Our church did a weekend VBS this past weekend - we had a Friday night event, Saturday morning event, and then our service was an extension of one of our VBS assemblies followed by a family service project and lunch.
Kevin and I were both involved as leaders so it was either use my mom as a sitter or ask her to accompany Toby who was technically old enough, at 3, to be part of "Puffin Preschool." And of course that's what I chose to do, because when I'm considering between A. Let him take it easy and be comfortable watching Jungle Book at Oma's or B. Push him to Try! Something! New! I'm pretty much always gonna go with B.
Even when B. comes after the first week of school with a whole new routine that included his new speech and occupational therapists.
My poor kid.
That would be my poor kid, in the orange, smack dab in the middle of things.
So Friday... Toby woke up at 4am and didn't fall back asleep till 9:30am en route to dropping Blue off at school. Great. I was able to transfer him to his bed where he slept till 12:30pm. I had no idea how this crazy, off-schedule morning would or wouldn't affect him. It wasn't changing the plan.
At the opening assembly I was on stage - it was my job to lead the first half hour segment and the music. Toby, wanting to be with me, kept storming the stage. It was frustrating for me because it was hard to remember what I was supposed to be doing/saying/leading with my kid running at me. So during one of the group discussion times when I could hop off the stage, I made it very clear to my Mom that Toby needed to be kept OFF THE STAGE. I still wanted him in the room because I knew he knew all the songs (We'd been listening to them in the car for weeks) and even some of the motions.
We got through it.
Then Puffin Preschool.
My mom seemed to think he was too wound up and wanted to take him home, but remember me? I'm Try! Something! New! girl. And my main task was over till I had to lead songs at the closing assembly. So Toby went to Puffin Preschool, and because he was so wound up, and boisterous, and chipper, his energy caught on with the other kids. And it wasn't too much. Most of the time. At one point he ran off to another room and I followed after him. I told him I wanted him to go back and "sit criss cross with his friends," and what does he do? Ignore me? Return but stay on the fringe? That joker goes back and weaves through the other kids until he gets right next to the teacher and practically sits in her lap.
Later we did a parachute activity where we popped up the puffin and my boy was In. Heaven.
Then we just let the kids take turns laying down in the parachute while the adults spun them in circles. That kid has never been happier.
But lest you think that it was all ponies and rainbows, at the closing assembly we had melt down and both my mom and I have bite bruises to prove it.
Day two: Not really sure how he did with opening assembly other than the one moment when he got away and almost made it to the stage but Kevin scooped him up just in time. My Tobes. He's fast. And he wanted his mama to be on stage.
After lobster craft and a color sheet, we had a silly game where the kids were supposed to push a ball with their heads while crawling. Of course, Toby showed ZERO interest in this. But he does like pretending to be a kitty cat and when he does this he crawls and meows, so I convinced him to be a kitty cat and he and I crawled together with the ball.
I'm not sure why I'm proud of when he participates at some level, but I am. I guess I'm trying to send him the message that he is meant to be with the other kids, doing what they do. Modification is fine. Just not separation.
Then I'm not really sure what he was up to, because I left him with my mom and went on to hang out with D, a boy age 10, who also has FX (I'll tell that story in it's own post - I have to.) He and I colored together a good bit and then he was just interested in my camera, so I showed him what to do and he took this picture of me:
But after a little bit Toby saw me and was screaming for me so I left D with my camera and took Tobes outside to calm down. When I finally got my camera back I discovered D had taken about 7 more pictures - some of them really good!
And so went Saturday...
On Sunday I left Toby in the nursery. My mom didn't come and Kevin drove to Tampa for a fantasy football draft. Alone, I couldn't manage it. Heck, I could barely manage Blue. From the stage, it was all I could do to stay focused and not call out his bad behavior from the mic!
But Toby joined us for lunch and happily stuffed his face with Cheetos like the rest of the kids. Then he played in one of the kids' rooms while Blue, Kaden and I did the project.
Even after multiple hours of being enclosed in a cramped space with LOTS of people (this was meant to be an outdoor lunch event, but that's hard to do during tropical storm feeder bands!) he kept it together the whole time.
(Oh look, he's shoeless and chewing on something? Yeah, that's about right.)
I still say he's better off for it. :-)