One of the things I tend to dread with the kids – the Monster especially – is going to family life cycle events.
It’s not that our family doesn’t understand how children are, and more directly how the Monster may potentially in various situations. It’s more, to me, the potential for a meltdown, an outburst, for something to distract from what is really a once-in-a-lifetime thing for someone else…
On that note, though, we went away this past weekend to my brother-in-law’s wedding.
You’ve all read about the trials and travails of when we go on a trip, and this was one of those – five-plus hours in the car each way, plus a two night hotel stay – which was going to have us on edge anyway. But with the adaptations we learned during the trip to Wildwood, we were a little less uncomfortable with the situation, and had at least some hopes of not spending most of the evening driving around the city (though I’ll admit that I did scope out in advance where I could find 24 hours businesses).
The wife booked a suite hotel, so the kids could sleep in a separate room from us, and we headed off in the minivan, armed with the iPad, with medication and melatonin.
On the sleep front, the Monster seemed to do just fine. In fact, on the first night, we don’t even know if he used the iPad – the wife had plugged it in beside the sofa-bed that he was sleeping on, and it was still there in the morning when everyone got up. There were no screaming incidents this time, and while we didn’t get fabulous sleep, we all at least got enough rest that sleep wasn’t a major factor.
The ceremony, though, was where I was more concerned. My brother-in-law and his bride were having an outdoor ceremony in upper-eighties, humid weather, followed by a reception in a non-air-conditioned hall with a DJ, followed by a bonfire. (My in-laws brought their RV, and the plan was to put the kids to bed in the RV when they got tired, to let the rest of us stay and enjoy the evening.) These kinds of things are difficult for the Monster, the idea of having to be quiet and respectful for the ceremony, followed by all of those stimuli at the reception…
And thankfully, I think we were worrying for nothing. Of course, he wasn’t perfectly quiet during the ceremony, but I don’t think that his little perseverations were any kind of major distraction. (No idea how much of it came through on the Periscope broadcast of it, or on the audio of the video, though the Monster had to be shushed several times.) He didn’t have a meltdown or cause any major disruption, and was kept soothed for the short duration of it, even when his mother got up to do a reading.
And during the reception?
During the reception, he was just fine, actually. No one really minded him running around the bit that he did – he was hardly the only child doing so – and he was absolutely fascinated by the lights in use by the DJ. He ate his dinner without too much of a fuss, he let R draw him out to dance on the dance floor both with his uncle and with his mother and… he was, in general, a good kid. (Which is a very big saving grace in times like this.) While he didn’t particularly want to go to sleep in the RV, he did stay behind and play with his iPad, and when I checked on him later, he was at least resting quietly without causing too much of a ruckus.
And yes, he did have to wear his headphones while he was in there. I don’t blame him one iota, honestly, because it was very busy and even I could have used the headphones for a while. But, as when we go to other environments that are equally busy, they were just enough to help him cope and blend in.
I’m starting to feel like we’ve perhaps turned a corner with traveling with him…