Thursday, March 23, 2017

First Practice

Here's the deal, Aedan is now 8, he was recently officially diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, and you can add that to his previous diagnoses of Sensory Processing Disorder and Generalized Anxiety. With all of this on our plates and two other kids with their own quirks OF COURSE I decided to let this be the year that Aedan can finally join a sport.

Soccer. Yes, Aedan begged me to do soccer and I finally gave in, so I laid down the money hoping we would at least make it to a practice, maybe even a game, but willing myself to be accepting if it doesn't work out. I don't know if you are aware of this or not but it takes sometimes an hour or more of pep talking to get Aedan to do something new, and that is IF HE WANTS TO DO IT.

I love my first born, he is amazing, but I know how hard it can be to get him to do things that scare him, and I knew this would be scary. After weeks of not having a coach and days ticking down to the first practice I began to wonder if it was even going to happen. Part of me was hoping the whole thing would be called off, but the wiser and more loving part of me knew that this was something that we had to do, we really had to try this.

Tuesday was the first practice. I spent all morning pep talking Aedan, cheering him on and preparing him. He was nervous, he flipped between being excited to go and not wanting to go at all. He wore his shin guards and soccer socks almost the whole day for a practice that didn't start until 6pm.

The entire time I was prepping him for how amazing he would (hopefully) do I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I worried about how the coach would handle him, how the other kids would handle him, and prayed that no parent would be rude enough to comment about a special needs kid being on their team, because frankly I did not want an assault charge. I am mama bear, hear me roar.

Practice time came and we were there early, it took me three minutes to talk Aedan out of the car and we walked to the field to get his jersey. When the coach showed up he was very nice and a few other kids showed up, only 6 of the 8 kids ended up being present for practice, and then they jumped into the basics.
Aedan was an eager beaver, he jumped right in and ran his lap, talked with the other kids and even the coach, and followed directions amazingly. For 50 minutes of the hour he did everything that was asked of him until a small hiccup.

The coach rolled a ball toward the goal and had each kid run up to kick it in, unfortunately Aedan is not the swiftest runner and could not catch the ball before it rolled into the goal. Anger. He stepped off the field, he was mad and I could tell it from a mile away. I walked up and talked to him and he said "soccer is stupid," "I am done," and "I hate these people" but after I spoke with him for a few more minutes he started to calm down, he still said he was done and didn't want to come back, but when the coach switched to letting the kids kick a ball up on their own to kick into the goal Aedan joined back in. He didn't run the last lap or huddle up with his team but joining back in for a little while was a huge accomplishment.

At the end of practice the coach praised Aedan despite his refusal to look at him while he did so, and once we got in the car he was contemplating going to the next practice. By the time we got home he had decided that he was trying again next Tuesday, and we will see how it goes, but in my eyes it was a huge success.

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