Our guy doesn't like crowds, especially crowds in echo-y places (like a school gym). An with that said, he doesn't like loud noises either. He has an aversion to touch. He used to not like it when people sang, and often still tells me not to sing. He can be described as shy, but I think that is changing. Sometimes he is shy but sometimes he is charming and outgoing. You kind of just never know. Sometimes he freaks out, sometimes he's smoother than butter. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it and we are often surprised. Things that we think will be really hard for him he glides through. The things that we think are no big deal, can totally undo him.
Yesterday evening Calder had a Spring performance at his elementary school. He has been coming home for the past couple of weeks singing a lineup of wonderfully cute songs about respect, worms, cookies, You Are My Sunshine (in ASL!). I didn't realize this was in preparation of a kinder-2nd grade concert. He sang the songs alot around the house but never mentioned to me that it was for a performance that he needed to attend in the evening on a weekday. (Thursday at that, our busiest day of the week).
With that said, let me paint a picture for you: 45 minutes before the performance he wanted to cook pasta. He wouldn't let me cook it, he had to do it. I let him, in fostering his independance. But he is slower than me, relishing every single measurment and moving of the stool all over the kitchen to different cabinets and countertops. Rice pasta takes an unbelievable time to cook and so it wasn't ready in time to eat before the performance. Pasta leftovers are just too yucky for him nowadays. Too coagulated.... I got a little flustered.
Then he goes through this craft project pertaining to the song lineup. I realize this is a form of processing and organizing for him so I try to stay cool. First he takes out the letter stamps and inkpad and proceeds to stamp out all the titles to his songs he is going to be singing. After that, I try to get him to the door, but then he insists on cutting out all the titles and gluing them to a different sheet of paper, and then cutting THAT paper down to size! Keeping my cool. I don't want to stress him out with all my stress. It can be catching in our house.
Once at school, they seat the parents. We wait a half hour, then all of the kindergarden, 1st and 2nd grade kids come out and sit shoulder to shoulder on the bleachers facing all the parents. Calder sits there for a long time playing and laughing with the cute blonde sitting next to him that I have never seen him talk to before. I am already a proud parent and the performance hasn't even started.
Fast forward a few songs.... He is singing, watching the music teacher direct, doing all the hand movements that go with the music. He watches (mostly) the skits done by the older kids and THEN, after I don't think I can get any prouder, he stands up on cue and quietly walks on over to the soprano xylophone, sits down and picks up the mallets. Let me pause for a moment to tell you that it has been a dream of my husband's that our child play the marimba one day......
HE PLAYED THE XYLOPHONE!!! He kept great rhythm! Grant it, it was only one chord from what I could tell but who cares? Who thought to put him on the xylophone? Was it his idea, did his music teacher see his potential or interest? He was the only kindergardener (from what I could tell)on one of only 4 instruments. I am sure every parent was beaming with pride that night. But my beaming was not only from what I was seeing with my eyes and hearing with my ears. It also was in knowing what challenges and anxieties my particular child carries with him all the time wherever he goes. And it was in knowing that he overcame all those anxieties in a beautiful, perfect 45 minutes!