For a while at least. It seems, I had forgotten how to have fun. Fun became a destination. A bar, a boat, a place. If for example I was in the mood for some fun. I would plan it in a way that it would coincide with a payday (since I was hand to mouth). For something really fun. It had to be a payday and a weekend day. My week would be filled with what to wear, What to bring, and who was going. At the right time the excitement would bring me to the moment of lift off. Loading a car with friends and the supplies. Followed by the travel and discussions of who was doing what. When we would arrive it’s off to the races so to speak. Followed at least in my case by. “What happened?” “Did I have fun?” Fun had almost became a chore.
Fun finds me. I am gently woken by Dg (Daddy’s Girl). Standing in my doorway at 7am. She has on boots, pajama’s and a coat. Through my glazed over eyes I can make out the speech bubble above her head that reads, “Fun” . She says “Go for ride!” followed by “Daddys VX!”(the name of my truck).
Fun has found me. No planning, looking at the calendar, choosing the right clothing, no nothing really. I just throw on some socks (and pants,shirt,ect) out the door we go. After we get in the truck and even before we are buckled up. We have to set the tone for the ride. I place the blame for her bad choice of music at someone else’s feet (you know who you are). Dg requires POP music. “97.3 or 107.3!” she will say aserting herself as if to say “I’m in charge now”. Typically I am the master of my radio. Dg combats that assertion by way of a metronome strategy. Repeating the request’s feathering stims into the process as needed . “97.3 please” chin tap and repeat, next up “97.3 please” chin tap, hand flap, repeat. The final Chorus goes like this “97.3 PLEASE!” chin tap, hand flap, forehead slap, and repeat. I don’t typically allow it to get to the final chorus. Dg (Like most women) feels the need to tell me how to drive. I should add. I am a spectacular driver without help. “Right please, Left please, Go fast!” ect. All of this of while continuing to employ her metronome strategy to ensure compliance. But when we are really jammin to “97.3 please”. She switches to implement the use of her ET pointer finger and then a smile. All the time with her infectious laughing and one word jokes. The grand finale is seat dancing. Something that I admit to willingly participate in.
These rides are not uncommon. In fact they are, everyday. And they are not specific to me. I would estimate 3 to 6 rides a day. So lets check our math, people who feel sorry for me. That means if nothing happens during a given day. If its just a Blah grey day. I am having fun a Minimum of 3 to 6 times. And that is just for starters.
In order to have fun. You have to have fun. And what I mean by that, is you have to participate. Many of you may have a difficult time with the following image. But I can really “kick it with my little hommie”. Rarely does a day go by that I can not be found “bustin a move” to “I know you want it” or “What the fox say” (hate that song). In my opinion. There is no way that can not be fun.
She likes to run from one end of the house flapping her arms and laughing wildly. If that is what she wants to do,,, I’m in. She has never really been an exceptional chaser. Although she is a pretty respectable escaper. But guess what? I am a good chaser. I eventually will snatch her up, pin her down, and tickle the crap out of Dg. If she is going to flop down on my lap, She is getting the Gillywackers.
When the weather is good. We will run up and down the drive, across the yard, and roll around in the grass. We do go to the parks. But that has is its own storys. When its time to swim, Get out of here,,…Its On like Donkey Kong.
The thing about Dg and I would expect many kids who fall on the spectrum. Often they don’t engage in typical play. Other children are hesitant to engage her, And her attempts to solicit them are often not received as intended. But she has the energy of any child. At times maybe more. And she wants (I think) to interact with someone. Often I am lucky enough to be that person. While there are obvious differences in how she interacts with others. She still wants that plural play. We all do.
When Dg is not finding a release for her energy it tends to display itself in more challenging behaviors. Both at home and School. These behaviors increase as her pent up energy does. It is compounded this time of year when outside is just more difficult to do. We do go out and play in the snow. But that involves properly dressing. It involves her staying properly dressed. And the fact is bundled up stumbling around in the freezing cold is just not everyone’s cup O tea. I can’t empathize this enough. It involves her staying properly dressed
But what I think is lost on many. What people may not consider. This is fun. It is extremely fun. Really it probably borders on me being selfish. If there is crap happening at work. Or problems elsewhere. This is what picks me up out of the dirt. And I don’t even have to admit, I am doing this because I had a bad day. I can use Dg as my excuse. “I have to entertain her now”
My advice is this. If you are a parent, an aid, a teacher, or care giver. Allow yourself to have some fun. If they run, chase and tickle, If they dance, dance. If they stim. Give it a shot. Please don’t sit on the bench and watch them play alone. Get out there and have some fun yourself. It is instant fun, Its free fun, and its fun. Playing with Dg is therapeutic for me. If your feeling old, fat, slow, or bald. Find yourself an Autistic kid. they’ll make you feel better about that. If you are struggling trying to get through to them on a particular day. Take a break and play, It may open the door for you. I believe it is the fountain of youth.
Its good for you, us, me. To do something that is good for them.
Ps As I write this Dg overflows the bathroom sink causing a cascade of water into my basement office. Sooo much fun this girl is. It’s “party all the time” around here.