If you asked me even last year if we would go to a fair I would have laughed and said something like: “Yeah, right” Although I would have said the same thing about going to a Shrimp Fest, three stores in one day with the kids, a birthday party, or attempting Halloween. A lot has changed around here. One of the main reasons for us not doing those things was because we just couldn’t with Daniel. Either going would cause complete meltdowns and we would have to leave or the overstimulation afterwards would be too much for any of us. We still have the overstimulation issue, but knowing how to better help each one of us has made it worth the attempts to try new things.
Sometimes it is not fun, it can take several days for us to get back to our “normal”.
However, it is nothing like it used to be. We actually have fun going out. I am not a nervous wreck trying to stay on top of everything and everyone in an attempt to stop meltdowns, freak outs, or any possible thing that could happen. I have spent so many years on the defense that I caused a lot of stress in myself and others. I already soak in details, and have my own sensory issues, but when I try to stay on top of others sensory/social issues alongside that, it’s too much. It is much better now because Daniel no longer runs away from us in a panic from a noise or what seems like a random thing that causes him fear. His communication and ability to articulate more clearly what is bothering him has made it so much better for him and me. I am no longer spending all of time trying to figure out what could scare him, what could make him run, what could make him panic, and then there is always the food thing.
He has stepped out a bit trying some new things.
We have been able to go to a restaurant a couple of times and we had fun, he had fun. A lot of questions, Daniel is always asking a ton of questions, but fun. In the past the only place that we went to that was pleasant was the museum. He loves the museum and would go every week if he could. I agree with him, I would like to go as well, but I need one that is a bit more exciting to go to. :-) Given that it is pretty much the opposite of a fair, I was not too sure how it would go. My mom mentioned going to the fair and I said: “Let’s try it”.
Next time I will plan it a bit better though.
I knew it was going to be a bit rough because my mom had a church event where she had been face painting kids for two hours. She was overloaded and not “feeling” the fair. Daniel had been not feeling well all day, but he insisted that we go. By the time we went he was feeling better so that was good, but he was anxious since he had never gone before and the only reference he had was a Clifford game. He asked if Clifford would be at the fair. My main concerns had been with him, I get frustrated with myself because when Daniel’s issues seem to be more prominent I forget about what Ariel and Joshua are going through.
We got there and it was going well, we had an adult per each child.
The first stop was the animals of course! It was already loud the second we got there though. The animals smelled so bad. We were able to see all of the animals and I talked to some cows, I got a picture of a beautiful cow who wanted me to set her free so she and I could walk around and talk some more. Then there was the pig who was SO over the event, the rooster who liked me telling him how pretty his feathers were and the chicken who was pretty upset about being in the cage next to that other chicken because she was rude. Ha ha ha Maybe I made all of that up, but I did talk to them and they seemed very happy about it. No one else talked to them. I did get some pictures, no flash!
Ariel started to get physically ill from the smell.
She started turning pale and was holding her nose. She had to go so we went off to check out the rides. All of them did very well, the wanderer ended up being Joshua, he could not hear a thing. Ariel and Joshua wanted to go on the carousel, as they stood in line Joshua started to lose color in his face and was holding his ears. Daniel did not want to go on the carousel. Joshua got worse and he could not go on the ride because the music was too loud. He had to sit out with Grammy and Daniel far away from the music. It was too loud for both Grammy and Daniel as well, but it wasn’t making them get sick like poor Joshua.
I took pictures of Ariel and David.
Ariel loved it. She wanted to do more rides. We found a dragon ride that she HAD to ride. Joshua decided to try it since it was quiet. I was concerned, but let him get on. I couldn’t recall why I was having an uneasy feeling until I looked at him sitting in the dragon with Ariel and I had a flash of what he has done on swings. He used to lose balance, have a petrified face, and would almost fall even when I was holding on to him. Panic hit me and I reminded David how Joshua can get off balance, he was on the outside of the ride. The opening was right there, what if he lost his balance and fell out? OH, GOD! Alright I stayed calm.
David told him to hold on for dear life and Joshua reassured him that he would be brave.
When it took off he had that moment of panic face, the second time around he was saying: “I am brave” over and over out loud, by the third time around he was hooting and hollering and having a blast. Daniel did not want to go on that ride either. He wanted to go on the Ferris wheel. I couldn’t let him, not this time it was too high and since we had never done anything like that he was too unpredictable. All of the rides were so fast or put the kids up in the air or were too loud. I couldn’t find one that would work. I finally found one that I thought may work. It was a boat that went back and forth and up and down. Plus I could ride with him so I offered that one.
Ariel wanted to ride as well.
Joshua was not about the boat at all and he didn’t care if it had pirates on it or not. We sat down and Daniel had his ears covered the whole time and asked me a ton of questions. The boy in front of us told us how cool the ride was. Then, it started. It was slow for like a second, but the jolts threw Ariel and Daniel off. The more it went the faster it got and I was covering both of them with my body telling them that it was ok. They both turned pale, Ariel’s eyes were bulging out of her head and Daniel was white as a ghost. I saw his little hands shaking and I yelled to the guy: “Stop the ride!” Both of them could barely walk, I had to carry Daniel and help Ariel along.
When we got down the questions started.
They both stared at the thing like it was some horrible beast that tried to destroy them. Ariel was teary-eyed and asked why she was so scared. Both of them wanted to know what happened and Daniel wanted to know why he was shaking. I explained that it threw their equilibrium off and it was just how their body was responding. I was feeling it too, but my Mommy instincts trumped my dizzy, nauseous feeling. We sat at the table for a while and Ariel bounced back quickly and wanted to go on the dragon ride because “It makes me feel like I am riding a real dragon” Daniel did not recover so easily. He did not want to try any other rides. I explained to him that he didn’t need to be afraid that we could try again when he is older. At first he said no, but when I explained to him that not all rides are like that and maybe his body just wasn’t ready for it he was more receptive to trying again…sometime.
He has talked about it over and over again, but he is not afraid, which is a VERY good thing.
We were all overloaded. We were all over the noise, the smells, the people, the heat, and the bugs. We made it about three hours. YES! Three hours at a fair that is huge! Daniel had completely shutdown after the ride. He would not drink, his eyes were glazed over, he continued to ask questions, then got fixated on the fans in some of the buildings. He refused to leave one building that had a huge seven blade fan and vents in the ceiling that he could see. We were finally able to convince him to go and he came back to his goofy playful self after about 5 minutes in the car and two cups of water. Everyone had a lot of fun, I ate funnel cake again. Yes, I did!
Funnel Cake! (I didn’t eat the whole thing, I shared.)
Overall it was very enjoyable, it was a great adventure. It was a big accomplishment socially and sensory wise. I was so happy that the kids got to experience it. We will try again and I am sure it will be even better next year. Next year will most likely be at the fall festival in my hometown and that fair rocks! I am looking forward to having good food again, AND they have gluten-free food too! I wish someone would start making gluten-free funnel cakes at the fairs. I let the kids try some cotton candy. They were very excited about that. Ariel said that her favorite was the dragon ride and so did Joshua, he said it was his favorite because “I felt like I was Anakin!” Daniel said that his favorite part was the animals because all the buildings had big fans.
I cannot believe we went to a county fair! Awesome!