Last night was Dinner Club. Once a month I get together with 9 friends for a warm evening that we all not only look forward to but need in order to stay sane! I find this to be more and more true as I have shifted into being a single mother, the (adult) human interaction is vital for me! Sometime during the month someone sends out an email saying it’s time, we decide on who will host and what the theme will be, choose what part of the meal each of us will bring (except for the host, all she does is provide the house!) (which is sometimes a great opportunity to actually clean said house comme il faut – I know I certainly appreciate that when I get to host). 

It really is magical when good friends make getting together a priority.

Last night’s theme was Thai – holy delicious food! (Wait, Lori – are Margaritas Thai? ;) I had the best of plans to make a mango sweet sticky rice dessert but decided to nap yesterday afternoon instead so bought some mango ice cream, sliced up the mangos, and voila – dessert! (btw, PC Mango Ice Cream is quite delish)

I’ve been a part of the dinner club for 4 1/2 years. I became a part of it in a unique way that has convinced me that certain things are definitely meant to be. 5 years ago this coming September my friend Liane invited me to her house for dinner club. She said that sometimes a guest is invited to join them and I was excited because I had heard so many great things about it from her and few other friends who also did dinner club. 2 weeks later Liane fell down in her dining room and never got up. There was no question for me that I would continue with dinner club and every month I thank Liane for having invited me to dinner that September. I can’t imagine my life right now without it. Really.

I think I’ve gone a little off topic. C’est la vie.

Back to the lesson from baby Jack. He reminded me about the importance of structure. And how structure is not just about activity but about environment as well.

For the past week or so Jack and I have started a mini-routine where he goes to bed at 8 or so until at least midnight before he wakes to eat. I figured he’d just do the same thing at Lori’s house. Wrong. He did manage to snooze for 45 minutes or so in Tara’s arms but basically, instead of settling down for 4 hours or so he wanted to eat every 30 minutes. But it was the ‘I don’t know what else to do with myself’ kind of eating that I’ve come to recognize in him when he is overstimulated or over tired. He was at a different house with a bunch of people, when usually it’s just me and him at our place.

So what’s the lesson? Remembering that when kids are used to a routine any differentiation from it can be disorienting for them. This is particularly true for our students with Autism or special needs. Often it is that routine that keeps them going throughout their day and without it they can lose track of where they are in the world, as if they lose their anchor and float away. Important lesson when preparing for a substitute teacher or when dealing with any kind of change in the classroom, new classmates, new teacher, or coming back from/about to leave for a long break.