I had figured, when we left the house yesterday afternoon, that I’d probably be getting home tonight and trying to put down my thoughts about our trip to Sesame Place (in-season) before Falling Skies starts… but the review will come tomorrow, actually, because something better came up.
This weekend, at Sesame Place, was “Sprout Weekend with Chica and Angelina Ballerina”. Now, while we do make sure the Monster doesn’t get too much television, he knows Sprout well enough and will watch certain shows. He’s not big on Angelina Ballerina, but Chica, he’s familiar with and sings along with the song when the Costume Coop is closed for playtime.
So it seemed a great fit – a weekend trip to Sesame Place on a weekend when there’s going to be a special show with Chica, Kelly, and Angelina Ballerina. Even better: since we’d made the decision to get season passes so we could also visit Busch Gardens, we could participate in a meet-and-greet with them afterwards. We registered for a show time around lunch, giving ourselves enough time to get the wristbands for the meet and greet, got back across the park for the show, and then again back across for the meet and greet.
The show was enjoyable – there were a few jokes aimed at us adults (and I will admit without embarrassment that I do enjoy The Chica Show) as well as wonderful involvement that even got the Monster participating from his seat. Angelina, as expected, didn’t hold his interest, so we shuffled off, used the etra time to get ourselves changed into bathing suits to expedite the changeover from “entertainment” mode to “go play in the water” mode, and got into line for the meet and greet.
Now… you can imagine, from how I’ve discussed it in the past, that this was obviously increasingly difficult. The Monster is not good at waiting in line, at all. Moreso when he’s hot and knows we’re going swimming shortly. The idea of “we’re going to meet Chica” is very abstract to him and therefore not an incentive to wait in line. I spent a good deal of the time trying to keep him from shrieking or from doing little karate kicks, or trying to duck under the queue line as we meandered up towards the front of the queue.
So it was our turn. The wife was wrangling both children as I tried to move the behemoth of a dual-child stroller out of the way, and brought them up. Kelly had been encouraging kids to tickle Chica to make her squeak… and the Monster is a little tentative around both puppets and costumed characters. The wife mentioned – as is the course of things – that the Monster has Autism.
I cannot – absolutely cannot – tell you how nice it is when someone who really has no reason to do so in such a situation, goes out of their way to make things happen. The answer from Kelly was simple – that there was plenty of time, no one was in a rush, and they could give him some extra time to warm up to the situation.
Kelly tickled Chica first to show him that it was alright to touch the puppet, followed by him slowly, slowly getting closer to touching Chica himself… and Chica was very good about squeaking up a storm from the bare touch that he willing to go with. And the wife has some better pictures of him – I’m not usually the one behind a camera, but wanted to be sure that we got something just in case she’d had to be up there… but I’ll be damned if they didn’t get him to hang around on their set long enough to get pictures of him before he decided he’d had enough.
I’m sure that Sprout realizes what a wonderful group they have working on their channel, that they take so much care to ensure what kinds of personalities are around… but this really made the Monster’s day, and that means a lot to us as his parents, even moreso with the differences in how he reacts to the world. And I think it’s very important to make sure that we share the positives and make sure that people realize what an impact they have in the world, especially when the recipient of that effort can’t, himself, tell them.
And Kelly – even if, as you lamented during the show, that your liberal arts degree has you “working in a costume shop for two talking, singing chickens”… consider me an even larger fan now.