Last week MK's teacher announced a class sleepover in the gym for team-building and fun. Not surprisingly, MK did not like the idea. His aide got him out of the classroom before he started crying, so he didn't loose any street cred, but the idea was pretty frightening for him.
Notwithstanding his legitimate objections (playing with those kids will be hard work, he reminded me) we felt it was a good opportunity get familiar with the other kids and get to know his teacher. In fact, I blogged here, last year, to the effect that the school year should start (rather than finish) with informal social events for the kids. We were also pretty sure he could handle it. His anxiety has been exceptionally low and -- get this-- his aide was going to be there. I think that is amazing! How many school-provided aides volunteer for sleepover duty?
We all told him that we thought he would have a good time and that it would be a good idea for him to go, but that the decision would come from him. We discussed it every day for four days, going over worries and objections and offering vague bribes (oops, I mean incentives). On Sunday he decided to cut a deal and offered to participate in exchange for a much-coveted video game. After that, reluctance turned to enthusiasm, and by the time the day rolled round, he was feeling sorry for the few kids who were not allowed to attend for religious reasons.
He did very well indeed and enjoyed the whole thing with no panic and only a few patches of minor worry. He joined in all the activities and games and came out of it feeling happy and confident.
MK has one friend who he has regular play-dates with now (amazing to think that his first one was just two months ago) and, as it happens, this friend had the same teacher last year, but did not benefit from a start-of-year sleepover. So the friend asked MK to come to a sleep over at his house. MK, who would not even discuss one-hour play dates, six moths ago, said, "Sure, I don't have a problem with that."
That is where he is now. In fact, he has been gone since early afternoon and his mum and I took advantage of the occasion to go and see an excellent movie (This Is England), of the short that we would never be able to see with MK. In a few minutes we are going to a restaurant (Tunisian-French) of the sort that MK would hate. Ah, bliss.