Yesterday Sophie went to her friend E’s “Birthday Party in Paris!” I think the scarf and blue stripes fit the theme quite well. Soph actually kept the scarf on the whole time. E’s house was decorated in bubble gum pink, Eiffel towers and pink poodles. So cute!
I brought a bag with an extra pull-up, wipes, and a straw/lidded cup. I pulled the birthday girl’s mom aside and for the first time ever (and Soph has been to a LOT of birthday parties) I truly did not feel apprehension. I made sure she knew to use the cup to avoid a spill. I showed her the pull-up and wipes and made sure she was comfortable helping Soph should the need arise. She is pretty independent in the potty, but has a regular need for a change if we don’t initiate a bathroom break.
AND THEN I LEFT! Mark and I had a babysitter coming over and I needed to get ready. I actually RAN out the door.
It wasn’t that the dozen girls swarmed Sophie when she arrived as if they hadn’t seen her in ages (it was 1 hour after school got out). It wasn’t that the birthday girl’s brother exclaimed how much everyone really likes my daughter.
It was the quiet arrangements and understanding from the birthday girl’s mom that have me on.the.floor.
She knew Sophie has to be closely watched or she is likely to run off and she’s fast. As keeping a dozen 6-7 year old girls entertained is difficult enough on it’s own, being far into her pregnancy meant that she knew she needed reinforcements. So, she got them. She had a wonderful young lady there who as far as I could tell was the official Sophie Minder. Now, Soph’s peers do a great job refocusing her, but she can be stubborn. This helper was fantastic.
The mom didn’t blink at the idea that Soph came with an extra pull-up or lidded cup. She didn’t have a look of anxiety on her face when I told them to have fun and headed for the door. She was unconcerned and ready.
I’ll say it again. I dropped Sophie off at her friend’s birthday party without a trace of anxiety, knowing she was in loving hands with people who accept her as she is. The adult in this scenario made arrangements ON HER OWN to be able to make this happen. It couldn’t have felt more natural.
THIS is why we believe in inclusion. It’s not about academics alone. It’s about building a community where everyone belongs AS THEY ARE inside and outside of school! Sophie's friends have embraced her for as long as I can remember, but folks, she's got multiple generations on her side and it is AMAZING!