Yesterday was our annual trip to go visit some friends for a seriously-massive BBQ that has been going on uninterrupted for over a decade. (Well, if you include the mini-edition we had last year in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, when most of the attendees couldn’t make it.) Going to this party involves a two-hour-each-way car ride, sandwiching several hours of trying to keep the kids engaged.
Setting aside that R did not really want to go down for a nap – he refused to sleep in the van on the way to the party, and wasn’t quite willing to hit the hay in a pack-and-play there, but went down eventually anyway – the NT end of our party was fine.
On the other hand, the Monster was a little more of a handful.
Of course, we made it more difficult for ourselves by forgetting to bring the Monster’s iPad with us, so he had no distraction that would keep him in one spot and occupied for hours. This meant that he was mostly roaming around our friends’ house and getting into minor spots of trouble here and there, mostly with his wanting to either go upstairs (where younger children were sleeping) or down into the basement (which was supposed to be off-limits).
Much of my enjoyment of the party was spent outside on the deck with the grill-master, chatting away about other things of common interest – languages, travel and a few more technical things where I could give some advice. This also had me in a position to intercept the Monster each time he ventured out from the house to… perseverate on the deck.
Yes, the Monster’s need to drop every and any foreign object off of a raised platform was in full display. I would guess that within about twenty minutes of arriving, every fallen leaf, every little twig and every piece of wind-blown shingle had been carefully either pushed through the gaps between the boards or tossed unceremoniously over the side to end up on the ground below. Fortunately, everyone at the party had either been forewarned about the Monster’s tendencies or has known him most of his life to know how his Autism affects him, so this wasn’t too big of a concern (so long as he stayed away from the grill or the deep frier).
I might be a bad parent on some level for just accepting that it’s going to be something he needs to do when we’re outside. I don’t know that it’s really worth my fighting with him, though, if it helps him stay calm in public and he’s having a decent time. Still, we probably should be bringing this up with the psychologist when we finally get an appointment again to see her, to see what we can do to mitigate the behaviors…