gloom (unless they're so chipper you want to punch them...you know who you are).
Anyway, it may be common sense, but it just wasn't anything I'd thought about. Lily is happier with happy people. Lily is more energetic with more energetic people. Lily stays more on task with people who don't allow her to stray.
So baseball will come sometime in April (he said whenever it starts staying warm and bright) and they'll put a bat in her ungentle hands, and then (as I posted on Facebook) it'll be Thunderdome, with Lily swinging the bat without regard for her teammates and I just pray they understand the ramifications because I really don't want the Challenger League to earn its title by exploding minutes after takeoff.
|Lily paired with Blaster. I feel like this is a good pairing. He's positive, upbeat, takes no shit...welcome to Thunderdome, bitches!|