Being 27 years old you’d think I would be ok and somewhat comfortable with change. Change is one of the hardest things for me, still isn’t easier although I have accepted it’s inevidable. Autism forces you to deal with change every day and I see it is a forced life lesson but it’s something I’ve been needing to learn. I like a plan, what I’m in for and how things will go but autism swatted that away before I could blink. I have learned to roll with things now, to go with the flow and not panic. I’ve learned to adapt on a regular basis, hence the blog name, Adapting to Autism.
Today Brody and I took a trip to Syracuse to the zoo there, about an hour away. Usually trips like this I don’t do alone because it can be overwhelming and I get flustered easily. Today, I didn’t really have an option so I sucked it up and just went with positivity and excitement to set the tone of the trip. I’m thankful that he slept the whole way down and I got to roll down the window and enjoy the nice weather with some music on. As soon as I parked that calm all came to a hault like the car… Someone didn’t nap long enough. I packed up the stroller and started in, turned to the first exhibit of monkeys and I was already sweating. A lot of the exhibits are inside, narrow halls and lots of glass and cave looking enclosures. Brody instantly had his hands over his ears when I walked under the “rock” entry way and started mani king, sliding up and out of his stroller and almost toppled the thing over. I could see and hear the sheer panic in his face, he was flailing and turning his head side to side running away from me.
I panicked and ran outside with him, I saw a water fountain and was so relieved because water is his favorite. Not today. He did the same thing and was screaming and crying with wide, scared eyes. I’m already an overthinker and this specific scenario always sends me into overdrive. I was trying to think of anyway to relieve it, candy, a game on my phone, milk, his blues clues doll, singing, just anything at this point. All of that failed, I ended up jogging away to a quitter place that was going down a path and he took his hands down, although still annoyed but not having a melt down. There was a group of three adults and a kid in front of us, taking up the whole walkway so I couldn’t pass. I noticed the lady who appeared to be the grandmother in the group keep looking back and giving Brody “the look”, I’m sure you can imagine the one I mean. I’ve learned that I can’t say things to everyone who gives a dirty look to Brody, there’s not enough time in the day and I don’t want to ruin our time. That’s why I write this blog. Although that lady won’t see this post about what’s behind some of Brodys times of distress, maybe someone will experience the same thing and carry about without giving dirty looks. My mom told me to let negativity roll of my back like a duck so that’s what I did… Onward I went.
We looked at elephants, my favorite. I made him pose with them in the stroller even though he didn’t care a thing about them. As we took off to the next exhibit, to my horror was a mister ahead. This mister sprays the WHOLE ENTIRE WALKWAY! While this is a great idea, for a kid with sensory issues it our worst nightmare. I had to run through and even at that he was back to wailing and panicking, gasping for air like he drowning even though to most it was just mist. Spraying is Brodys worst feeling by far, you should have seen how he felt. I was relieved once we were through and I saw the penguin exhibit ahead, he loves the otters so this was a guaranteed. I head over and there’s a rock overhang to shade the guests and Brody slips back into sheer panic and I feel like calling it quits at this point. To summarize the rest of the time there, reread this post three times and that’s how it went. I briskly exited the zoo feeling defeated and bummed out, I really thought he would like it. I quickly circled around and felt better because I had tried to make him happy and there was no way to know it would be that awful for him and the day wasn’t over. Time to adapt.
One thing my kid always loves is bouncing so off to the trampoline park we went. I knew I had saved the trip and it wasn’t a waste as soon as he stepped on the court. I swear he was floating from trampoline to trampoline, squealing with joy having the kids section to himself. After an hour of fun it was back home for us with some M&M’s as a cherry on top for my sweet boy. We got home and outside he went, playing in the sandbox, coloring with markers and swinging in the hammock like we do every night. Even as I wrote this my little buddy sat in the gazebo across from me, drawing spiders and snowmen, happy as can be. I’m proud of myself for adapting, keeping my composure and making lemonade out of what seemed to be a tough start to my day with him. He’s happily washing up in the tub now and singing blue clues to himself so I think he would agree if he could talk.
So many little lessons in today post, for parents and those on the outside. I’m thankful for the day I had with him and the ongoing lessons having him in my life teaches me every day. Today threw me a few situations I had to Apply these new lessons towards and I am still here to tell the tale. We will both be sleeping well tonight!