Wednesday 13 September 2017

Bouncing and ball pits

Since the school term has restarted for all her classmates but not for Sasha, we've been filling our time in other ways. Mostly technology related, I'll be honest - me, reading documents and attempting to write perfect letters, and her, lots of education YouTube and gaming.

Sasha in a ball pit

Sasha has been reluctant to leave the coziness of home, and it takes a lot of planning and waiting for the right moment to get out. I've had to hunt around for ideas which might inspire her to agree to go outside, and most of them were rejected. Then at some point last week, Sasha suddenly developed the urge to play in a ball pit again and gave me the task of finding one.

My suspicion is that this was somehow driven by a YouTube video. Possibly the one from Skylander Boy and Girl when they fill a big pool with millions of balls. I'm sure Sasha is the biggest contributor to their billions of views, as that video has been on repeat here for at least a couple of years.

Anyhow last week we visited an old haunt, a soft play place which the girls occasionally enjoyed when younger. Neither of them were fearless or big climbers to be honest, so we didn't often frequent that type of place. The ball pit which used to be there has sadly been removed in favour of giant bean bags. This totally baffled me - which children ever want to sit down in a space with no electronics and relax?!

Sasha did have some fun in that soft play place though, including a few minutes on the bouncy castle. I'll admit that part of our trip was a slightly edgy experience for me. I explained to Sasha that she would need to be extra careful and stay in her own little corner, as she was at least twice the size of all the other children on it (bigger children do usually tend to be at school during the day). So she bounced gently on the spot for a short while before getting off the castle, but was later delighted to be able to get back on once the little children had got bored of it.

Sasha on bouncy castle

At one point Sasha tried to make friends with a two and a half toddler, which was interesting in its own way. It's that kind of interaction that I wish the people who are about to decide her future could see in person. Sasha spoke aloud to the girl but without looking at her, which meant that seeing as she was about three times as tall as the other girl, that girl had no idea that Sasha was trying to make friends. 

This lack of understanding around how to interact with other children socially is just one of the reasons why mainstream has become too difficult for Sasha.  

Anyway, our trip out could be classed as a partial success only, as Sasha came home saying she was disappointed overall because of the lack of ball pit.

So then we managed an outing to a smaller but more local play centre, and yay! We struck gold! Not quite enough balls in the ball pit for Sasha initially though, so she spent half an hour collecting balls from all over the equipment in a large bucket (which reception were only too happy to lend us) and returning them to the ball pit to make it deeper. She questioned why anyone would want to take the balls out of there in the first place... I don't know, why do little children do anything that they do?! 

One little girl came to help us and seemed to be looking up to Sasha (not just metaphorically), which was sweet. Not long afterwards though, Sasha came and said she would like to leave, even though she hadn't actually played in the ball pit herself since refilling it. Her words to me when I questioned why she didn't want to stay and play were 'well it was just an act of kindness, I mean it's good to do things which are kind for others isn't it?!' 

Indeed it is. I've taught her well.

Sasha sorting the supermarket

Today we visited our third play place in two weeks. Sasha had fun again, this time trying to tidy the supermarket by grouping all the same colour foods together. Of course, this was only fun until some poor innocent toddler wandered in to 'buy' something and was then told that they were spoiling everything... Personally I wasn't overly happy about our cost of entry this time (it's expensive not having children in school!) and the squealing toddlers, so I will remain hopeful that was our last soft play place for a while. At least until next week. 

Sasha and mum in soft play hell
Yes, I was forced to enter the dreaded soft play climbing frame! Luckily, I didn't get stuck...

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