Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Trying Something

When we first learned that Rachel and Simon were on the spectrum, we packed up the car and drove to Disney World 2 days later. While we were there, we attended several shows in the parks and most of them were disastrous for Simon. He just couldn't handle it all. We got used to it by the end of the week and were finally able to get him to sit through a show on one of the last days, but that required him to be sitting in my lap and being coaxed throughout the show. It also helped that it was a musical, and music is and always has been very soothing to him. But we hadn't exposed him to shows after that experience. That is, until today.

Today, I (on my own) took Rachel and Simon to the Circus of the Senses, put on by the Big Apple Circus. Getting there was it's own Comedy of Errors as I managed to get lost and was already running late. When we finally arrived, we parked the car and I put the harnesses (let's call them what they really are -- LEASHES) on the two of them and we headed over to the bus to take us to the Big Top. They're used to buses, so this wasn't much of a challenge. So far so good, right?

Well, we got inside and were taken to our seats. That's when things started to go wrong. Rachel quickly got bored waiting for the show to start. Simon wanted the "harness" OFF. Rachel took her lead from Simon and tried to pull her's off too. I pulled out the container of goldfish, and that got them to settle down a little bit until the show started. Then the lights went down.

Rachel was awed by what she was seeing. Simon was, well, not! He started to scream. He started to kick. He was doing everything in his power to run away. I picked him up and put him on my lap and made attempts to soothe him. Rachel tried to climb over the seats to get a better view of the clowns. Simon screamed some more. I turned his head into my shoulder and quietly sung to him. Rachel stretched out the harness to its fullest trying to get it off. I pulled her back. I had her stand on the chair next to me so she could get a better view. Then I brought my attention back to Simon, who seemed to show signs of settling down. When Simon realized he had my full attention, the screaming resumed. The clowns finished and the horses came out. Rachel was enthralled for a little while, but they didn't hold her attention as well as the clowns. Simon wanted OUT.

We stuck it out for another scene or 2, then I packed up the goldfish, threw the backpack over my shoulder, grabbed the 3 jackets, got a good hold of those stupid leashes and dragged them and everything else outside. Someone saw my struggle and carried the backpack for me. Once we were outside, I took the harnesses off long enough to put on their jackets (and then struggled to get them back on again) and we headed down to the buses to bring us back to the car. This time, neither of them WANTED to get on the bus. They wanted to go back into the Big Top. But we got on and went back to the car. I forced them into their car seats and we headed back to Maryland.

On the way back, I stopped at Burger King and got some onion rings and a shake. They may not be on my diet, but I needed the comfort food.

I really want to take them to see the Laurie Berkner Band concert in May up in Baltimore. I contacted Simon's school to ask for their advice as to how to prepare him (we have about 6 weeks) and on the phone we brainstormed a little bit. They definitely feel that we can make it all right for Simon, especially since he LOVES her music and with all the videos available on YouTube hopefully he'll be ready for the experience. I hope so because I'm planning on getting the tickets tomorrow afternoon.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds so much like our experience with Christian and Sesame Street Live. He settled a bit easier but sat on my dad's lap with his head buried in his shoulder whimpering when he was two and again when he was 3. At 5 he still wasn't into the show but was able to sit through it. I cannot tell you how heroic you are to me for attempting it on your own. I have skipped out on many of these experiences for fear of how Christian will react. I can't imagine doing it with two.