Saturday was a great day for Bird (my 9 y.o with autism) and he played beautifully. He plays on a regular league with kids in 4th-6th grade and despite likely being the 2nd youngest on the team (his twin being the youngest) he seems to play with a great deal of speed and some skill.
He started playing soccer in a regular league. I feel like more advanced kids only advance through challenge and it was a challenge! He was awful in the beginning and yelled at A LOT by his Dad the coach…much more than the rest of the team and wow did it suck to watch him suffer. Many a day I wanted to walk away and avoid watching the horrible car accident that was Bird on the soccer field but I didn’t and it got better and better each year. My most dreaded memory though was when during a game he score on his own team while his sister was goalie! I truly doubt he will ever live that down with her but the rest of us have moved on. Now, 2 years later Bird is not okay in soccer he is really good.
Flash forward to last weekend when we had a game and Bird though he was going home for a playdate with another child on our team (soccer is good for so many reasons not the least of which is the occasional playdate and 2 birthday parties he would not have been invited too if he had not met the kids on the team). Bird thought as we did that we was going to have a sleep over with the child not a play date. The father told us no that it was a 3 hour play date and he would drop off Bird at 3pm.
This brought a lot of stress and sadness real quick into Bird’s thoughts and eyes. I explained to him once that we could do nothing about it and that he should move on and enjoy the playdate and we would figure something else out afterwords.
He was about to irrupt in front of lots of kids from school and on his team and I felt a twinge of panic. I leaned down a little (he is 5’1″ at 9 years old so not to far) and mentioned that his friend and friends Dad were leaving and we were leaving so he could stay on the field and cry or pull himself together and leave.
SUCCESS! He understood (from previous experience) that we would kill the play date and possibly make it all the way up to the car without him if he did not get it together and move on.
Later after the play date I explained that I understood he was sad and angry about not spending the night and that sometimes things do not go as planned. He did get his favorite Plan B that night and slept at his Aunt and Uncles house where he played video games into the wee hours of the night and enjoyed the love of his family!.