Wednesday, September 07, 2011

amusement, orange wristbands, and generosity

for her last birthday the princess kitty asked her fantastic uncle (because calling him her "great-uncle" makes him sound old) for tickets to lake compounce. we went last year when someone else had given us tickets as a gift. we had such a wonderful time and the best part was how much fun the silent prince had while we were there. the princess kitty, always thinking of her younger brother, wanted a gift that she could share with him so last saturday we put on our bathing suits, packed some bags, and made our way to the water/amusement park.

it started off great. the silent prince and his big sister had a blast in the water park. hubby and i were having a great time too despite the fact that the water was freezing. the princess kitty and i decided that we should take her brother up one of the water slides specifically for little kids. she and i both agreed that she should go down the slide with him, but when we finally made it to the top of the slide the attendant told us that only one child could go at a time (and i was too tall to ride) and that a lifeguard would be at the bottom of the slide.

the princess kitty went first and i put the silent prince into position. he's gone down slides before and he had just been on some of the other water slides. water gushes out of the top of the slide to help propel bodies down the slide. i gave the prince a "ready, set, go" and then a little push. he started off in the gush of water, went about 7 or 8 feet past the gush to the point right before the first real drop on the slide and stopped then stood up.

i yelled to him. i called his name. i ordered him to SIT DOWN. he just stood there enjoying the view.

if my first mistake was taking him up the slide in the fist place then my second mistake was not just going out onto the slide to get him instead of asking the attendant if i could just go get him.

i don't know how long he stood there as i kept insisting that i would go get him. at the bottom of the slide hubby was trying to convince the attendant at the bottom to let him into the kiddie-only pool at the bottom of the slides. the princess kitty, already upset that the attendant wouldn't let her ride the slide down with her brother, started to panic.

the attendant told me a lifeguard was coming to get him. i told her once again that i thought i should just go out and get him. i was at the point of saying "to hell with you, i'm going" when the lifeguard finally made his way up the slide and walked the prince back up the slide to me.

at the bottom of the slide i comforted the princess kitty who was now in tears and hubby and i agreed that it would have saved all of us a great deal of grief if i had just gone out and gotten him.

since it was still the beginning of our visit a quick recovery was needed. hubby took the prince for a walk and i took the princess for a raft ride that ended in an awesome waster slide. it made all the difference for the both of us.

no, that isn't us going down the slide

after a late - and very expensive lunch - we headed towards the amusement park rides. last year the prince loved one particular ride - the rainbow rider- so we made that our first destination. when we had been on the ride before i was able to get one of the best pictures ever of the two kids.

because it was labor day weekend and a saturday there were lines for every ride, including the rainbow rider. i held our spot while hubby walked the prince around. when we got to the front of the line there was one "teacup" left for the ride, but the attendant closed the gate before we could get through. she explained that she had to let two other girls jump ahead of us because they had a special wrist band.

as the two sisters walked past us i immediately knew that the younger girl was autistic.

hubby continued walking the prince and the mom, attendant and i quickly struck up a conversation about the bright orange wristband. the the younger daughter was indeed autistic and had difficulty waiting in lines. if i went to guest relations they would give the silent prince one too which would allow us to go to the front of every line and ride the same ride twice in a row if we wanted. i then told her about how he had stood up in the middle of the water slide.

"that was your son? you know, when i saw him i said to my daughter, 'i bet he's autistic.'"

at guest relations the dad in line in front of us struck up a conversation with us about getting the wristbands. apparently the park trains their staff on interacting with families of children with autism. we had a nice chat and both our sons said hello to each other. when it was his turn to go to the window he let us skip ahead of him, i think it was probably obvious to him that the prince was completely done with waiting.

i now know that lake compounce partners with autism speaks every year and even has an autism awareness day each year. this is something i'm going to remember for next june.

the wristband made all the difference. honestly, i felt like a vip being able to go to the front of every line. of course the silent prince only tolerated the wristband for about 5 minutes before insisting on getting it off of his wrist at which point i simply tied it onto a hair-tie that i wore around my wrist.

it was such a great day that we stayed until the park closed, something hubby and i had been adamant about not doing.

the princess kitty saved the summer for me- for all of us. back in may, when she pondered what she would ask for from her fantastic uncle she wanted something that we could use as a whole family. talk about perspective! (see my previous post) being able to include her brother in things we do makes her happy. finding a place where we can actually do that is a challenge. but all of us left the park that day feeling positive, happy, and content.

i had expected and prepared for a high-stress day. i expected that i would be a miserable mess on the ride home. i was certain that i would go to bed that night bemoaning the fact that family outings are near impossible for our household. instead my whole perspective on the summer was set right again.

it is all thanks to the generosity of my daughter and her fantastic uncle.

peace y'all

"and vivian followed."

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