$25 Target Gift Card and a whole bunch of back to school type stuff here.
Family four pack of tickets to Disney on Ice in Chicago for the Wednesday September 8 performance here.
Seventh Generation prize pack filled with cleaning supplies here.
Today we were invited to the house of one of Mister Man's best friends from school - yes, the one we carpool with and who asks her mom if she can marry Mister Man when she's older - for a party. I made the Twix bars (yum!), and off we went.
Mister Man and Little Miss were the only children aside from his friend, and she was thrilled we were there. We heard from her mom that she wanted to wait outside for us starting at noon. We arrived at 3pm. Yikes!
I was so proud of how nicely all of them played together. Mister Man - my autistic boy who doesn't always "get" how to play with others, nor is he really interested in interacting with them frequently - played with all of them the majority of the time we were there. He did the same things they did, and they invented and played games together.
My heart swelled with joy to see it.
But it gets better. I only wish now that I had taken video of it, but I of course didn't think of that until after I'd gotten home. His friend Violet (nope, not her real name - but isn't it pretty?) has a climbing dome in her back yard. Picture this like the jungle gyms we used to climb on as kids.
Mister Man has weak core strength, which leads to weak gross and fine motor, which means that athletic endeavors - especially climbing and balancing - are challenging for him. And his personality means that he's fearful in situations where he's off the ground, trying to balance, doing physical things, etc. When going on these apparati, he'll typically get just a few feet off the ground and call for help to get down.
Today? Not so much.
Not only was he climbing to the top of it (granted, maybe six feet high) and hanging out there, he was climbing down by himself. He was swinging from the outside to the inside of the climbing dome. He was jumping off from the second level of the climbing gym. And he was hanging upsidedown and doing "flips" on the climbing dome.
He has been doing occupational therapy to wore on his core strenth, upper body strength, and fine motor via a gymnastics studio for the last couple months, and I know his OT has been working on getting him to climb a parallel bar (using a mat against a wall) so that he can have his feet touch the bar, but he'd never figured out how to go to that next level and flip over - that or he was too afraid.
Today he did it - over and over - with no encouragement from anyone else, just by watching Violet do it. And then Violet went to the tree that grows in her yard and scaled it.
Mommy, I want to climb the tree, too.
He's never climbed a tree, and with his somewhat weak skills - and poor motor planning - I was a little nervous, but I wasn't about to tell him he couldn't do it. I gave him a little boost and talked him through what he needed to do - pull with your arms here, put your feet there, push now with your right leg, and so forth. He still needs that coaching, as it isn't natural to him to figure out how to climb a tree.
But he did it. And he was so proud of himself.
And of course, Little Miss (Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better) wanted to do it, too. I popped her up since she was too short to reach the first branch, and up she scampered with nary a word from me. Typical.
And yes, she gets a totally different angle - someone wore a skirt today (shhhhh! she didn't notice).
But Mister Man? Today was a little bit of normal that I loved seeing. He can do things, and after seeing what he could do with the tree he's decided he wanted to work on learning how to ride his bike, too.