I suppose I can’t really put it off any longer, talking about the weekend.
This past weekend, we managed to get down to Busch Gardens one more time before the end of the season – the goal being to let my wife go do some haunted houses with her brother-in-law, which she enjoys, and get the kids on a couple of rides. (Though, why anyone likes haunted houses is beyond me. Then again, I dislike being startled/scared/et cetera.)
So… we got up on Saturday morning, loaded everyone into the van, and drove down.
Saturday was phenomenal. We got the Monster to go on the little bumper cars by himself. We got him to actually wait in line and go on the big bumper cars with me. He rode the carousel, albeit with a lot of being held as he was getting a hint resistant to it. We convinced him to go on the log flume. In short, it was very nearly a “normal child” day at the park, except that he did obviously have his RAP sheet, and the blue “Rider Accessibility Program” wristband, which we used only once (the aforementioned log flume ride).
Things started to go sour after my sister-and-law and I departed the park with the kids and took them to dinner. He was well-enough behaved during dinner at Buffalo Wild-Wings – so chosen since any mild shrieking on his part would likely go unnoticed while the games were going on. By the time we’d gotten back to the hotel, even after I’d given the children Benadryl-laced juice per prior procedure, the kids were in full hopped-up-on-goofballs mode. R fell asleep within about 45 minutes… but the Monster? No. The Monster and I fought a pitched “Go the F*** to Sleep!” battle for about 3 1/2 hours, before he collapsed from exhaustion.
And things on Sunday morning started okay enough – he got up, we had breakfast, and got into the minivan to go back to Busch Gardens… and then it was Autism-from-Hell Day. No way he was going on any rides. No interest in the bumper cars. No interest in the carousel. All he wanted to do was sit in the stroller. And when we tried to get him to eat lunch – because he insisted he was hungry – he went into a full-out meltdown that entailed my carrying him out of the Festhaus to try to calm him down without disturbing others’ lunch.
When we got thrown off the log flume – because he wouldn’t stop squealing and struggling about getting into the log – that was about when we hit our limit, and we packed it in, heading for home with the 4 hour drive ahead of us.
I suppose that a few things can be learned from this. First, he behaves better after a good night’s sleep – a bad night the night before is a good indication that we’re going to have a rough ride the next day. Second, we need to really have a better escape plan. I’m sure I could have come up with something better, if we’d taken some time, to do with him rather than fight our way around the park with him. (I mean… we have season passes. This was our second visit this season to Busch Gardens, our fourth ‘day’ in the two parks in Williamsburg… so it’s fair to say that we got the value out of our passes. Not even counting the twice we’ve already been to Sesame Place this season.) But most importantly, it’s just a reminder not to get too complacent when you think things are turning the corner…