When I phoned to RSVP I asked, seeing as it was on a pirate invitation, if the boys had to dress up.
"Yes....has he got any camouflage gear?", replied B's mother.
"It's a laser skirmish party....well it's not really because it's outside, so it's not really laser...but they'll be running around with guns doing skirmish......do you think L will be all right with that?"
"Ahh....yes", I said gathering my thoughts, "and if he's not we'll deal with it."
This party had all the hallmarks of being problematic if ever there was one! Not to mention that I have never purchased a gun or weapon for L, apart from the super soaker for the pool and the odd sword for dress ups. He does however have a plethora of video games that involve the odd shoot up, shoot them down action. All that aside, he's never been one to 'play' soldiers etc.
Leading up to the party I tried to explain to L what was going to happen.
This is particularly important because L has a severe receptive and expressive language disorder. Communicating and understanding his surroundings and peers is often extremely difficult. Melt-downs are inevitable. Explaining the day's proceedings was made even more important when one of the mums came up to me at last week's birthday party (must be birthday season!) and said that they'd been discussing whether L would cope whilst they were all standing on the sidelines at football that weekend. Now L's abilities are the subject of mother gossip....and some are brazen enough to repeat it back to me! My jaw dropped open and for once every witty retort I'm very capable of delivering fell silent as I just nodded and agreed rather meekly, "that of course he would be."
We got to the party and had another quiet word. I told L that if he didn't like it, that would be OK but try and have fun.....what else do you say?
The set up was fantastic with inflatable barricades and the guns which operate on infra-red sensors were impressive. The boys were super excited.He lined up for the briefing with the boys. There were a lot of instructions presented by the gruff co-ordinator in army fatigues. I worried about how much he was absorbing but he was getting the slapstick and keeping up with the jokes.
Teams were assigned. L was in red which was positive as that's his favourite colour.They played. He played. He contributed. He was involved. There was no melt down. No tears (only from the losing team which was blue!). He had a blast.
I went home a very happy mum, surprised at L's ability to handle the sitations that I think (and other people by all accounts) he won't cope with and left L to tell the tale. Good on you L!
Let's hope the discussion at this week's football game will consist of what a good team player L is!