|Enjoying sparklers in the garden|
We've had highs and lows this week, coming thick and fast on top of each other. I'll start with our first high... Brownies. It's not ideal that I have to attend every session now as Sophie's helper, but I'd rather that than her not be able to attend at all. Sessions have been somewhat up and down so far, as Sophie struggles to sit and listen for any length of time. Colouring in or crafting? Great. Exercises or games? Great... as long as she can be first or decide what they are. Anyhow, you get the idea.
This week Sophie took part in her Brownie Promise ceremony and became enrolled as a 'full' Brownie. I wasn't at all sure that we'd be able to do this with Sophie like we did two years ago with Tilly; normally it involves the Brownie-to-be learning and then reciting the Promise alone whilst standing in the middle of a circle and being turned around and around by the other Brownies.
The whole pressure of being singled out would probably have been too much for Sophie, and although she seemed unaware of what might be asked of her on her 'special day', she did manage to make it clear, even if we weren't able to discuss it in a straightforward manner, that she did want to become a 'proper' Brownie. Luckily Brown Owl came up with a cunning plan; all the Brownies (it's quite a small pack, which is actually a big plus for Sophie) were to stand in a long line and recite the Promise all together.
|Sophie in the line up, trying to get her finger sign right|
Next was on to the end of the week and Sophie's first Junior School disco. I was quite surprised, but at the same time pleased, when Sophie told me the previous week that she would like to go to the disco. It's kind of one of those 'rites of passage' things I think, and a social experience which friends can enjoy together. Having helped out at one before when only Tilly was at the Junior School, I knew how noisy and crazy they could get, and I was pretty sure it wouldn't be a great environment for her. But I loved that she was willing to give it a go - although to be fair, she didn't really know what it would be like. I didn't try to put her off by telling her! She picked her favourite My Little Pony outfit and we were all set.
We arrived early, and that was a smart move as I suspected, as the disco hall dance floor was empty, and the lights still on, and music playing fairly quietly. Sophie found a lovely friend from her class who was happy to dance around with her and she really enjoyed herself... for about 15 minutes. Then the lights were turned off, the lights started to flash and more and more children arrived (including more friends to dance with Sophie) - and can anyone tell me why they have to scream so much as they enter a room?! Sophie battled on valiantly for a while, but then pulled me to the outside hall area, where it was still so loud that I almost couldn't hear her. I could tell she was starting to get distressed at the huge sensory overload and she asked to leave, as soon as possible. So we did a Cinderella, leaving Tilly behind to have masses of fun with her BFF... Sophie had managed 30 minutes in total, which was more than I thought possible. Differences highlighted and highs and lows experienced again.
Finally, at the weekend was our local organised fireworks display in the village near to where we live. We have tried this as a family over previous years, and last year I ended up walking home with Sophie about 5 minutes before the fireworks started, as she wasn't keen on the bonfire or the waiting. I watched the fireworks over my shoulder as I retreated and sighed inwardly, wishing I could have still been there to enjoy them with Tilly (who had stayed behind with Daddy).
I made the call to try again this year; I remember Fireworks night as a happy family outing during my youth, so I guess I'm trying to recreate that. We also had grandparents down this year, so I thought it was worth another try. It was a rainy evening, which wasn't the best of starts considering Sophie hates the rain and usually refuses to go out in it... but we managed to wait until it was only drizzly and then encourage her out without too much time to think about it. We made it to the large field where she was slightly interested in the burning bonfire, but it didn't take long before she was asking for home again. I worked hard at distracting and trying to keep her there until the fireworks began, even bending down and letting her sit on my knees, at huge risk of falling flat on my face in the mud!
So we stayed until the first firework went off, and then watched another four or five before Sophie declared it was definitely home time and she dashed off across the field. I took some photos as we retreated - not bad for a little old iphone, don't you think?!
I'm actually very proud of how Sophie has coped with all the sensory issues this week - the difficulties are obviously there, but she is working harder to overcome them where she can. At the same time I'm relieved and pleased that Tilly doesn't experience these problems, and that she can go out and have fun with her friends and join in like all the other typical children. Tilly would of course rather we were all together as a family, but she shows a great caring and understanding attitude towards her younger sister... most of the time!