Was That A Vacation?

Six and a half hours into our drive home, with just a little over 1 hour of driving left, the worst thing that can happen–that dreaded “what if?”, happened.

They say 90% of the time, what you most fear never happens.  I guess that was true on this trip.  More than 90% of the time was fun, but that 10% that was bad, was very, very bad.

9 year old Dash (adhd/autism) would correct these numbers to 1 1/2 hours out of an 81 hour trip = .02%.  Technically, we got off light.  It should have been 8.1 hours of what we feared most, and for this (not happening), I am very, very grateful!

It’s so easy to let the torture of being crammed in a car with 4 children (2 adhd/autism, 1 neurotypical, and one 7 month old) and a husband for that last hour+ with the baby crying, which set of my 6 year old Sketch (autism/anxiety/adhd) into one of those classic autism-screeches that just blows your eardrums out along with the few brain cells that were left behind after childbirth, cloud your thoughts of EVER doing something like THAT again!

But, now that time has calmed me down and blurred the horrors of last night (NOT), I’m ready to think about the other 79.5 hours of the vacation that were really, quite nice!

We went to the same hotel we went to last year, and met Mr. Incredibles parents there.  The main attraction at this location is the indoor swimming pool.

It was truly one of the best vacations we’ve had.  Normally we laugh (read cry) at the thought of a “vacation” because it is so exhausting to take our family anywhere, but this time… I think it counts as a true vacation!

As a family, we had no children missing at any rest stops or during the hotel stay. We didn’t even feel the need to booby-trap the door to our room so if anyone tried to escape in the middle of the night, the noise would wake us up…well, ok… Mr. Incredible did leave a very noisy bag of chips in front of the door the first night, just in case (by the way, have you noticed how loud chip bags have become?  Sunchips are especially noisy.).

We had NO COMPLAINTS from the people staying beside us or below us for noise or stomping or screaming!

During the entire trip, no one bolted!  I am still in shock of this one!

Every single one of the kids surprised me with how much they have progressed in the last year, and how well they were behaved.

Dash slept like he normally does at home instead of keeping his reputation up of 24/7 wakeful hours 3 days in a row. He was wonderful swimming, and compared to last year, he was not afraid of getting his face wet, or going under water. He didn’t “drown” even once!

Sketch handled so much change and even several disappointments very, very well.  He was absolutely amazing in the pool. He  has made so much progress!  Last year he wouldn’t leave the steps leading into the pool because he didn’t want to get his swimsuit wet.  This year, he went all the way in and traveled the perimeter of the pool all the way to the super-deep section of 4 1/2 feet (insert big proud smile here)  and climbed the ladder to get out of the pool all by himself.  He was his very happy self, a side of him that his grandparents haven’t seen before because he’s usually too stressed out by all the changes and the new environment to “be himself”.  But this time, he was hilarious and engaged with a lot of back and forth interaction.  He also coped with no DVD’s for the entire trip. This was an accident, we’d brought them, but we did not have the power cord to the DVD player.  He handled it amazingly well (insert another big smile here).

Princess Buttercup had a great time, as always.  She had a blast playing Dicecapades with her Grambo (what she calls her grandma).  She was a great big helper with her baby sister and her little brother.  She shared a room with her twin brother (Dash) and there was minimal complaining and fighting!  She also practiced playing underwater this year, something she wouldn’t even try last year.  She learned to “sit” on the bottom of the pool and dove for quarters with Dash!

Polkadot was a little angel.  She even slept pretty well for her first road trip!  She was very alert and happy, taking in everything she saw.  She wasn’t so sure about Daddy jumping out of the water unexpectedly with goggles and wet hair, but she adapted after that initial shock just fine.  She had a lot of fun showing off all her “tricks” to Grambo, like zerberting a fresh spoonful of baby food right at her (ha ha!) and sitting up big and tall, “reading” her board books. She even handled her very off-schedule days with no problems at all. She never cried when she was tired, she just would fall asleep and wake up happy.  Quite a big surprise!

And, Mr. Incredible behaved himself as well (hee-hee).

There is so much to be thankful and grateful for on this vacation.  Taking out my treasure stone that I kept to remember the lesson I learned last year about the gifts God gives us (click here for more on that),  I have decided to “let go” of that .02% of yuck, and cling to the wonderful memories and good times we had.

Colossians 3:15-16 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

We’re Going on Vacation? A Social Story

This is a social story I just created for the boys, to help them understand where we are going, and when we are coming home.  Vacations are not easy on the boys.  Dash is known to stay awake 24 hours/day for several days in a row.  He doesn’t seem to mind that, but his poor parents do!

I found a picture online of the hotel, which will help Sketch & Dash know when we finally arrive!

The particular hotel we will be staying at has a pool.  Sketch used to attempt to take all his clothes off  to swim in the giant bathtub, but as of last summer, he would not put on his swimsuit at all.  He doesn’t see why you would wear “shorts” without underwear!

 

Sketch doesn’t seem like to go on vacation at all. He wants to sleep in his own bed, in his own house. He usually does pretty well until it is time to sleep, then he is ready to leave and go home.

So, I have made sure to mention what days we will sleep in the hotel, and that we will sleep all night!

And, hopefully, being at the hotel with the kids Grandparents, Aunt & Uncle,  and Cousins near their age, will help Sketch relax and have a good time!

In the past, I would have used more pictures for the schedule piece of the story, but considering both boys are reading well, and they have the calendars memorized for years to come (lol, well, almost!) I decided to keep it short and just write it out.  I would have LOVED to have pictures of Mr. Incredible’s parents and his brothers’ family that we will be meeting there, but we don’t have any of the whole family!  We do have lots of video of them though, so hopefully Sketch understands who we are going to see when we get there.

Vacation for kids on the spectrum (and their families) is known to be hard because of all the breaks in routine and the jump into the unknown.

What ideas have you found to make it easier for everyone and more like a true vacation?

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