Last summer, we went on a family trip to the ocean. We had been to this particular destination twice before, and had stayed in the same rental on both occasions. This time, we (the parents) decided that there was no need for such a large home. My TBP was excited for the trip. He was in good spirits as we pulled into the entrance. We drove past the usual, larger rental and immediately the questions started from the backseat. The mood went from cheery and upbeat to anxious and emotional. My TBP could not accept that we were NOT staying in the same house. No matter how we explained it, he was devastated.
This scenario took place in the beginning of our 2e journey. How could a kid be so upset about a vacation rental? He kept telling us that we didn’t understand and that we weren’t listening to him. We thought that we were listening, but he was right…we didn’t understand.
Fast forward to this summer’s first trip of the year. During this trip, we had several small successes where there could have been real struggles.
For our first short trip of the summer, we chose a favorite place that is close with a beautiful pool. When we arrived, we decided to have a rest in the room and our son “slounges” in the king size bed. Although we are the ones that packed and unpacked, he is “exhausted” and needs down time to recover. Personally, I was relieved that he wasn’t asking to swim right away.
Since we brought the puppy, we needed to take her for a walk despite the desire to rest the afternoon away. We get a bit of debating and negotiating, but ultimately my son agrees to the walk. While this doesn’t seem like a major win, it is true progress! We head outdoors and the muggy air hits us right away. I have to admit, I wanted to return to the air conditioned room and resume the slounging, but we are taking a family walk.
Shortly after we left, my son begins to itch like crazy. His already present heat rash, is aggravated by the steamy air. I’m thinking that this is going to be a miserable walk. Just when the complaining begins to get too much, we reach a small pond area. His interest in the water skippers distracts him from the heat rash. Another victory! It is amazing to see him focus on these creatures instead of his body’s uncomfortableness. At the pond’s edge, he is in his element. Being able to lean in, observe & test out ways to catch and release these small insects is the perfect activity for him.
Once back to the room, the slounging continues until dinner. In the past, this would have been a time where things could go south quickly. Instead of waiting, we are proactive and offer a snack since dinner is a few hours away. The snack is taken, consumed & he retreats (with the Ipad) to the King bed. We have a charged Ipad (finally found the charger while unpacking) and a fed boy. If he had it his way, that bed would have been his location for the night. When it is time for dinner, he gets dressed (with few complaints), eats his dinner (despite not wanting to eat), and entertains himself while he waits for his food and for us to finish our dinners(since we didn’t want to eat in record time). We saw this as another huge success that would not have been likely during last year’s vacation.
The final test of the trip was swimming. My TBP had begged to go swimming after dinner, but the pool was already closed. We assured him that he could swim first thing in the morning. He gives us a couple of “no fairs” but stops fairly quickly…probably because he is tired like the rest of us. Instead, we decide to watch The Lorax (which he thoroughly enjoyed) and call it a night. You can imagine my concern when we got up the next morning to thunder and lightning and realized that a swim in the outdoor pool was not going to happen! As I watch the sky light up, I’m thinking that this is where it is going to happen. This is where all of the close calls are going to stop and we are in for a full blown tantrum. Instead of a tantrum, he expressed his disappointment (appropriately) and we talked about the safety issues and that the weather is unpredictable. Last year, no amount of reasonable explaining would have made a difference.
I am not saying that it is continued success from now on. I know that we will have some challenges ahead, but I am proud of the work that we have done as a family! Here’s to the rest of a fun-filled summer!