Autism Watch: 2007

Posts Tagged ‘nascar

As I’ve bemoaned about recently, we’re in the midst of a move. We’re excited about moving but the move itself, not so much. It’s work. A lot of it. It’s chaos. As I type this, I have a bottle of barbecue sauce next to me on the table, because I was packing up our Nascar cabinet and I am not moving a bottle of barbecue sauce, even if it has a picture of our favorite Nascar race car on it. We love our driver, but barbecue sauce sitting in a box for six months…no, thank you. Past the barbecue sauce is a stack of boxes, and an empty hutch that once held our Nascar collectibles. Tons of it. Wow, I could sponsor a race if I sold it all. It was no easy feat packing up the autographed memorabilia, the occasional lug nut and odd items collected from race tracks for the last six years. Beyond that, empty boxes, calling my name, screaming “Pack pictures in me! Wrap the rest of your wine glasses and put them in me too!” Then there’s my couch, nestled amongst those boxes and a pile of displaced items that had a home on a wall unit until my husband moved it to put it in the 53′ trailer we now own in the morning. And that’s just one room, so you get the idea. (I’ll spare you what my bedroom looks like, devoid of half its furniture and items, leaving me wondering how I’ll peacefully sleep in there for the next 2-3 weeks.)

Last night, I had to go through BB’s toy cabinets. He has two huge ones, and there was overflow under his foozball/air hockey table, and in his sister’s closet. It took me quite some time to sort out the things I knew he wouldn’t want, and then to ask him over and over, “Do you want this? What about this?” “Mom, I’m too old for Hungry, Hungry Hippos..” and “Mom, we played Guess Who so much at therapy, I don’t want it anymore.” On one hand, I was repeatedly thinking how great it was that we only had to pack half of his stuff. But on the other hand? My baby is growing up!

There was some sadness as I stacked Chutes ‘n Ladders in the garage sale pile. We’d played that game over and over. It didn’t require him to speak or maintain eye contact, and he’d win almost every time. The cards that he’d sort out and lay out perfectly in order, side by side, not off by a hair went, too. I almost kept them, but what in the world would I do with them? They were a good memory, because we’d spent hours upon hours working and playing together, but they were bittersweet — they were such a sign that he had autism, and I never picked up on it.

I was so happy when he chose to pack his Ratatouille chef’s hat and apron. He looks so darn cute when he puts them on and makes his famous Club Cracker, mustard and deli meat sandwiches. He decided to keep all his dinosaurs and his pirate swords, but I was sad when he put the “little kid” pirate costume in the go pile. Sniff. Then we got to things I was sure he’d keep, all his Hot Wheels and Matchbox buildings and garages. “Mom, I’m not a little kid anymore.” Then my husband just had to chime in, “His interests have changed, it’s okay.” I think he knew my ambivalence about seeing some other kid run away with Rocket Park playset, something he’d play with for hours, even if he played with it a bit weirdly. When the entire Little People world goes, for not a cheap price, I may cry.

He’s got a new interest in drawing this week, and it’s one that fits right in with his computer animation and gaming interests. We’ll definitely be encouraging it and getting him whatever training he wants, as long as it remains fun for him. He drew an eagle that easily rivals something a much older child would do, and Dad was amazed at how fast he did it. (Dare I say that part of me is thinking a-ha, I passed something down! I was an art freak and an art major. It’s still a love of mine, though now I mainly view art instead of creating it. Who has time and the kind of focus it needs?)

Now we’re at the phase of the move where he just wants it over with. The disruption of his bedroom and routine is getting on his nerves. When he asks for a new subscription for a month to Club Penguin or wants to go see a movie on a certain day, I have to remind him that we’ll be on the road for five days, and in transition a few days before and after that. Online time may be at a premium. (Then again, we are staying at KOAs with wi-fi all the way through our drive.) He wants to move, but doesn’t hesitate to remind me, frequently, how much it’s getting in the way of his normal things. Sigh. Please, Lord, let the rest of escrow go smoothly and let it all come together so we can really be out of here soon.

Yep, two posts in a row. Unheard of!

We are huge Nascar fans. Huge. I think I’ve shared before how it’s a family interest, with everyone having a driver and getting into it on their own level. Ds doesn’t do well for long — too loud, even with headphones — so we only take him to qualifying when it’s local, but he will watch here and there at home, cheering for Jeff Gordon. (I know, I know, we are not Gordon fans, we are Jamie McMurray fans, all the way down to the custom-made gold crown belly ring with amethyst tips that I wear. Yes, fanatics.) We were excited to see that another race was sponsored by AutismSpeaks, held in Dover, DE yesterday. I am not a fan of AS, I’ll be clear — the only time I ever hear/heard from them was to ask me for help or donations, but I am all for public awareness if it’s done properly.

Yesterday’s race broadcast missed that boat by a long shot.

When it was breast cancer awareness month, everyone wore pink ribbons and talked about breast cancer, early detection, and its impact on lives. I am not trying to demean that in any way, I want to be clear about that, too. (I recently got another mammogram, women everywhere need to be checking themselves.) But, the difference between Nascar/Fox’s broadcast during that time and the AutismSpeaks 400 is so vast, I can’t even put it into words.

During the AutismSpeaks 400, I never heard one.single.word. about autism. Not one explanation of what it is, how to detect it, how to treat it, or its devastation on families. Several Nascar drivers have family members with autism, yet they weren’t interviewed, nor were they mentioned, or their work towards the cause.

To be fair, they did discuss the golf tournament held last week, in which autism was the charity. It got about a minute of airtime pre-race, but also really didn’t talk much about autism, briefly showing some autistic children smiling during a photo-opp with the Nascar celebs. (I did have to wonder when someone said they were so glad to participate in raising money so the kids could get help. In what way does AS give back to the actual kids with autism? I have yet to see it. I hear only about research and their $1,000,000-per-year apartment in Manhattan.)

To make matters worse, the three Fox commentators still wore breast cancer awareness pins. No autism pins. They even ran a Komen commercial. No autism commercial. Again, don’t get me wrong, I’m not against breast cancer awareness by any means, but what does it take to get some autism awareness during a race sponsored by AutismSpeaks? What was the point of having the sponsorship if no education/awareness occurred? We saw blue puzzle pieces everywhere, but those stand for AutismSpeaks, not autism. The puzzle piece ribbon stands for autism, so were we getting excited to see the AS logo, or for autism help itself? Really confusing.

Kudos to Rutledge and Krista Voda, who both wore puzzle-piece ribbons and pins. It was at least something. But otherwise, Fox let us down in a big way with its poor broadcast. And then there’s Jeff Gordon, who was briefly interviewed pre-race, who had to interject that he had a foundation, too, that was collecting money for kids, “but we’re dealing with kids with life-threatening illnesses.” Wow. So autism isn’t life-threatening, so it gets the “but…” statement. So many things I could say, but I won’t. I’m sure he didn’t mean to sound so, uhm, rude, callous and cold, but he did.

I’ll still be back watching Nascar next weekend, I don’t hold the sport responsible for bad broadcasting by Fox, but I do hope that next year, when this time comes around again, things are different. It also greatly helps that Fox is done broadcasting Nascar for the season, and coverage switches stations. (Phew. It can’t come too soon. DW was about to drive me crazy.) Nascar is one of the most charitable sports out there, with its drivers being amazingly giving. The broadcast network needs to keep up and do its part, too.

I have been MIA. Or as I prefer to call it, MOB: Missing on Blog. No one reason — no tragedies, no health issues, no major events, just constantly busy and in the leftover time, unmotivated to share more of the same old stuff. But, I am back. As I was sitting here thinking how I needed to blog, an opportunity presented itself. Don’t you just love when that happens? A moment where you should be thinking “what do I do?” but instead you think “I can blog about this.”

Barnacle Boy had minimum day today. It’s monsoon season here in SoCal, yet he was running towards me in our whopping mid-40s temps, through puddles, without his coat. But, he didn’t forget the silly glasses my older dd bought him down in San Diego last week. They’re these wire-rimmed round frames with metallic eyes that stare at you. He could be sleeping and you’d not know it, yet he can see out. I wonder if he wore them during class, but right now, I’m quite frankly afraid to ask.

Typical routine when he gets home is he fills me in on his day, has a snack (usually his specially-baked chocolate chip cookies and milk) and then does his homework. If he’s already showing signs of needing to decompress, he takes 20 minutes to play, then comes and does the work then. Today, he decided he wanted to get it done right away. BUT — that wasn’t before he had to rail on and on at me for not buying him a voice-changing toy from the latest Scholastic book order last week. (He got his books back last Friday, after bugging the teachers daily, and just today realized I didn’t order that $9 toy?)

To back-up further — as soon as he grabbed my hand, he started to chastise me for forgetting the toy. I never buy him good stuff. I’m mean. I don’t do cool things. And so on. We finally get to my truck, what feels like miles down the road because it’s freezing cold out and I’m one of only about 12 parents out of 600 who braved getting out of the car….despite there being no rain right then. Anyway, he played the “I’ll put my seatbelt on when I want to, even if you run out of gas while waiting on me” game. (Bear in mind, I drive a large SUV, one to transport our large family and tow our RV. I can’t just park in any small spot, maneuver away from the curb between everyone blocking the road on a dime, or fill that tank for $5. ) I sit there, motor running, while he’s too far in the back to almost hear me, not telling me if he’s buckled in. And cars are whizzing by me to escape the lazy people who were backing up traffic for miles and miles. Then he starts in again on the missing $9 toy. And continues.

We get home. Still on the toy. (Okay, so it’s a two-minute drive. It just felt like longer.) Comes inside, still on the toy. He gets a bagel, eats it, mumbling about the toy. Takes two minutes on Google on his computer to search it out. Toys R Us. Ha, not on my radar the way you’re yelling, Buddy. Comes to do his homework and realizes that one way he’s been doing his homework is not the right way, ironically as he’s doing it again. The pencil goes flying. So does the paper. So do a bunch of non-vulgar words about the homework, the teacher, the school. Sigh. (And that wasn’t my first sigh. In my head, I was putting him on mute.) It’s been 20 minutes now, and he’s finally working on his math. The botched spelling? Put aside so he can ‘talk’ to his teacher tomorrow. (Thankfully, I got him to agree that emailing his feelings to her was not a good idea. Did I mention we have an IEP in two days?)

I had to step away to answer a phone in another room. While there, I see that in his anger, he pulled everything out of his desk drawer and threw it everywhere. As I walk back to where he’s doing his homework, I get the ‘be quiet, do not bother me’ lecture. (He’s 8. Aren’t I supposed to be the one lecturing?) I find another pencil he broke and threw. I suspect it won’t be the last thing I find.

As for the big picture, it’s Nascar season again. Finally. We have race tickets for Auto Club Speedway and Las Vegas. That’s what dh and I do for ‘our time.’ We had our closest friends over for the Bud Shootout this past Saturday, where our driver nearly pulled off a win. SO close. We’re hosting a Daytona party next weekend, same group of friends, a few more, and a whole lot of food. We make sure Barnacle Boy has plenty of things to choose from, but other than when he eats, he’ll be upstairs in his re-done room, complete with TV/Tivo, computer and Gamecube. He can get away from the noise, and we can still have a fun gathering. (We did take ds to the track with us this past weekend when we attempted to use our 3-lap ride-along gift certificates but the rain foiled that. Oh, and to the lady who touched him and told him not to kick his sister? Who are you? Do you randomly touch other peoples’ children? Do you even realize that there might be a whole lot going on that you, a stranger, aren’t privy to? That very act may have set him off so badly we’d have had to leave, and he was doing pretty darn good. Grab him by the shoulders again. I dare you. We really are watching, just as we were then. ) Lots of appointments, doing our taxes, celebrating two more kids’ birthdays…just a busy month, but now I’m back, and ready to bog about anything and everything once again.

And as I type that, ds is yelling at his sister for existing. How dare she come through the kitchen, eat a bowl of cereal that he might want, make it quieter, for Pete’s sake, and stop cracking your knuckles!! I am counting the minutes until dh’s eye-doctor appointment is done so I have back-up. It’s going to be a LONG night.

Oh, and I’ll try not to go MOB again.

This last week, my husband and I have been on vacation. In a word? Bliss. I don’t care if every minute is filled with mundane errands and getting up early to get ds to school; just having the time off together, during our own thing, our own schedule, is fantastic. But, the week has flown by and next Monday will come all too quickly.

During this past week, we’ve been away more than we’ve been home. We’ve gotten 80% of our shopping done, with another 15% tomorrow, leaving the last 5% for next week. We, or shall I say I, have gotten most of the baking for this Saturday’s open house done. Meanwhile, my house smells heavenly. (But I’ll leave out the part where I’ll be up all night baking the doughs we put together….all five MORE of them. I already have three bundt cakes of various kinds, and 15 loaves of fancy breads in the freezer.) It’s been a very busy week.

So, getting down to business…ds has had a busy week, too. First, a birthday party update. SUCCESS! Five kids from his class showed, some who hadn’t RSVP’d, but whatever, they were there. Two other kids showed up, and so did our friends we invited, and away we went. Games went well, we played mini-golf, and he had so much fun, presents took a backseat. Expensive, eh, $300 including cake, but we didn’t have to clean our house before or after, and ds had the party he wanted. Add that to the convenience level and we’re happy. (And no meltdowns at the party!)

We spent a day at Disneyland. Accommodations there were, again, amazing. We used our special assistance pass and got on every ride ds wanted within a very reasonable wait time. (And I still kicked everyone’s butt on Toy Story Mania. Ha.) Towards the end of the day, ds was getting a bit overwhelmed and when I expressed my negative opinion about getting knocked down when he pushed his stroller backwards into me as I was crouched on the ground tying my shoe, he refused to talk to me for almost an hour — even though I was the one who ended up on the ground. It happened again later when he refused to stop pinching his sister, but dh stepped in each time and lightened the mood. We visited the Tiki room, and while we sat in the back..in the corner…it was still enjoyable. A shout-out to Rainforest Cafe for their birthday party recognition! Ds has wanted the volcano cake for his birthday for months now, and he was excited for it to finally happen. We attempted to go back to Disney <quickly> to visit Woody’s Roundup, a yearly tradition, but the monorail held us hostage. First, the new cars only hold 15 a person, so one train, which only comes every 10 minutes, only can take about 40 people. Translation: you wait forever. Walk. It’s quicker. We wait though, as by then, we’d already invested so much time, we figured ‘how much longer can it really be?’ Ha. They had more in mind. Little did we know, after they squeeze 16 in our car (did you hear that, Disney? They put 16 in a car made for 15. Isn’t that against some safety regs??) that they were putting a second train on the line, and we’d have to wait while they got it on-line. Sure. Why didn’t you tell us that, or do it, BEFORE you load us into a small little tube? Then, we get 9/10 of the way to the station, 15-20 minutes later, only to hear that the second car had some issues with its windows, so we’d need to wait. AGAIN. Same little tube. Same claustrophobic help-we-have-been-kidnapped-and-are-being-held-hostage feeling.  After a 30-minute ‘quick ride’ to the Tomorrowland station, we got off. It wasn’t without some commentary, where those perfect people who were still in ‘happiest place on earth’ mode weren’t approving of comments of those of us who feel a $90 ticket shouldn’t include being detained. Oh well.

However, the day was completed without further incident. Disneyland’s special assistance pass saved the day. We enjoyed the beautiful Christmas castle and music and were glad to have gotten in our annual Christmas visit.

We also squeezed in a dentist visit. After losing the two teeth (mentioned in a prior blog entry) ds ended up with two shapes on his palate, shapes that looked like teeth coming in. He’d also complained his teeth were painful to brush in some areas. While I could have done without the hygienist smiling at us like we were paranoid craziacs when the xray confirmed it was just his palate being shaped funny, I felt redeemed  (the words “neener-neener” came to mind) when the dentist confirmed that we were right to bring him in just to be safe, as sometimes losing teeth can cause swelling like he had, and apparently infection. One point for the parents who pay high rates for good insurance and want to be sure their child’s mouth is safe. And ds didn’t freak, but that’s due mostly to an excellent dentist who knows how to ease his fears by explaining everything to him, addressing him appropriately, and letting him touch/feel all the tools prior to their use.

Then, today. Awards ceremony at school. Ds got a certificate for his grades, one for turning in homework regularly, and one for passing his health/P.E. requirements. He came into the ceremony SO excited. Smiling, dancing, and chatty. Trouble came when halfway through, a teacher reminded his table to be quiet. Poof. Magic words. That was the end of it. When it came time for his second award, he went to the front with his hood over his face. Our Assistant Principal, an amazing V.P., acknowledged it and tried to help, as did both dh and I, but to no avail. He stood for pictures with no face showing. When his name was called for his third award, he refused to move. He sat at his table, head down, while everyone else went on stage. Prompting from us made no difference. He was so upset by then, he was agitated and we had to leave him alone for fear of a full-out meltdown. (And to the lady who went  “Look!” and pointed at him like he was a rare parading zoo monkey eating a banana while hanging upside down and pottying, I really hope you realized that the child’s parents heard you and watched you. We wish no ill upon your child(ren) but you could stand to learn some manners and compassion.) We picked him up shortly after, and after sticking to the ‘no more negative talk once we get to the car’ credo, the day wasn’t so bad after all.

Tomorrow, we finish our shopping. Then, we take ds and a the girls (other ds won’t be along) to see the infamous Christmas lights a city away. It’s a big event every year, where we walk the entire show (after parking a mile away) and drink coffee purchased from a resident we find along the way. We sing carols along with the music pumped from the fancy homes, and talk with our friends, same homes we see every year but we’re nevertheless amazed. It’s going to get down to 37 degrees tonight. 37. I am jazzed. Christmas weather at last. Now, if I could just figure out how to get ds to wear a jammy top, we’d be golden; good thing he likes to wrap himself up in a special blue blanket every night because it’s soft. Tomorrow night will be cold as well, so Amen to getting Christmas weather on target.

Ds stayed in his bed last night — the WHOLE night. I heard him having a bad dream, but he got back to sleep and stayed there. Good thing, I stayed up late reading the last of the Twilight books. Yes, I am one of “those” moms. So what if a few people think they’re mindless drivel. We don’t all need to read enlightening award-winning literary prizewinners. Some of us like fictional books that don’t take a lot of thought, and these books fit the bill while allowing you to pretend you’re somewhere else for a while, because believe me, these books do put you in a whole new environment. Get a grip if you’re anti-Twilight, and go back to your Pulitzer material, Stephenie Meyer’s raking in the bucks so she’s got my vote.

Now I’m off to get more cookies in the oven, and watch a Nascar race on ds’s new Nascar toy race track the girls got him for his birthday. I can hear him giggling from here, and I need to watch his smile light up his eyes. Merry Christmas, everyone. I got my gift already.

When I started this blog back in November 2007, I had no idea how it would work out. Would I blog enough? Would anyone read it? Would I get discouraged and quit? Would my honesty and forthrightness (or my bluntness, if I’m being completely honest) turn people off? Would there be enough to write about?

As the months went by, blogging became easier. Sure, there were a few weeks where I was either too exhausted to share the week or I didn’t want to be a downer. We took a two-week vacation and I got sick a few times. But overall, blogging has become a way of life. In the beginning I had to think about what to write about. Now, I often have fodder waiting at any point, and when things go on, it’s weird how one of the first things I think is “Oooh, I need to blog about this.” How life changes.

The day of my 100th blog post has been an excellent one. Dh had a special project at work, and my 13 yod is camping with the youth group for the weekend. 18 yos worked until 4am, slept a few hours, then left to take his gf down to San Diego for their ‘anniversary.’ (Is 18 mths really an anniversary most people celebrate?) Anyway….my 19 yod slept in, then had to go to work. It all left just me and ds and we had quite the day.

Woke up at 8am, snuggled, enjoying the colder temps that are finally here in the morning, and planned a trip to Starbucks. Starbucks was busy but tables were available, so ds snagged us a table with cushy chairs and waited while I got his “coffee” (chocolate milk in a mini-coffee cup that I almost want to keep, it’s so cute) and doughnut. Mmmm, a nonfat pumpkin spice latte hits the spot on a chilly morning. Came home, did some updates on the PCs (my field, so I’m anal about keeping them all protected, clean and organized) and when the local favorite mini-golf place opened, we headed down to play a couple of rounds. We had a blast! It wasn’t without ds getting frustrated a few times when he couldn’t control the ball. A little talking off the ledge…and a $2.50 bottle of caffeine-free root beer…and we were able to move on. He’s been playing Toontown most of the afternoon, intermixed with spreading out all 100 of his friends (aka stuffed animals) all over the playroom, and I was able to get a lot of little things done, like packing up earrings I made my sisters-in-law, mixing up some new tea, nothing really exciting, just a list full of little things that you have to get done and just can’t squeeze in on other days.

Oh, oh, I almost forgot! I squeezed in some treadmill time and did the fastest 5k time yet! My 19 yod and I decided a couple of weeks ago to join a 5k race next spring or summer, and I’m determined to get my times into at least an acceptable running-time range. I just started running in early-July, and I’m loving it…most of the time.

Dh and I are getting to watch the Lowe’s Motor Speedway Nascar race, mostly uninterrupted (ha, not sure it’s really mostly but I’m being nice…I’ve been called to the playroom to check out more things than I can count) and other than church tomorrow, I am really glad to stay around the house. We made plans for a trip to the Phoenix race in November, and can I just say EXCITED?? Way to go, Jamie McMurray, fifth place!!! (Even if ESPN/ABC won’t interview you post-race, YOU ROCK.)

So my 100th blog entry is a mish-mash of everything and nothing. I guess that’s good though. I’ll take slow now and then. 😉

I think I mentioned earlier this week that I was worried about another year of fighting to get ds to go to school…to get up and leave the house on time, fully dressed (which means shoes)…and listening to him each night as he shares stories of how he is wronged at school or what frustrates him or who takes up too much of his desk space or who is a ‘brat.’ (And ‘brat’ is someone that continually upsets him in a way that appears intentional — he’s actually pretty discriminate about who gets that label.)

So if I didn’t mention it earlier this week, I am now.

This morning was the worst yet…out of three whole days, it’s not a major contest yet. Day one he was excited, day two he was hesitant because he was sure I hadn’t signed all the required paperwork, and day three…it seemed to go so well when I woke him up at 7:30. He slept through his alarm (he was up later last night because it was his behavioral therapy program night) and he didn’t want to get up initially until he remembered that he was hungry and wanted pancakes. And I was so proud, I’d already prepared them, leaving me to just lead him to the kitchen since he normally wakes up and hops out of bed almost immediately. Fast forward to the kitchen a minute later, and he’s mad. I’d made the ultimate mistake in the world of pancakes. I’d…wait for it….poured the maple syrup on them before he sat at the table. This wasn’t the first time, yet somehow this really aggravated him.

I did get him out the door on time, but he refused any sort of food, even a completely new stack of homemade pancakes. (For you new blog-readers, I make almost all of his food from scratch, including the pancakes he eats daily for breakfast, day in, day out.) He did brush his teeth, but only with a lot of slamming and banging of the toothbrush and toothpaste container. If he could have slammed the faucet on/off, he would have. He stomped onto the stool. Shut the door loudly. (You can’t really slam that particular bathroom door, which is a blessed thing.) “There! Happy now?” Stomp stomp stomp to his shoes, shoves his feet in them even though he’d told me earlier he wasn’t going to wear socks or shoes. (“I don’t care if people stare!”) Time to get in the car. “You know what? I’m going to get suspended. You hear me? Then I won’t have to go anymore.” Sigh. SIGH.

At school, we found the classroom door open, and I had a chance to speak with the teacher. I like her. She’s got a big smile and seems to already have picked up on some of ds’s nuances. We talked for a minute, she assured him that I had signed the paperwork, and gave him some tips to handle the teasing he’d experienced on Tuesday. You could see him visibly relax when he realized he didn’t have to worry about the paperwork, and that someone knew about the teasing. And the aide? She’s on it, too, and she’s going to be sure things on the playground go well.

How’d pick-up go? It went great. We chose a different gate, on the teacher’s suggestion, as the other gate is less crowded. He didn’t have to wade through so many people, and he didn’t mind the walk to the car either, though going against traffic with a rolling backpack that drags behind you a bit posed a bit of a challenge because so many were in one-way traffic mode.

But, once home from school, the meltdowns are already worse. He’s been angrily, violently mad quite a bit in the last few days, and it requires so much calm on everyone else’s part to keep him from exploding…though we’re still working equally hard on ensuring he doesn’t get his way every time and that the rest of the house isn’t jumping to give into him, especially if his demands are unrealistic. So we’re wondering — is it from being back in school? The stress of behaving all day so he lets loose at night? It’s too early to tell, but I suspect it’s a combination of that and no regular routine. And to make matters worse (at least for him) is that it’s Nascar week here in town. The festivities begin this evening (though we did drag him around a bit last night to see the haulers parked in various places and to his favorite restaurant after, despite him whining the whole drive about how he’s carsick and it’s not fair that he’s stuck in a car for something we want to do, not him) and don’t end until the fireworks after the race late Sunday night. Thank God, we’ve got respite help during all of this, but I think Monday, the holiday, could be crazy. Two weekends like this a year, and maybe it’s selfish, but we look forward to them all the rest of the year. I do wish ds would find a way to deal even for a short period of time, but forcing him doesn’t help him or change the situation at all, so maybe as he gets older? Again, too early to tell. (And, because I can, go Jamie McMurray, #26!!!)

And this morning? You can bet I didn’t pour the syrup on the pancakes until after he sat down.

So you didn’t see me on the news getting kicked off the plane because my autistic son was disruptive. Score! Kudos to Delta Airlines for being as accommodating as we could wish for. We were able to pre-board without any hassle whatsoever, and let me tell you, it makes all the difference. Other than running out of milk on one part of the trip, there were no issues with Delta at all…even the flights, though changed, left on time. Way beyond my expectations!

How to summarize a two-week trip in one blog post? How about I just list what we did: visit family, fish, swim, go to the beach, mini-golf, visit several Nascar racetracks/shops, attend a beautiful wedding, drive to D.C. and check out all the memorials, spend July 4 at Colonial Williamsburg (complete with celebratory fireworks in the rain), go down in the caverns in VA, eat, eat, and eat some more….including an evening in a ‘fancy’ restaurant, a first for our crew altogether. Ds was unsure what to do with the crystal water goblet, and others around us were unsure what to do with a family of six actually talking at the table next to them, but then a family with a baby came in and we were a thing of the past. In the end, all the activities were fun, we were exhausted, but we fit in every thing we’d planned…success!

Now to the details about ds and the trip. Any break in routine of course means potential for meltdown…and meltdowns did occur. Lots of strange foods, noises, crowds, and the incessant heat/humidity. He ate an actual full sandwich for the first time ever (this means eating the crust) and he sat through a wedding without needing an electronic visual stim aka Gameboy. He drove a go-kart at Nascar Speedpark better than most adults, and he went without eating pancakes for breakfast every day. He got hooked on “Cherry Bubba,” aka any red kool-aid (despite my better judgment, due to the red dye in it) and he slept alone in a room, though he didn’t always realize it. He got so much exercise, he slept in the airplane on the way home! (Maybe it’s because, to his body, it felt like three hours later than it was, but I prefer to think it’s because he was just plain tired out…a first since he was, hmmm, 17-18 months old?) He did refuse to watch the fireworks the last night there, a huge display put on by his uncle, whom he loved, and he did fight with his cousins because he’s not so great at interpreting ‘typical boy play,’ but we look back at the memories, the time, the effort (and the bills) with happiness — a wonderful, relaxing trip without tons of plans and stress, and we are so glad we got beyond the fears and did it. If you’re holding off on a trip because you’re afraid of the ‘what ifs,’ I say go for it!

So, now that I’m back in the groove, I’ll be back posting about daily inane issues and news in the autism community. (That is, if the ants that we returned to stay abated and I actually can stay in the house or if I have to move to the RV until it’s under control.) Sorry for the long break, and hope everyone’s having a good summer.


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