Today we went to a giant indoor play place. It was our first time there. The boys were having a great time. At one point some older boys arrived. I found out later it was a set of twins and their friend. They were probably 7 years old. And they were not such nice kids. There was alot of gymnastic mats and tumbling stuff. All the kids were playing together. Ciaran was building a house with stuff and had all kids helping him.
So the bigger kids decide the little kids can't play "with their stuff". They were being bullies. I am not a fan of bullies. Especially when it involves my children. I decided to just watch it unfold and see what my boys would do. Ciaran wasn't really trying to play with them so he wasn't so involved. Colin got upset and came to tell me. But not before he came to me I heard him say "If you are not going to be nice to me I am not going to be nice to you".
Cormac, well, that is a whole other story. He stood his ground. He had his hands firmly planted on his hips. These boys were trying to "convince" him he couldn't play with these toys. Cormac would not hear of it. He used ONLY words. When the one boy got close to him (trying to intimidate him because he was much taller) Cormac leaned right in this big boys face and said "You can't tell us we cant play here. It is not your stuff". To which the boy said "Go, play over there" and pointed to the big jungle gym. Cormac said "No, you go play over there." and pointed to the jungle gym. As parents we worry so much. As a parent of a child with any sort of disability we worry a little bit more. Since Cormac was born I have heard from every specialist, teacher, you name it about "self advocacy". Well, after witnessing today, I am pretty sure it is working :). Cormac held his ground. He was using only his words. He was never outmatched in the conversation and he most certainly was NEVER at a loss for what to say to defend himself and all the other little kids who were trying to play nicely. I could see his green lights on his implants flickering away.
I was watching very closely because I didn't want these boys to lay a hand on Cormac. You would think their father would have been the one to intervene. He just sat there and did nothing. And my kids we NOT the only kids these kids were trying to bully. I did go over and talk to all the kids about sharing and playing together. Let me tell you, these other boys were telling me how "all these kids have to get out of here". At this point lots of other moms were coming over to their own kids. One mother said to me she couldn't stop watching Cormac because she was so proud of him for how well he handled himself.
My kids were not the only kids trying to play with the same stuff as these kids but my kids were the only kids who did not back down. They never did anything wrong. They used their words and their will power. I was surprised at Cormac. I never saw this side of him before. But it makes me happy to know he can advocate for himself.
They also had a rock climbing wall and the boys loved it.