Monday, April 5, 2010

Cross Country

We're back from a full Easter long-weekend. Filled it full ourselves, by taking on a trip to my dad's place in Kansas, a 12-hour drive from here.

I'd like to say that Joy was a dream, pleasant and cooperative and at her most charming and communicative the entire time!

The truth, of course, is considerably more mixed than that.

As I look back at my past few Joy-posts, I've been doing a lot of accentuating the positive. Which is great, important, uplifting! but quite a bit less than the whole picture. Blended in with the increased vocalizations and the group hugs have been a short fuse, a renewed spate of toy-throwing and biting (self and others), a powerful unwillingness to let herself be properly cleaned during a messy diaper change.

Those unwillingnesses ramped up sharply for our Kansas trip. We thought we'd have a pleasant stop at McDonalds en route, but she threw food and refused to eat anything more than a couple of fries. We struggled with getting liquids into her the entire trip, resulting in the unfortunate digestive effects that occur when one doesn't drink just quite enough. Still haven't gotten any milk into her in the last five days. Soda and juice, can you believe. Yikes.

She flung the glasses off my face several times. I lost a handful of (increasingly gray) hair to her fist. At one point at Easter dinner she'd been happily eating a serving of jello salad with carrots, and then before we could blink, multiple fistsful of orange jello went flying all over the table. In front of ALL the relatives. Sigh.

And yet!

Her grandparents were so thoughtful and kind as we planned several days' worth of visit activities. Grandma came up with a musuem to visit, called the Museum of World Treasures, with an eclectic collection for Rose and her cousin to peruse and a big upstairs playroom with an indoor bouncy castle where Joy could jump to her heart's content! I even got to sneak out and see a couple of the exhibits... and had an Elvis Sighting! a silk scarf signed by Elvis himself. How could you top that?

Another day we went to the zoo. Joy immediately wanted to climb over a fence and play in the water with the flamingos, and couldn't get over her disappointment that it wasn't allowed... until Grandma rented a sturdy stroller that gave her a chance to be wheeled around and calm down. We had a resounding success with feeding the goats! Notice how the initial hand-over-hand support faded out to nothing:

Joy rewarded Grandma with unsolicited kisses on their front porch swing. And Grandpa made a most excellent discovery that Joy liked to play in the back seat of their parked Prius! Safe, enclosed, a fine distraction.

It had been years since we made this particular visit -- since 2006, to be exact. We packed in a lot of family into the few days, including my brother (Uncle Schnirelmann) and sister-in-law, several of my uncles and aunts and cousins, step-sister & brother-in-law and their three daughters (the youngest of whom is not much older than Rose). I felt a little bad that I didn't even try to contact any of my childhood friends, but then again, I didn't even end up getting to talk much with all the relatives.

Autism Awareness Day (April 2) came and went during our travels. I didn't have anything profound or coherent to say. But I'd like to share a set of posts from Both Hands and a Flashlight for their insights on autism awareness for different audiences:

And I think that, for this post, we are about at


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love your posts, JM. You show a wonderful ability of balancing the mix of positive and not-so. Both sides of the picture help me know and love Joy more.

You did just a leeetle beating yourself up for not doing anything when you did so much. (Old friends? Send them an email with your blog url?)

Love the fading assistance to feed the goat!

Soon I will be reviewing (after I visit) the first theme park built specifically for persons with special needs - LOTS of attention to persons with sensory-response differences. Morgan's Wonderland here in my town.

When your family decides to visit Uncle Schnirelmann - think about pushing just a bit further south, eh? I have a Prius with a back seat. BRatK