Saturday, July 9, 2016

First Sleepover

For many kids, a sleepover at a friend's house is a part of growing up, and the first time it happens is a rite of passage of sorts.

It is something we thought that Kai may never experience.

For one thing, he doesn’t really have any friends. Not the way typical kids do anyway.

In elementary school, there were some kids that he liked and played with, but it’s hard to say that they had a lot of truly interactive play. And since he started middle school a year ago, things seem to have gotten worse in that he doesn’t get along with most of the kids in his class.

But in late May, we reconnected with a family who have a boy a year younger than Kai who is also on the autism spectrum. Back when they were both in preschool, our mutual ABA therapist had helped arrange some play dates and the boys, while not exactly playing together the way most kids do, did seem to bond and enjoy each others’ company.

In the last month and a half since we reconnected, Kai has had a couple of Friday afternoon playdates with Timothy.

Yesterday, they took it a step further.

Back in May, Timothy’s mom first suggested that Kai could sleep over at their house one day. Kai latched onto the idea right away. But we weren’t sure that he would actually go through with it. After all, this is a boy who clings to Mom whenever he has to go to a therapy session that is a mere 45 minutes long. How would he ever survive a whole night without her?

But he kept asking when the sleepover would happen.

And so my wife worked out the details with Timothy’s mom, and this Friday was the big day.

My wife dropped him off at Timothy’s house. She said that Kai barely said goodbye to her, as he was anxious to get on with the fun.

Over the course of the afternoon and evening, there were text messages back and forth to see how he was doing. We found out that they first went to a nearby beach, then came back and had a picnic dinner out in the backyard. The boys played with plushies and Wii and Kai wanted to play the new Pokémon GO app. Timothy’s mom reported that everything was going very well.

My wife and I took advantage of the rare childless evening to go see a musical, Man of La Mancha, which was being performed at a local suburban theater. The play tells the tale of Don Quixote, a noble and idealistic man who does not see the world for what it really is, but rather lives in a world of his imagination. The most famous song from that musical is The Impossible Dream. It was great to have an evening to ourselves, and we enjoyed the show very much.

This morning I went to pick Kai up. He had slept well but had gotten up early. Timothy and his older brother Benjamin were still asleep when I arrived.

Kai said that he had fun, and Timothy’s parents said that the boys had a good time together and that Kai was very well behaved and listened to them. They said that Kai is welcome to spend the night again.

And so this is a rather big milestone for Kai. With the help of Timothy’s awesome parents (who are super autism parents and we felt very comfortable leaving Kai with them), Kai took a step forward toward growing up and being independent.

Perhaps I am like Don Quixote, and not seeing the world as it actually is, but on this day I feel like impossible dreams are worth dreaming.

“To reach the unreachable,
the unreachable,
The unreachable star
And I'll always dream
The impossible dream
Yes, and I'll reach
The unreachable star.”


  1. Again, well done Kai!

    Kai is a late bloomer who is very sensitive. As many other people lose steam in life as they age, and look for ways to merely coast, Kai will go through life at full steam ahead. Life will be exceptionally rich in flavors and colors for him. You will start seeing a deep inner happiness in him as he matures more and is better able to filter out the overwhelming or negative stimuli. What will be left over is an abundance of positive stimuli. This is what will greatly enrich his life.

    Kai has an 'E' ticket in life. He will experience life to an exceptional degree. What is considered as mundane to most others, will take on deep meaning to Kai. Life has depth, a magical tone to everything to those who are sensitive enough to perceive it. More than anything else...this is what it means to be a 2 E child.

    1. Kai certainly has a passion for many things, and if he can filter out the negative, it would be a very wonderful thing for him.

  2. This is huge! So glad it worked out and he was invited to do it again! And what a great idea that you two had a date and got out alone! Yay for everyone!

    1. Yes, we were very thrilled with how it turned out!


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