Great Help + Great Friends = Great Long Weekend

What a pleasant long weekend I’ve enjoyed with my family and friends. It can be tough to put in enough preparation and supports and flexibility in order for my whole family to equally enjoy outings together. Maybe I’ve got some of this parenting support stuff down more than I give myself credit for 🙂

Anyway, it started with Friday heading out to a lake to swim. I invited my good friend, Kyna, and her two young, adorable children, along. Her hubby didn’t have to work that day, so he decided to tag along as well. I was excited that I would be able to enjoy the day with a friend to talk to in between playing with the children.

This summer, I have a young lady, Anna, working for me who is on summer break from university. She works with both Adam and Alex in learning skills and strategies that are most important to them in their lives at this time. I am lucky that Anna is intelligent and picked up on how to interact with each of them uniquely as well as understanding the different aspects of learning they are both desiring that is so different from one another. It made training go quickly and painlessly for me and the boys. Anna came along with us.

I always start off an activity by asking each child if they are interested in coming. I know if swimming is involved, there will be an unequivocal yes from William, Joseph and Adam. Alex dislikes water quite a bit, so it all depends for him what else may be available. He had recently tried another swimming-based activity and really enjoyed himself, so he decided to give this outing a try based on what I remember it being like. Eli was off at scout camp, Abbey wanted to go because she likes hanging out with the family, and Eric declined.

So, off we headed with cooler, picnic basket, and swim toys . . . and all eleven of us in our fifteen passenger van! It ended up not being what Alex desired after all, but being 1.5 hours from home, he had to make do, with Anna being his saving grace at exploring around the park to find activities that would pass the time away. Oh, thank goodness for Anna, for more reasons than this. There was a transitional difficulty between Adam and Alex when we arrived, and I helped Anna understand that her presence alone helped alleviate the situation in a short amount of time and thoroughly enough that both boys were able to continue the swimming activity happily. Autism can be so complex . . .

Anyway, it is so pleasant to relax in the lake as you watch your children enjoying their play and friends and activities in the water. Each does their own thing that brings happy times to their heart, and my heart is full as I observe and interact in their world. Here are some pictures that my friend took:

William on the left; Joseph on the right:

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Abbey on the left; Alex/Me on the right.

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On the left, Adam is laying down on the yellow safety line which he enjoyed joining in on after so many other children were doing it . . .

On the right is me on the left, and my friend and her daughter . . .

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On Saturday, my hubby and I, and William and Joseph drove 1.5 hours to Mt. Airy, home of The Andy Griffith Show, to go to a John Deere toy store to see if they had any John Deere bicycles . . . yes, bicycles. And, ya know, there was ONE there and it was a 16 inch, just Joseph’s size. Joseph LOVES John Deere. There was also a John Deere bicycle helmet with elbow and knee pads, and we bought him a new John Deere shirt. He was SOOOO cute 🙂 Later in the day, we picked up William a new 20 inch red bicycle as well. Here’s a picture of JoJo all suited up:

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On Monday, we gathered altogether again and headed for yet another swimming hole. This time it was to a pool at a campground where the local unschooling group garnered a group rate for a daily admission. Again, my friend Kyna and her two children, this time minus hubby, came with me, as well as Anna in tow for the boys’ benefit. This time Alex knew he wanted to go as he had a great time last time. That’s because this place has buildings with ceiling fans in them, which he LOVES, as well as an arcade room and a putt-putt, that all comes with admission to the campground for the day.

Although I was a bit tired to consider packing everyone up again, they all wanted to go and it is only offered once a month, so I pulled up my bootstraps, and again, had a blast with the children. The main pool has a rope swing that you can swing over and into the pool from a platform. The rule is that you only should swing out the one time and let go so that no injuries occur from not getting out far enough.

Adam LOVES that rope swing, and because of autism, the first time he tried the rope swing the one time we went last year, he was a bit scared and apprehensive, but interested and excited, and it took him three swings before he was brave enough to let go, thus, a “pattern” was established. Because of that, he continued to swing three times before letting go into the pool. No one “pressed charges” against his rule breaking, but I tried to encourage him to let go sooner.

Last time, a month ago, we came, he was able to go down to two swings. A bunch of great teens (homeschoolers) were there being a big brother to him and it was sweet. I always make sure to tell people when I see these types of kindnesses that I noticed and appreciate it! One family (non-homeschooling) was not happy about Adam “breaking the rules” and reported him to the employees. The employee empathized with me and said she had to ask me to go over and observe and try for the sake of this family. I was almost over to him when she hurried over and said, “They just left; don’t worry about it now.” I love when owners are flexible!

Anyway, at this visit, Adam did just one swing! Hurrah, Adam! He usually can “get there”, but it takes longer for him to bring his “patterns” down, one at a time, over a period of time. I excitedly reported his accomplishment to the employee. She was happy FOR HIM. Again, the same group of young people were sweetly accommodating to Adam’s need for a little help and patience as he took a turn. Next time I’ll remember to take my camera and take a picture of Adam on the rope swing 🙂

Another wonderful day . . . great help . . . great friends . . . great long weekend!

5 responses to “Great Help + Great Friends = Great Long Weekend

  1. Cindy, every time I read your blog I get a new insight. That one about the patterns, I can see in Aidan — how he eventually works through into something that’s a real step ahead.

    The pics are really nice — you have a handsome family.

  2. Hi Cindy, I so appreciate your insightful and honest observations! Sounds like your family had fun. And made some summertime memories.

    Blessings,

    Faith

  3. You seem to have a gift for gathering the supports you need for yourself and your family. I am not good at this. I loved reading about your adventures and your kids’ reactions to situations they encountered. You are insighful and smart; I always enjoy your web log tremendously.

  4. Lovely post… You have such wonderful insights about your kids, and so much patience… It’s great that you have Anna to help and work with your boys, she sounds like a real gift to your family!

    Maura

  5. Hi again. 🙂 If I have a private e-mail address for you, I can’t find it. but I’d like to talk about Abbey and “Anne” being pen-pals. I’d love for you to e-mail me at momof3feistykids@gmail.com.