Yesterday, we took Isaac to a playground, and I watched as kids half his age blew past him on the equipment, giggling and running and leaping and climbing and swinging one-armed from bars and falling down and getting right back up again, all while my own son shuffled hesitantly up stairs and over bridges, clinging to railings, edging along walls, getting pushed aside as he failed repeatedly to move quickly enough to get out of someone else's way. Obviously overwhelmed by the heights, by the strange textures under his feet, by the bright colors and the rushing bodies and the noise. Afraid to climb the ladders there, afraid to go down the slide.
He was so determined to stay there, among the other children, despite his obvious fear and discomfort, despite his not fitting in. But finally after several minutes of halting exploration, he broke down and cried for me to come get him off a high ledge, because he was too scared to go back down the stairs he had climbed up to get there. I went up to the ledge, but I wouldn't carry him down. I made him walk down the stairs, holding my hand. He cried the whole way down, convinced he would fall.
I was feeling pretty beaten by Sensory Integration Disorder, yesterday.
But today, Isaac rode a pony for the first time. We've tried a number of times before now to get him to go on a pony ride, but he's always been absolutely terrified at the prospect.
Today I could tell he was scared, but he did it anyway. Under beating, bright sunlight, in a brisk, hot wind, surrounded by buzzing bugs and chattering children, he let a strange person put a strange, heavy helmet on his head.
"I won't fall, right, Mommy?" he asked.
"Of course not," I answered.
And he sat straight up in a saddle, and rode a wobbly little Shetland around a yard. Without a single complaint.
I was so proud of him.
Maybe we'll try the slide again on Tuesday.