A few anecdotes:
Our neighbor has a cat, Will loves to point Ernie out while we're in the car, ask our neighbor how the cat is doing and claims to like him. However, when Ernie comes in arms length Will freaks, shrieks and all 54 pounds of him end up in my arms.
Will's PT gave Will a stuffed koala bear for his birthday two years ago. As he's taking the tissue paper out of the bag and begins to touch and see the bear, he does the "freak and shriek" and refuses to continue doing PT until the bag, tissue paper and koala bear are on the front porch.
Neil took Will into Build a Bear to kill some time while I was on a mission for a dress for some occasion. Yup, you guessed it, freak and shriek.
He's come a little ways on this front. His teachers are probably the ones responsible for that as they work really hard to help kids deal with any sensory issues or fears. He actually asked to touch and hold a stuffed zebra in class.
Quinn on the other hand seems to love soft furry things and looks for blankets and stuffed animals to slobber on.
So, fast forward to a few weeks ago when we received his friend "Z's" birthday party invitation, to be held at.... Build a Bear!
Will and I discussed the party and what would be happening and if he wanted to go or not; we discussed in great detail the point of the party is to actually build a stuffed animal. Will was adamant that he attend.
So, I go ahead and RSVP Will because he loves a good party and I let Z's mom know we might have a freak and shriek happen and my advance apologies. Seriously though he loves a party, he still points out places that he's been for birthday parties and whose party is was and what happened. He loves to party.
The few days leading up to the party Will and I discuss a game plan about stuffed animals. He decides he will sit in his stroller and if he wants to get out he can. I will do all the touching and we'll make a leopard for Quinn. (apparently he was inspired by her leopard print shirt that day). His teachers even do a little stuffed animal "touch and feel at school" - this party was all the hype for that week at school.
So Saturday morning arrives and Will begins asking what time are we leaving and how he misses Z soooo much and how we have to leave NOW. The party didn't start till 2 p.m.
I purposefully leave a little on the late side, we stroll in and I wait for the freak and shriek. Nothing yet... we stand in the corner, make small talk with a few friends who greet him and their parents.
Party now full speed ahead.. I ask Will if he wants to pick one of those limp little carcasses hanging on the wall to stuff... Will says no. Continues to sit and stare at people. Gets a name tag. I ask again did he want to pick something out. I point out a Ninja Turtle and he emphatically agrees YES! He wants the Ninja! I ask which one and he selects the blue one. Z's dad mercifully navigated the flock of children and secured the Ninja for Will.
Will still refuses to hold it, or really even acknowledge that we are surrounded by stuffed animals.
I go with it; partially in shock because we aren't already home.
He sat in his stroller for the first hour of the party rather timid and somewhat grouchy and restless, by the end of the party he was on the floor holding his stuffed Ninja Turtle playing with the other kids.
Neil and I were SHOCKED.
He stood and watched while the lady stuffed it.
Enjoyed the soap/cleaning table sans Ninja.
On the floor trying to blow the hearts (who knew PT and OT work!)
On the way home:
ME: So, is Ninja a stuffed animal or a Ninja turtle?
Will: A Ninja Turtle
ME: So he's not a stuffed animal?
Will: NINJA TURTLE MOM
So, I'm not exactly sure where we have netted out here, but I'm just happy to have survived a birthday party at Build a Bear without a freak and shriek.