Wednesday, 7 December 2011
FD is 13 years old and has NEVER had a sleepover. She's never been invited to one and she has never hosted one. Her best friend in school won't do sleepovers because she has toileting issues and is not comfortable sleeping in someone else's house. Well, we were asked to have my husband's nieces overnight to allow their parents to go out for the evening. We reluctantly agreed, but told them we could not guarantee their girls would come back in one piece as we know that FD is not altogether comfortable around small children, particularly this pair as they are as mad as a box of frogs! They are aged 6 and 8 and looking after them is about as easy as herding cats! FD can usually only tolerate them for a couple of hours due to their unpredictability, mad running about and their capacity for noise! So, typical kids! So, overnight was going to be a challenge!
After some preparation, FD felt that she could cope with the girls coming to stay. It was only one night so that was manageable. In order to cut down on FD's stress, the girls, or affectionately known by my husband as Bit and Bot, came already fed with dinner, so I didn't have to worry about rushing in from work and start finding something to eat for them as they can be picky eaters. One picky eater in the house is more than enough thank you very much! Granny, (my mother in law) who has recently realised that she didn't know as much about autism as she should, has been furiously reading books on the subject and was well tuned in to how FD might be feeling about Bit and Bot coming to stay. So, she volunteered to deliver them to our house , mainly I think so she could give them a mini lecture about being considerate to FD's needs. Good on granny!!!
Now, Bit and Bot are the type of children who usually run riot no matter where they go. They are uber enthusiastic about life! They scream with excitement about stuff and are generally super noisy! Hyper excitable children. Probably not the best children in the world to come and stay, but family is family and we love them dearly. Combine this with our over energetic super excitable puppy and my head was ready to explode 10 minutes after they arrived! Not their fault. They are just kids but I could see FD get more and more stressed. But, to her credit, she remained very calm and sat on the sofa with her ipad. She didn't scream once or try to bounce anyone's head off a wall, which is always a bonus! Once the girls had settled down a bit it was pyjama time and a movie. This would keep them quiet! It was Alvin and the Chipmunks 2! I could see poor OH visibly pale when this was suggested. He hates that bloody movie! But bless him, he gave a valiant 'Yay' when the girls said this was definitely the movie they wanted to watch! FD has seen the movie at least 100 times so was able to commentate the whole way through it!
After the movie I stupidly hit upon the idea of having a disco in the living room! Bit and Bot were mega excited as Bit is a very keen dancer! So, the dancing got underway! To Christmas music! I was told that I had to dance too. Which I did. The lovely man that is my husband recorded the whole thing on his phone and sent it to his sister. Unfortunately my belly was hanging out of my pyjamas throughout so not a good look for me! What little street cred I had died that night! After about 20 minutes of manic dancing, it was clear that FD was now struggling badly. She had not wanted to join in with the dancing but had agreed to watch. But by now she was lying on the sofa with cushions over her ears. It was time to put Bit and Bot to bed.
I took the girls up to bed and played a few games with them. We chatted about silly girly stuff and I talked to them about the importance of not going into FD's room in the morning when they woke up and about being nice and quiet if they woke early, which they were guaranteed to do! I thought to myself that I was talking on deaf ears. There was not a snowballs chance in hell that they wouldn't be bouncing into all the bedrooms at the crack of dawn!
However, they next morning they woke up at 7am and were very quiet. They did as they were asked and the house was an oasis of calm! Well, apart from them trying to beat each other to death with a hair brush during an argument over a hair band but we'll let that one pass! OH made the girls a ginormous breakfast and then I painted their toenails the brightest orange I could find! Their mother would be pleased! FD eventually got up and still remained calm, had her breakfast, which she never usually eats, and went back to her room for a while as she was not ready to cope with them at that moment. Not long after that the girls were collected by the ever efficient granny who arrived with a box of chocs and a xmas plant for me!
All in all I think it was a pretty good experience. I am extremely proud of FD for trying so hard. This was a huge thing for her and she coped as well as could be expected. She didn't have one single meltdown but did stick to me like superglue. But that's OK. She wore her Superwoman knickers with pride! Who knows what we will try next!
Posted by JB JOHNSTON at Wednesday, December 07, 2011