Last week was vacation for our family. This year we chose to do the whole amusement park thing and go to Kings Island and the water park. For the last few years we've done calmer, more relaxing vacations and I thought since Tanner was 10 this year he might enjoy the rides and stuff. Hmmm maybe not...
So we go to KI the first day and it's a nice day. Hot but not too hot. Since I know all too well how boring it can be as an only child, we took along his favorite cousin. We all rode a couple things. The stunt coaster and the racers and the boys rode the scrambler a few times. By this time it's early afternoon and Tanner, who hasn't smiled more than once or twice all day, looks up at me and asks "Can we leave and go to the hotel yet?" Hmmm... Okay. When I was little we'd stay until they closed and be so bummed we had to leave. I told him we couldn't check in to the hotel until 3:00 so we might as well stay and have some fun. However, I couldn't even get him to ride the bumper cars with me so we might as well left.
I must have asked him a dozen times if he was okay--if he was having fun. Finally I realized I was making him uncomfortable (you'd think I'd be quicker than that) and I quit asking. It occurred to me that he was overwhelmed and probably over stimulated.
I've mentioned before he's a little quirky. We've never labeled him Aspergers because we don't want to limit him in any way. However, as I was watching him at the park I was sad that he wasn't happy. He wasn't enjoying himself. Too much music. Too much commotion. Too many people. It was too much. I'm a firm believer that it's good to stretch our kids and take them out of their comfort zones a little, but I hated that he was miserable on his vacation. A time that's all about quality family time. Needless to say, next year we're going back to Traverse City. He loved it there and it was a fun relaxing time for all. I think from now on I'll stretch him throughout the year. Not vacation. :-/