Thursday, April 16, 2009

Will He Get a Second Date?

Four months after Logan was born, I went back to work. It was hard but I had no choice. I needed the money and I never really imagined I'd be a stay-at-home mom anyway, let alone to two ADHD kids.

I found out that there were a lot of disadvantages to being a work-outside-of-the home-mom (a term I learned from moms who work inside the home). Aside from missing my son and missing his developmental milestones, the other major loss was that Logan couldn't have consistent playdates with other kids. I've shot for weekend playdates and that didn't work out either.

Why? Logan was being cared for by my sitter and most stay-at-home moms did not want to waste a playdate talking with sitters while the kids play. They much rather make it enjoyable for both child and mom and so they will invite another mom friend, most likely another stay-at-homer to come over for a playdate with her child. I understood that so I desperately tried to organize playdates between two or more sitters, especially in the winter when Logan wouldn't have any place to go.

It never worked. No one except my sitter wanted to do it and that made me feel tremendously guilty and a little suspicious. Even though, he hadn't been evaluated, I guessed I did sense something was wrong. He rarely ever got a second date from anyone even when I was home but since he was only a toddler, I thought people were just busy since the only time I could do playdates were on weekends.

After Spencer was born, I was home for a while before I had to go back to work so I tried really hard to help Logan make friends. Sometimes, I was successful and I had some kids come over but it was always me calling them and they never called me. My poor sweet Logan.

I got hit a bit hard with reality one day when I figured out that a boy in my apartment building was having a birthday party in his house and they didn't invite Logan. I knew some of the boys and the moms who were going and they knew that I lived in the same building as the birthday boy. When they saw me in the lobby that day, I guess they assumed Logan would be going too. One mom tried to hold the elevator door open for me so that we could go to the party together but I told her that I was on my way out to pick up Logan from the bus stop. A few minutes later, another friend asked me which buzzer was the birthday boy's apartment thinking that I was invited too and I told her that I didn't know but to look for her last name on the wall. That was really awkward. I guess that mom figured out that Logan wasn't invited. Maybe the birthday boy's mom didn't want Logan at her house because of his hyperactivity or perhaps she only wanted her son's school friends to go to the party. Logan goes to special ed preschool so he has a disadvantage making local friends too.

Can you blame her for not inviting my little guy? I wonder what I'd be like if Logan didn't have ADHD. Would I make him avoid the hyperactive kids or would I teach him to be kind to all kids. I wish I knew but now I consider this experience almost a gift because I believe Logan could learn from playing with anyone despite their differences. We had a playdate with a child with autism the other day and it went so well that we're definitely doing it again! I think Logan can learn a lot from his new friend. She is tons more calmer than him and I have a feeling he will use all his newly learned social and speech skills to try to "bring her out" more.

This week, Logan was able to have a playdate with another new friend named Olivia. Olivia was older than Logan but that didn't really matter. They did so well together that I enjoyed a cup of coffee and while chatting away with Olivia's mom, my friend. It was a great day. I noticed that his play skills seemed to improve. It was easy to tell since there was no meltdown, no time outs, and there was a lot more compliance. Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done but I'm glad he's improved. Most of all he had fun and I think his playmate did too. I think it might have helped that I remembered a couple of tips from Good Friends are Hard to Find by Fred Frankel.

I love it when he has a successful playdate. Olivia's mom encouraged me to keep trying to go on them. Even if I end up leaving early one day because of misbehavior, Logan would get the message: Play nice and stay or Not play nice and be sent home. I should reinforce his good behavior more because I think he did pretty well. Hopefully my little guy will get a second date- the best reinforcement of all!

Picture: Olivia and Logan play Wok-n-Roll. As an Asian American, I am not sure how to feel about game called Wok-and-Roll but if you had it, you'd see that it promotes turn taking, perseverance, and fine motor skills. They loved it and I loved that they loved it and had fun.

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