Today was a fantastic day, full of exceptionally normal behavior from Captain Awesome.
In the morning, we went to Ashleigh's fourth birthday party, and Ryan was pretty much indistinguishable from the other kids. He ran around when everyone ran around; he glued foam thingies onto a picture frame when everyone else was gluing foam thingies; he played the party games like all the other kids; he ate his ice cream with a spoon which he held in the typical fashion; he sat on Santa's lap and gave a high-five to Rudolph (the unfortunate dude in the costume with the light-up nose). I was able to chat with the other moms and didn't have to chase Ryan around or sit with him in a corner. It was delightful.
In the afternoon was my extended family's Chanukah party. Ryan slept in the car the whole way there, and woke up as we were parking. He didn't need any warm-up time before launching into the crowded, loud family shindig. He played appropriately with his cousins; he answered properly when relatives asked him how old he is; he shared toys; he gave Grandma a zillion kisses; he didn't have a single fit of any kind.
Passing for normal - that's the goal. There were people we didn't know at the birthday party, and I'm pretty sure that unless they heard Ryan speaking, they had no idea there was anything at all unusual about him. My cousin had been debating how to explain to her five-year-old son that if Ryan didn't want to play with him that it wasn't personal, but Ryan played beautifully with Dylan, so she never had to have that conversation. That's a fantastic feeling - not standing out, not being stared at, not having to explain anything.
I picked up on certain subtly odd behaviors this morning, but I think they were probably SO subtle the average parent wouldn't have noticed them at all. Like, when Santa arrived at the birthday party, Ryan wandered up to him and poked his sleeve, then walked away, then wandered back to him and poked him again, and left again. Eventually I guess he decided that this Santa guy was safe and he sat on his lap. But I doubt anyone but me thought twice about the Santa-poking incident.
I'm so proud of this kid. He's figuring out how to deal with his world while still being his amazing self. Good job, Captain!