Musings from an Orthodox Jewish work at home mom of twins with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Archive for July, 2019

Part Two: Bas Mitzvah Story

To catch you up in case you missed the last post:  I threw my daughter a Bas Mitzvah party a couple of weeks ago. It was called for 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. From 5:00 to 6:00, things were GREAT. My husband and I gave little speeches, my kids were eating and enjoying, and everyone was schmoozing and the weather was perfect.

 

Part Two……  (insert ominous music here)…… Right around 6:15 pm, my daughter AND my son (one always sets off the other) decided to let their autism flags fly. The tears, the screaming, the running off— it all started in full force fairly quickly. Though there were a few stares of complete disbelief (who can blame them), most of the people there quietly mobilized. By 6:40, all tables were stripped, food was put away, everything was in one place to put in cars, and people were leaving. I hadn’t lifted a finger except to response block my children and try to sing to one and have my husband take the other away (tried to have him take both home but failed there– he was NOT in a good place at that point)….. I felt badly because a few people showed up at 6:30 and one person showed up at 7:00—- so they didn’t get to eat or schmooze— they just got to witness the total chaos. When the kids were in bed that night and a friend came over for leftover cake, I checked my phone—– 8 texts from people who were there asking if I was ok and if the kids were ok. Amazing. If you didn’t know the hours of therapy and doc appts and medication changes (today we saw a new psychiatrist— YAY!) we’ve been through— you would simply see a girl being a total BRAT at her own party—- setting off her twin brother— and creating total insanity. But without fanfare, people from all aspects of my kids’ life came together to clean up the party and drive stuff back to my house. Autism won that night but it was also such a kiddush HaShem— people cleaning up, throwing out trash, putting everything in cars, and quite honestly, after a double autism meltdown it’s the adults who get the adrenaline hangover—- all my kids will remember is the friends who came, how much fun the first hour was, and memories from the fun they had (I hope!). Now since she’s a twin and I did her party 6 months late, I have a BAR Mitzvah in January—- catastrophe can’t possibly hit our simchos twice, so it should be lovely! Davening. 🙂

It’s Her Party and She’ll Have An Autism Meltdown If She Wants To

Of my twins, Wilma is typically the “higher functioning” of the two, autism wise.  She’s the one who didn’t get kicked out of public school.  She’s the one who can have a conversation with you with relative ease even if she doesn’t look at you.  She’s the one who can generally run an errand or walk through the neighborhood without a horror show ALWAYS happening.  Her meltdowns are severe, but relatively rare these days.  Except….. at her own Bas Mitzvah party.

I planned a 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm dinner event in  a park, half a year after she turned 12, so that we could be outdoors with fresh air, with a playground to which my kids could escape (and all of their friends with special needs), and so that it could be informal (read:  budget of $500 and not a penny more).  I rented the covered picnic pavillion, paid for $200 worth of pizza, an $80 cake, bought $100 worth of sodas and papergoods, sent out the facebook invites and the actual written invites to the few facebook holdouts, and prayed.  I prayed a lot.  I had her write a speech.  It was short and sweet, much like Wilma herself.  *I* wrote a speech—- just a few “Wilma-isms” I’ve collected over the years.  I allowed her (and Fred) to wear whatever they wanted.

The first hour of the party was perfect.  Gorgeous weather, fun with friends, I gave my speech and my husband gave his.  Wilma didn’t want to give hers.  She pushed me and yelled.  I kept a smile on my face and offered to give it for her.  She refused.  A few minutes later she went to the bathroom.  I QUICKLY gave her speech while she was in the bathroom and told the 50 people present “shh don’t tell!”  She had no idea, so even that went off without a hitch.  Non Jewish public school friends were schmoozing with Jewish community friends—- beautiful (and so rare in our community!)

In my next post I’ll describe the second hour of the party.  It was a teeny bit different than the first part.  It’s 1:20 am now— have you noticed I haven’t been making the time to blog?  Life is busy.  This party happened a week ago already.  Suffice it to say—– I needed that week to recover.  More to come!

 

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