Thursday, March 19, 2015

Painting in Blue

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Last week, I tried to muster up the courage to try something new for both Noah and Luke.  Sometimes our world feels so small and confined.  Like there isn't anything outside our front door.  We merely exist between these walls in the house, only leaving for therapy and to fetch groceries.   And as hard as it is, and let me tell you it's really hard to sometimes get out in public with Noah, and Luke at the same time, I thought maybe we'd try a free painting class hosted by Whole Foods just up across the street.   I knew I'd need an extra set of hands so I begged Chris to take off work - something he hates doing.  He's loyal to his job, and knows we cannot do without money for him taking a day off.   But he agreed knowing it was important to me to try to offer our boys a different experience. 

I knew it would go one of two ways; Noah would either love it.  Or he would hate it.

And then Luke - my wild card.  Not having a multitude of social opportunities with peers his age, I wasn't sure what he'd think of painting with other children.   Noah's grandmother had bought Noah an adaptive glove with a paintbrush for his last birthday.  We took it with us to see if Noah wanted to use it for painting.  We strapped it on, and he started his whine.  His whine that serves as a warning that he'll have a tantrum if you don't heed his warning of displeasure.  We thought maybe he'd work through it, give him a moment and let him paint some blue on his board and he'd get the hang of it and find it fun.  But the with the whine he added in his extensor tone and arched backwards in protest.   He didn't want to paint.   I was sad, but Chris loaded Noah back up in his wheelchair and just toured the store so I could allow Luke an opportunity to keep painting.  Luke was somewhat interested.  He painted his whole board blue but then fizzled in interest when he had to wait for it to dry until the next step.  When he was finally able to move forward with painting a lady bug on his blue background he decided the all the colors needed to be blended together for his interpretation of what a ladybug should look like.   I stared at Luke's cheddar crackers given to him by the store, still bummed that I tried so hard to line something up for Noah to be included and he wanted no part of it.   Luke ignoring any direction from the art director and continuing to swirl about his random design often getting up to walk around slightly and tried to escape so he too could go shopping, I picked up a brush and painted a ladybug on Noah's board for him, even painting his name on it as if he had completed it himself.  

All the kids finished their paintings and lined up for a group picture.  All except Noah who was touring the store in his wheelchair.   I tried.  And failed.   A wasted a day off for Chris for what I hoped would be this memorable and fun activity.  I wound up pacifying Luke with a cookie to coax him to sit behind Noah's wheelchair, and off we went for the comforts of home. 

I go over a million times in my head how to make things like this work.   Noah's unpredictable, which thereby makes it hard for Luke to do something if Noah doesn't want to be there.   My encouraging mother telling me it was just my first public try at something with them together and that I shouldn't give up that they are both just new to engaging with the world.  And then that awful feeling of failure runs through your veins that you are not doing enough to make things work out well for your children.

It was so wonderful that Whole Foods was willing to include us, I spoke to them several times about Noah in advance and they were so welcoming so I was extra disappointed when he wasn't a bit interested in painting.  It makes me feel hesitant about trying to line up something like this again, knowing that it didn't go well.  And that I need extra hands in the event that Noah wants to leave and Luke wants to stay - or if Luke wants to go and Noah wants to stay... and it's not like we can ride out Noah's tantrum in a store... he'd scream so loud you could hear him in the next state.  What is a mom like me to do... except paint it blue?


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.