I had a conference coming up
And since DH and R have not seen California ever - we all decided to go along together
One of my good friends from Grad School lives there and we decided to meet up and see the San Diego Zoo
The weather was just perfect and my friend and her daughter were so much fun and the zoo was great
There are amazing animals at this zoo
I had no idea Orangutans were this big ( see behind us )
But R was all whine and cling
All he wants to do is go back to the hotel . Plus he has woken up really really early.( 3.30 am ) because of the time difference between the coasts
He is finally happy when he saw something familiar in the zoo gift shop -
A Santa display !!!
DH and I plough through things like this discomfort though - new experiences are very very important for Auties and its critical not to to get stuck( trapped ) in our comfort zone
I repeated Temple Grandin's words in my head - "keep increasing the web pages.. since autie brains can work like google images .. the more web pages there are the more they will have to work off of "
We are staying right next to the fabulous Gas Lamp district and the first day he does not want to take a walk at all
He loves hotels ( the whole idea that there are the same chains in every place is a great comfort to him and he will spell out Hilton and Residence Inn or Embassy Suites with great glee everytime we go to one of these )
Above he is in the pool which he loves.
He copes with the strangeness of new places - by finding patterns of sameness- as in he will only want to go to the pool or go to restaurants ( especially if they are chains that we always go to like the ubiquitous Mc Donalds )
But we firmly ( but kindly ) insist he go the first day
The remaining three days however he goes with aplomb and we have a great time - which is a great reminder that one must not give up - if things dont turn out well the first time with an autie. Its a sure way to limit ones world
( Think about it - example, if you think taking walks dont work - and try something else - you have misssed the point . The child is not really responding negatively to the activity but to the newness of it- and everything will be new if you try only once or twice. Consequently you will think "nothing works" and give up trying. This is something I learned from DH - as I am quick to give up )
We do word hunts .
( In school they are doing T , I and P this week and so we do word hunts of these letters .( T and P are really easy - trash, table, train , tracks, etc or Parking , pedestrian etc , But "I" is hard and if we had not spotted an Indian restaurant and had a beverage with ice in it - we would have been stumped )
His birthday is on Tuesday
Last year was the first time he had even shown the remotest of interest in a birthday and we have mistakenly assumed that we can just have a simple birthday party and he will be fine
To some extent he is -
We buy him a whole bunch of junk presents we know he will love like- letters numbers, magnetic words etc
he lolls about reading his card, most interested
He loves his bag of tresasures .
We go to the hard Rock Cafe and have a little party for him
But suddenly in the evening he bursts into tears and says "Birthday party surprise"
And so we remember that last year we had done a little party in school and realise that he must be worried that he will have no birthday party
We promise a birthday party when we get back and collude with his wonderful class teacher ( no social request is every ignored . In fact R asks for so little - we usually do whatever he asks for as long as its not harmful )
DH is simply an artistic genius and cuts up the cake in the shape of a letter 6 and decorates it with his amazing cream cheese icing . DH is one of those cooks in whose hands everything tastes beter and the cake is amazing
I tell the teachers not to send any home( for I am a fool for cream cheese )
R is thrilled when we arrive in school with all the paraphrenelia of his "Little People" Birthday set that he has been pretend playing with these past few days - balloons, birthday hats, themed paper plates etc .
It is a GRAND party
A small kerfuffle breaks down over who can have all the balloons but firtunately we have come prepared with loads of extras and all sorrows are appeased quickly
One of the saddest things last month is that a couple we are very very close to are breaking up. We are having a very very hard time dealing with this as we love them both very much and they had a great marriage.
Sometimes I think that one of the most important things to remember about marriage is just how fragile it can be and how one has to keep working at it
People can never stop becoming a mother or a father no matter what their child does but people can always stop being a husband or a wife.
The woods around our cabin are stunning this time of the year ..I go for solitary walks and eat up all the color
I look at the trees the way R has taught me to - up not at
So they are framed against the sky. Truly the greatest artist- the one with the most vivid imagination - is nature
I find great peace in the woods and the sound of the wind
Its as though the trees are saying.
Slow down - why do you worry so much ?
What's with all the rush ?
Do you know how many people have walked these woods thinking how important and big their worries were? Do you know how wrong they were? Stay in the here and now. Dont worry about things that you have no control over.
And I return renewed
No words.......Just weepy and more in love with you than I already was.
Happy Birthday R!
We visited the San Diego Zoo when Michael was almost 2 and loved it. My brother lives in LA so we may have to make another trip after my new nephew is born next year.
Happy Birthday to R! And kudos to you and him for trying new things and more than once. That's a good word for all of us.
Happiest of birthdays to R! How glorious that he wanted a "birthday party surprise."
Wonderful reminder about new experiences -- thank you.
Wonderful. All of it. I so love that you are able to travel with him. You give us hope. ;)
When we go to the zoo, the monkey, orangutans (sp?), gorillas, lemurs etc are the best parts...where we stay the longest! Glad you guys enjoyed San Diego!
I love your idea of word hunts...I think I'll do that with my kiddo!
I'm sorry about your friends. :(
The trees at the cabin are beautiful! Fall is my favorite time of the year.
Happy birthday R and my best wishes for you all.
Good grief - do you realize what a wise thing you shared? The fact that ALL of us can balk at newness rather than an activity itself? You've inspired me to "try and try again", through worries of uncertainty. Thank you.
And happiest birthday to our beloved R! God's blessing on you this coming year!
Happy Happy Birthday to beautiful R!!! A big 6 year old!! Audrey has the same Little People birthday set...so cute...she loves hers! They have so much in common.
And you and I as well...I could eat a bowl of cream cheese icing right now!
Love the Temple Grandin quote...I have to remember to keep adding those web pages too...
Happy birthday to your beautiful son! I love that he is willing to be pushed to try new things and so often succeeds. :-)
Thank you for the reminders about expandin gour "pages" and working on our marriages. But most of all, thank you for your reminder of the importance of slowing down and taking a break once in a while. Those trees inspire serenity!
K, your words always inspire... :o)
Happy Birthday to R...
"Finding the patterns of sameness" what a wonderful way of putting it..it sounds like you had a lovely trip..and that his party was fabulous (we too keep extra stock of balloons) I am sorry about your friends marriage..that is sad...
Happy Birthday R! Looks like a glorious trip. Can you loan out DH for birthday cake baking?
Happy birthday R!
Thank you for sharing your trip; it sounds like it went really well and that your ways of helping R cope with differences by making sure there are some things the same really make a difference.
How easy it is to stay in our comfort zones as parents, too, and do only what we know will not result in meltdowns or discomfort. Remembering that we, too, have to keep pushing past the boundaries of our comfort zones to help them push past theirs is really important.
What a wonderful post! I love the part about always trying and exposing to new things. This can be hard but is so important!!!
I love the woods as well, I always feel calm and relaxed in the woods.
Happy birthday to your little guy!!
Thank you, K. I am feeling peaceful and encouraged just from your words.
Feeling happy knowing R had a happy birthday and that you were able to resist cream cheese icing. I will try to follow your example.
Happy Birthday to R! So glad you had a great trip and we get to hear and see all about it. You are an awesome mom and an example to all of us to get our kids out to new places.
Happy birthday R!!
He reminds me a lot of my boys :). We go to the same hotels whenever we travel too, and the highlight of our hotel stay is always the pool.
Love your reminder to keep trying, as it is often the newness and not the activity itself that is a problem.
So glad his birthday party was a success! I'm craving cream cheese icing now, yummeh. :)
Love those trees at the end of your post, the colors of fall are just gorgeous!
Happy birthday R!!
He reminds me so much of my boys :). We visit the same hotels whenever we travel too, and the highlight of the hotel stay is always the pool!
Thanks for the reminder to keep trying new things, that it could be the newness and not the activity that is stressful.
So glad R's birthday party was a success! I'm craving cream cheese icing now, yummeh :).
Love those trees at the end, the colors of fall are gorgeous!
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