Family Fun Night

Yesterday evening, the PTO at Philip’s preschool sponsored a family event on the campus of the local university. Peter declined to attend, but my parents agreed to join Philip and me for Family Fun Night. The theme was Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds.

Oh, the waiting is the hardest part

Despite getting up around his usual time and going on an outing to buy milk and play at the park, Philip did not take a nap before we went. Despite this, Philip did quite well. I could tell that he was tired, and he didn’t participate in every activity, but the evening was an overall success.

Attendees were divided into four groups that rotated through four stations. We started off in the snack room. While we waited for some supplies to arrive, the children got to color pictures of people engaging in various physical activities.

After coloring, the children moved to the snack tables. In keeping with the healthy theme, there were supplies to make ants on a log-celery, peanut butter and raisins. There were also graham crackers, cream cheese, juice and water available.

Hey-this plate is empty!

While Philip has been a great eater this week, even trying some new foods, I decided that I would stick with something safe and not too messy. I was pretty sure that he wouldn’t want peanut butter, and I didn’t think it was a good idea to spend the rest of the evening with either of us covered in the rejected substance. So, I offered him a plain graham cracker that he contentedly munched on. When he had finished that, I was brave enough to put three raisins on his plate.

A popsicle stick had been provided to each child so that they could spread peanut butter or cream cheese. Philip used his to explore the raisins. He poked at them with it. Then he picked up one and squished it with his fingers. Eventually, he actually touched the raisin to his tongue. Clearly not impressed, he put the raisin back on his plate. I couldn’t complain-at least he hadn’t thrown in. I gave him another graham cracker instead.

It was time for our group to move to the next station. We went to the room next door for a story. The activity leader read Eric Carle’s “From Head to Toe.” At the end of the evening, each family would receive their own copy of the book.  For now, she read it through once, then again, asking the children to copy the movements that the animals in the story did.

Reading and then moving to the story did not quite take the full twenty-five minutes alloted, so the leader used other games as filler. I helped Philip play Red Light, Green Light. We did not join in on Duck, Duck, Goose. Let me tell you, observing the game was entertaining. I knew that Philip would likely not understand how to play, but he wasn’t the only one. The chasing went in every direction and most children had to be reminded on what to do.

At this point, I was glad that my parents had agreed to come with me. I felt bad because I think it was somewhat boring for them. Not me. Unlike many of the other parents, I couldn’t just ask Philip to sit and listen to the book being read. I had my hands full.  Which was why I was happy to have extra sets of hands watching our coats and the diaper bag. Also, my mom was able to take pictures for me.

Our third station was creative movement. Philip could really get into this since there was music. During this session, I got to step back and do a little more observing. Philip and another child did have a collision, but no one was hurt. The crying had more to do with the shock of bumping into each other than to any injury. Plus, Philip was on the brink having missed his nap.

Really, I was impressed with the way that Philip handled the event. Here we were in a new place. We traveled to four different rooms, each with a unique and new environment. We were surrounded by many people who Philip had never met before. I think that fatigue was more of a factor than sensory overload in the times that Philip did get upset. Or, I could chalk it up to being asked to do things he didn’t want to do.

This was case in the fourth and final room. Mrs. T, Philip’s speech therapist, was leading the activities here. She started with something called Yogarilla. This is a yoga system designed for children that comes with pictures of a gorilla doing the various poses. The names of the poses are more kid-friendly. I was trying to help Philip with this, but he let me know he did not want me to move his body in the poses. And I can’t blame him for protesting.

Philip did enjoy the obstacle course. He kept wanting to pick up the rings that designated the spot to wait for one’s turn. Those and the hula hoops. However, he was interested in and did each of the activities. We went through the course several times.

I was most surprised that Philip did the last activity. Several of the parents were recruited to hold the hula hoops on end to form a tunnel. Philip crawled through just like the other children.

The evening was over. Philip got his book and a water bottle. Earlier, he had won a t-shirt. We gathered our things and headed for the car. We were off to my parents for pizza. Peter and Roscoe joined us there for supper so that we could talk about the evening.

After we ate, Philip started to get fussy, so I knew it was time to get home and give him a bath before he crashed. He needed some trampoline time after his bath, but was soon asleep.

The only downside to no nap? Here it is now 4 am. Philip has been awake since 2:30. At least I was smart enough to go to bed when he did last night instead of staying up to write this post. I had a feeling I would get another chance.


7 thoughts on “Family Fun Night

    1. It was only as I was putting together the post that I really thought about the potential for disaster. At least there were other adults there familiar with Philip’s needs, so no one placed any demands on him (or me) to participate at all or in a particular way.


      1. I think its great that afterwards you were able to take a look back and re-access how things went etc. What has worked for me taking a look at what worked or didn’t work during an outing and looking for ways that I could have planned ahead or had a couple of other plans as back up in case a little disaster happened. Remember to congratulate yourself….outings can be challenging and he’s learning to adapt 🙂


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