Swimming, Riding, and Emotional Roller Coasters

Having a summer packed with activities has been fairly overwhelming for me, so I’m guessing my kids, including Eddie, are feeling the same way. Constantly being on the move has been fun, but also very exhausting. Yesterday, to add to the constant state of exhaustion, we went to our local theme/ water park. Eddie and his older sister had won complimentary tickets for doing a large amount of reading. Eddie’s was completed via audio books and listening to his parents, but still counted, as it should.

I knew we were going to be pushing our limits by taking him to a water park AND attempting carnival-type rides all day long. However, there was a large group of friends going, and his sisters were so excited to go. We wanted Eddie to have a chance to participate as well. The potential for fun was just too great, and there were so many things there he could enjoy.

The water park went very well, probably because it was first. He enjoyed floating the lazy river, and playing in the wave pool. It was over ninety degrees, so it just felt good. After the water, we wandered over to the rides.

Eddie’s first perk came with a courtesy bracelet that would move him to the front of most lines. I was a little nervous about taking advantage of Eddie’s multiple impairments, but was quickly justified. We cut to the front for the log ride, and he cried while we waited a mere two minutes. I can’t imagine standing in a hot, long line with him for over half an hour. He would’ve never been able to participate. Just to hear him laugh as we plummeted into the water was enough to tell me the courtesy bracelet was a good choice.

After that, Eddie only made it on one more ride. He was agitated, hot, and nobody was moving fast enough. We got him some snacks, but when the food was gone he was immediately mad. He threw multiple tantrums that involved screaming, pinching, and crying. This left me feeling sad, helpless, inadequate, and desperate. It was obviously time to go.

Maybe because my brother and his wife recently had a baby, I related my emotions to those feelings I had when my kids were newborn. Remember when you have that sad, tiny baby in your arms and you can’t do anything to make it better. They cry, and cry, and you try everything you can think of, but nothing is good enough. You feel like as their mother, you should have all the answers, but you’re failing. You end up crying just as hard, if not harder than your child, because you simply don’t know what to do. Do you remember?

That is exactly how I feel sometimes having a child who has very few ways to express himself. Yesterday, it took all I had not to burst into tears. When I really could think of no other method to calm him, we left the park. Though I was sad to leave, he had been there for seven hours, which was outstanding. There were a hundred smiles, and multiple spurts of laughter throughout the entire experience. There were also countless tantrums towards the end, but the more positive moments made it all worth it.

As usual, we just went for it, and decided to make it a family outing. We didn’t want to go without Eddie, so we didn’t. This morning, he is sleeping in, which is very rare but well deserved. Today, we are off to camp for two nights. Regardless of the suspected ups and downs, I also suspect it will be lots of fun.