Friday, March 30, 2012

Autism and vacation

Last week we took a small vacation

Some bits were were great and bits of it were okay

On the great side, the weather was great ,the ocean was just magnificent  the apartment we rented from VRBO was comfortable and on the beach

On the not so great side................................................R does not really like change.

Like Sheldon Cooper of the Big Bang theory , R would say

"No, it's not going to be fine. Change is never fine. They say it is, but it's not."

 Plus he was also unwell ( Towards the end of the week we started to be incredible worried about this - always slim  he has become incredibly thin, had no appetite and then  we found out last week that he had giardiasis- which he is now being treated for  )

He was great in the long car ride and thoroughly enjoyed our stop at the gas station - I am always entranced by his pleasure in the small things ( like soda fountains etc )

The sea was just stunning and just a 2 minute walk away from the condo

Sunsets were stunning
We flew kites

had little picnics on the beach ( in order to take R favorite activity - picnics and combine them with the new thing- sea )

R enjoyed the sea under protest

With the gorgeous Atlantic ocean behind us - here he is asking me if we can go back and go to Kangaroo ( gas station with fountain drinks )
R and I have been reading a book called Se Shells on the sea shore .

This beach had a lovely low tide - the tide would take the ocean almost a mile away . I found it so dreamy to walk on ground that was inside the sea just a little while ago

We got to see walking sea shells ( the ones with the mollusks inside )

This is beyond magical to me

We left many large sea shells behind because they had animals inside them - while DH ate a  oysters for lunch - it still felt ethically wrong to take a shell from a creature ( like taking someone's home )

One shell stayed in our condo for almost 2 days - until I decided the creature inside was surely dead and decided to wash it in warm water and then the creature came outside

I felt so bad - but DH even though it was late in the night went to the beach immediately to put the shell back in the ocean ( at these moments I fall in love with my husband once again )

Though we did get plenty of shells ( most abandoned on the sand- dunes from  past storms )

What R enjoyed most about the trip were his familiar things . Plastic playgrounds

Knowing that family time was not really going to be awesome - DH and I gave each other plenty of alone time on the beach

Harbor Island, SC  is a gorgeous undiscovered beach with no crowds

DH read books and I took long walks

Felt the wind in my hair ( pics of me taken with my phone camera ) 

Listened to the ocean

Followed the seagulls

One day R was particularly whiny and DH and I were just over it - we wished he would just enjoy things and not always be so reluctant to try anything new out
R knew we were upset so though we took him to the playground ( 20 miles awasy as per his request ) - he sat quietly in shame

But then DH and I asked ourselves - is it really fair to expect him to enjoy the things we do ?

We went to dinner that night and R soothed himself with some math jokes

 He made an adorable little heart with 2 dashes and a 3 and said "heart go higher higher "- my heart just went out to him and I thought about how difficult it must be for him to have to always  want things to remain the same and not have that happen

While we cannot let his world become smaller and smaller - we need to expect and accept the fact that R does not like change but that still change is good for him

But should vacation be about relaxation or growth - I suspect it needs to be both

Next time we plan on bringing the Wii with us

As we got in the car and were on our way , I could see the stress leave R's body

He was in the car with his seatbelt on 30 minutes before we were ready to leave

And as we drove through the gorgeous South Carolina Roads

he was finally relaxed

He slept and DH and I discussed how we would make our next vacation more "successful" .

We should definitely go to a city and stay in a chain hotel( Hilton is his favorite )

As we got closer to his beloved old "new cabin new house" to spend the next three days and he woke up, I asked where he would like to go on the winter break

"Beach" he answered firmly


Lizbeth said...

That sounds so peaceful. When we go on vacation we always make sure it has WiFi. We learned the hard way. And we go back to the same place. Alex has such a hard time with change that it really helps him to know we're going some place familiar.

It looks like you had a stunning time!

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Love the pic of you and R!!

Ah yes change. And Sheldon.

And R's comment at the end. Beach. Big smiles.

Looking for Blue Sky said...

It sounds as though he wrong-footed you there - is it that he'd go back to the beach because now it IS familiar? I hope so, it looked like a gorgeous place x

Deb said...

This sounds so beautiful, yet frustrating...reminds me of one of our first vacations with Ethan. He wanted to spend the whole time in the hotel elevators! There were many meltdowns. Things have improved, but we too have learned that it's a balance. We bring the portable DVD player and that seems to make things much easier. Now he kind of realizes vacation is doing new things and getting to watch lots of his favorite shows. One thing I think parents of all kids, typical or not so much so, feel about vacations with kids are that they aren't really relaxing!

Kris said...

Love the post and the pictures. R is so adorable!!

Bright Side of Life said...

I guess it is all about finding a balance, doing something you like and including R (and pushing the boundaries just a little bit!).... then do something that he likes! I must admit, I would also make sure that I had something for my child to lose himself in when he needed to take time out, i.e. the iPad.
Your photos are lovely.

Bonsky said...

What beautiful, beautiful pictures! While you describe a vacation that had some struggles, these photos look like a beautiful happy family to me. Isn't that the magic of photos? They can erase the negative with the positive. As I prepare to head off to my vacation with E and the two little girls, this is a perfect reminder to find acceptance and moments of joy in the time we have together. It is always a delicate dance of everyone doing what they want balanced with the needs/wants/expectations of Mom and Dad. There is always that desire to push them just a little bit to experience something new or different coupled with making certain there are no meltdowns (okay make that few meltdowns as no is unlikely!). The kids have even come up with a name for when E gets frustrated with them and their desire to make just chill out and scarf down some gummy bears -- SkiMS instead of PMS. Thank you as always for your timely and wonderful perspective. Forget Tiger Mother. You need to write a book my friend. xoxoxox

robin said...

What an enjoyable vacation! I love that you integrated what R loves into what you're doing (picnic at the beach, number and letter friends at the table, sidetrip to a playground.) Obviously, his willingness to go there the next time showed that it was a success! The pictures show such so many beautiful pictures! I particularly love the one of him relaxed and sleeping...I always feel that way when I am returning home from a vacation as well. I love that DH returned the shell even though it was late at night (he's such a wonderful guy!)

Anonymous said...

Sounds and looks amazing. Yes, some difficulties, but pretty successful altogether. As we plan our upcoming vaca, you have given me some ideas, so thanks! :)

Amazing pics - beautiful scenery and beautiful family.

Yuji said...

Your vacation sounds a lot like ours. I still find it hard sometimes when our son doesn't enjoy the things that we think he should enjoy. I guess I need to work further on that part of acceptance.

Still, as with you, I think that despite all the difficult moments, I think the new experiences we expose our son to are good for him in the long term. Ha, the fact that your son said we wanted to go to the beach again indicates that he must have enjoyed it enough, even if it wasn't always apparent.

Mr. Daddy said...

The only constant in life is change:)

I'm not a big fan of a lot of change either.

glad you had some positive times and that you always seem to learn from the negative ones :)

jazzygal said...

Looks like you all had a fab time. Your pictures are gorgeous and you look stunning!

xx Jazzy

Patty O. said...

It is so hard on the kids sometimes, isn't it? I do the same thing: expect Danny to enjoy things because I enjoy them. It's hard to accept sometimes that they just don't do change well.

Barbara said...

That last sentence gave me a laugh! I think what Blue Sky wondered.

"But should vacation be about relaxation or growth - I suspect it needs to be both"

You made a rhyme with that truth!

Li said...

First of all--you're gorgeous!

Second, that last line made me laugh so hard because it could apply to both my son and my husband. They both love their routines, yes they do. But mama likes to travel so I push them out the door, and even though there are sometimes meltdowns, we all end up having a good time.

Anonymous said...

So true about change. Maybe next time will be more successful because he'll know more of what to expect!?? I love family time away...but it's almost never relaxing! We'd have to bring a babysitter or something for that! :)

Anonymous said...

I love this post and all the pictures! I especially loved his answer at the end!!

Þorgerður said...

Love those pictures and it seem to me you planted some nice new ideas for future travels...
He looks very relaxed in the end too:)

Brenda Rothman (Mama Be Good) said...

Love, love, love the photos. And your descriptions. Good bits, bad bits - they are all good.

Jennifer said...

Yeah this great

Rachel said...

Having read your posts in backwards order... methinks perhaps he saw your enjoyment of the beach and was doing some outwards thinking about YOUR perspective when he answered "beach"? :)

Glad you got to get away for some beautiful shore time!

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