Dean prefers not to try and fail. He prefers to wait, and watch, and perhaps practice when no one's looking, and then go ahead once he's pretty confident that he can do the thing. He doesn't particularly like being given advice in the moment, either. One result of this approach is that he's sometimes later to do things than his friends. He mastered riding his bicycle, for example, last summer, when he was 9.
I would like to say that I don't know where his perfectionist streak comes from, nor the need to have others see him only DO the thing and not see the trying-to-do-the-thing part. But I'm pretty sure it is territory I know well.
So anyway, here we are -- still basking in the success of Dean's first sleep over at a friend's house. He got the invitation, a mini-golf, pizza and ice cream, popcorn and movie sleep over birthday party, from one of his closest friends. We all knew this day would come. A slumber party. "I'm going to do this!" he announced. He had never, not even once, slept anywhere without being with either me or Ken, and mostly always with both of us. Not that he doesn't sleep in his own bed, but he's never gone to bed without having been put there by us nor in a place without us.
Sleep has always been a sensitive thing for Dean -- he doesn't do it easily and never has. He's also a family man -- he likes to be with us, preferably at home.
I knew, though, that he could do this thing. That he could go to a slumber party, stretch himself and go out into the world more than he has. I knew it because he said he could do it. I knew he wouldn't be willing to try and fail. Ken wasn't so sure, and put the odds at 50-50.
Today he's toast. This is the day after the day after (party was Friday night) , and he spent yesterday (Saturday) at yet another party almost all day. He had the good sense to call us about 90 minutes before he was due to be picked up from the bbq party to ask to come home; the six hours of slumber party sleep were nothing compared to his usual 9 or 10 hours of sleep and he was exhausted. It's a stay-at-home, day of rest today. A day to rest on his laurels.
Congratulations, Dean. Great job! I know the feeling, the new "sky's the limit!" feeling he has now -- he can do sleep overs! He can invite friends to sleep over! All kinds of new possibilities are ahead. The world just got bigger.