Today we went to our local zoo to see the big display of model trains. What a great time! And it was no surprise at all to spot at least one other autistic boy there. Something about trains and these kiddos really connects. I took him today because Fridays are half days at the Center (VB school), and I hoped that since most other kids would be in school, there wouldn't be a big crowd. I was right – it was perfect! Just a few other kids & T had the big space to themselves, and T was able to jump and flap his hands and make very happy noises as much as he wanted – especially since another boy was there doing the same thing. He especially liked the trains that moved quickly and were on tracks close by.
What pleased me so much was that although we did stay in certain areas for long, long periods of time, he did eventually move around the whole space, even upstairs, and got to see the whole exhibit. He got distracted for a few minutes by the enormous fans (this display was set up in a huge greenhouse), but I was able eventually to move him away from them without a scream or a lying-down fit.
This was a very successful venture out into the world today. I feel so very blessed that we have a kid that can maneuver these situations with reasonable success. So many fellow parents don't even try anymore – they just know their boy won't be able to handle the crowds, the change of routine, the noise, the stimulation, etc. Yes, we have had our share of struggles, and even a few disasters, but they have not stopped us from trying. And I figure that if we never take him to these places, he'll never have the opportunity to learn how to handle them.
The grandmother of the other boy & I almost immediately started chatting. She was watching T, and I had spotted her grandson. We smiled at each other, and when I approached, said "I think our boys could stay here ALL DAY." She replied, "Yes, I think you understand. I was watching your boy. Once you have one, you can spot 'em a mile away!" It was so cute, and honest.
Her boy was 8, and I couldn't help looking forward two years and thinking about T being that big. Do they have to grow up? Can't he just stay little and cute? I won't be able to pick him up when he's that big. And God, I hope he's potty trained by then!
Okay, stay in the moment. It was an awesome afternoon. Let's hear it for model trains.