We knew heading into our road trip that some circumstances would be tough for Jett, but we were confident the good would outweigh the bad. And so far that has been true. This trip wouldn’t have possible, or at least very much fun, a few years ago.
Our first destination was Pensacola where we are visiting our niece and her family, including the darling Abigail who turned one yesterday. (I can’t figure out hyperlinks on this phone, but check out my blogroll for Magnify the Lord for info on Abigail and her family.)
We are staying on the Navy base here in Pensacola and part of the fun is seeing and hearing the Blue Angels as they practice in the morning.
The Blue Angels are incredible to watch and even more incredible to hear! Those planes are LOUD! At first the kids were very excited to see them. But as the newness wore off, the noise began to overwhelm us, especially Jett.
I took him inside and got out our math books, thinking that would settle him down and he did fine, until another plane flew over and then he would dive under the table holding his ears. Bless him. We are supposed to go see the actual air show tomorrow. We have earplugs. Let’s hope they are enough!
We also went to the beach this morning, which was great until Jett spotted a jellyfish. Last summer on a trip to the Texas coast Jett got stung by a small jellyfish. At the time, and even now, I kept thinking “why him? Of all five of us, why him?” So today, once he spotted that stinging creature he played the vigilante. He was constantly on the lookout to protect his brother and sister. He was glad to leave the beach and the first one back up the boardwalk to our room.
Food is also tricky, as always. But before we left I packed a cooler and a huge box of food, with all the comforts of home. It’s saving us money, and the gut bombs, of not eating out for every meal, but is also helping Jett feel more relaxed.
The biggest help, though, has been the advice of every parenting book I’ve read about kids on the spectrum. When he has a struggle, we try to see the situation through a “sensory lens”. If his behavior starts to spiral, or he starts stemming, what’s going on? Is it hot, cold? Is it loud? Are there lots of people? Does it smell weird? Being able to remove him from the sensory overload and talking to him about it is huge.
Our next stop, in a few days, is Disney. I can’t imagine the joys and challenges that await us there.
Overall I’m so happy we attempted this trip. This is what it means to live in the real world. And that is the goal we have for him: to be able to function even with his circumstances.
Oh, and one more thing: thank goodness for the Nintendo DS. When all else fails, he can lose himself in Pokemon. And not even the Blue Angels can compete with that.