We're up in the mountains of Colorado this week with family and everyone is excited for the hiking, biking and swimming. The house we're staying in backs up to Gore Creek and with the windows open we can hear the swift rush of the water over rocks. The living room looks out onto the mountains, tall pines and colonies of quaking aspens shimmering in the light breezes. I'm relaxing into this gorgeous setting, allowing myself the break, as next week marks the beginning of school for Oscar, sports practices for Ruby and Abe, and, of course, assessments for an upcoming IEP.
Abe and Ruby and their cousin A raced down to the creek as we were still unloading cars but Oscar was more hesitant. I urged him to go find his crocs, to put in just 5 minutes of "explorer time" but he balked and dawdled. Before long the other kids had found their way back to the house and the moment was gone. This happens often -- the convincing and readying of Oscar just takes too long and he misses out on the opportunities.
Yesterday we decided to rent bikes -- there's a paved path that winds through the valley for miles in either direction. It's perfect for family bike rides, short jaunts to the village for lunch, to the hotel for swimming. But Oscar was resistant. While the other kids hopped on bikes perched against the metal racks and wound precariously through crowds of pedestrians, Oscar crouched on his heels inside the rental office rubbing his head and crying, "Why do I have to rent a bike, I don't want to!"
"Just try on this helmet Oskie," I pleaded, but none of them felt right. The padding was all wrong. "It's digging into my head!" he insisted.
My patience waning I stepped outside to referree the other three kids while my sister in law negotiated rates. Paul took over then, and somehow we got Oscar to at least try the bike Ruby was renting, to see if it was the right fit. He hated it, of course.
I didn't want to give in. Oscar can ride a bike, and the paths through these villages are nicely paved and only moderately hilly. He's negotiated harder terrain at home. It would be so easy to slip into letting him opt out. We'd all ride faster and go farther without him. But that's not inclusion.
So we did what we sometimes do. We took a break. We walked the rest of the way to the village for lunch and returned to the bike store a few hours later. By then Oscar had wrapped his brain around the biking idea. The first helmet he tried (the same one he'd tried three hours earlier) was perfect and so was the first bike. He happily rode the rest of the way back to the house, with Paul ahead and me trailing behind.
It'd be easy to say it was lunch that made the difference. He had been tired from the walk to the bike store, the jet lag, the lack of sleep earlier in the week, but honestly the key to overcoming his resistance was just simply time. I'm learning that part of including him means allowing him the time to
adjust to new ideas, to summon his resources, to process. Once he does
he's often on board, and away we go....!