Monday, November 22, 2004

SI smackdown

My son has a classmate who lives nearby (at least, on the every-other-weekend the boy stays with his father), and although he's been over to our house a number of times, I haven't felt they've ever quite "clicked" in terms of being on the same level for satisfactory play. While they appear to be pretty similar in their special needs, and my son is probably ahead of him academically, the other boy is far more independent, and more advanced in motor skills. Part of that, of course, is because of me. I've written here before that I don't let my son out of my sight when he's out of the house, and while I still maintain that's the only responsible position for his health and safety, it does tend to cut down on independent thinking -- and since he can't run around or throw a ball or ride his bike without having to wait on my schedule, he's probably even more delayed in those areas than he would otherwise be. On the other hand, I see his classmate running around with no supervision, knocking on our door at various times of day with nobody seeming too concerned where he is, doing dangerous tricks on his bicycle without a helmet, and it seems a wonder to me that he hasn't been abducted or severely injured. It's good to be independent, but there are limits.

So there's been a certain dissonance in their interests and ability to play together. My son's not as good as sports as his classmate, and his mommy won't let him go riding off on his bike when it's cold or rainy or she has something else to do. I keep them inside playing video games, but even then the classmate is significantly more skillful and, frankly, interested. My guy will play for a while, but it's not entirely his thing. The games he'd be more interested in playing -- bingo, Connect 4, maybe a puzzle -- the other boy seems to consider beneath his level of maturity. But yesterday I found one thing they were both interested in doing, fairly well-matched in, and enthusiastic about: wrestling.

I'd set up an inflatable trampoline, one of those things with net walls around the sides, thinking they could jump for a while and blow off some steam (since I'd refused to let them go play soccer in the rain). After a few preliminary bounces, they started tussling with each other and kept it up until they were too hot and sweaty to go on. I kept hovering in fear that someone was being picked on, but they both assured me repeatedly that they were playing and having fun and not mad or hurt or upset. The way the fingers and the feet were flying, I thought sure someone would put an eye out. But they emerged calm and friendly, eager to try it again after a snack and some juice. I guess it's some form of Commando Sensory Integration Therapy, giving two hyposensitive proprioceptive systems the jolts and jogs they needed. Does homeowner's insurance cover mishaps with stuff like that?

No comments: