Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Very Texas Thanksgiving

 A Very Texas Thanksgiving, 
"It's better than the alternative!"

Well we headed on down to Texas for Thanksgiving this year, to spend time with Rico's side of the family. It's always a tough choice to make when the two halves of your family live a thousand miles apart, but alas, even though we went to Texas earlier this year it's been a while since we've spent a holiday there. The kids really wanted to go, and it's important that they spend as much time with their far away family as they can. Nobody's getting any younger after all.

One of Fynn's favorite things to do at G.G. and Paw Paw's house, where we always stay, is run up and down the hill that is their yard. I can't tell you how many miles we ran, just going up and down this hill, dodging fire ant hills, trying to stop as close to the lake as possible without falling in. Here is Fynn in his cheetah suit blazing by. 

Fynn made a friend in Blade, the neighborhood stray cat that everyone feeds. Jumpy animals have always scared him, and this cat was a pushy one, so it was a big step for him to befriend this little feline. 

It's been a year of big changes for Fynn. One thing most folks know about people with autism is that they are reluctant to change. Fynn recognizes things he wants to change about himself and works really hard at them. Three years ago he liked dogs a little bit, then he got bit in the face by Lucky, and has spent the last three years terrified of dogs. He would scream and try to climb me like a cat climbing a tree anytime a dog got anywhere near (or not so near) him. In the photo below he is sitting next to Lucky petting him, feeling safe and secure with him. Lucky, th' dog that started it all. It took him three years to work this one out, but he did, and we are so proud of him for it.

He even made friends with Bailey and Badge next door. As he was getting over his fear of dogs he started with the big calm ones, the little dogs usually move fast and bark and jump, and that was harder for him. Well, these little guys were no exception, but Fynn made friends with them anyway. 

Rowan was a charmer as usual, and had everyone talking like Cars characters by the end of the trip. Him being Lightning McQueen, and everyone else talking like Mater mostly. He also spent a good deal of time sitting in Paw Paw's lap, just like i did when i was a child. 

Here's a collection of Maters and McQueens he made out of legos. 

 We spent a lot of time outside. Took a lot of walks. Threw things into the lake. Made "Texas" scarves out of Spanish Moss. Wandered around the neighborhoods and woods. Marveled at the apple trees that were blossoming and loosing their leaves at the same time.

 Our motto on this trip was "It's better than the alternative." Meal times were really hard for Fynn. No matter where we ate, he went crazy during meal times. So when he'd get up and run through the house, using the hallway as a racetrack, and someone mentioned him not sitting and eating with us, or his needing discipline, we laughed and said, "It's better than the alternative." The alternative being him being loud, yelling in peoples faces, kicking any chair he could reach, bouncing in his, sliding it back as far as he could (he did that too, in his walker chair, as a baby), knocking our drinks over. Running in th' hallways aint so bad after all. You can't spank a disability. So yes, we let him run.

On Thanksgiving morning we took the kids to a beach, found a truffula tree and a water moccasin skin. Played in the sand. Fynn made hills to drive imaginary cars up and down, and measured their angles. Rowan copied him. There is nothing more pleasant to an understimulated kid than sand. 

 When we got back to the house, more of the family was there. Uncle Joe and Aunt Isa had never met Rowan, and hadn't seen Fynn since he was a baby. They got along well, and everyone dealt spectacularly with Fynn's need for constant motion and his lack of social graces. And miraculously, he sat down and ate Thanksgiving dinner with us, the only meal on the whole trip that he actually sat down and ate without being disruptive. As soon as he was done he quietly got up and left. When someone remarked about his leaving the table early at least three of us laughed in unison: "It's better than the alternative!" It was a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

At last it came time for us to go. We were supposed to go to a Horse Boy camp, but th' rain and other factors drove us to head for home early instead. Fynn has been really into hills and Google Earth lately. He uses Google Earth like other kids use Minecraft. He makes models on there, maps out routes, labels hills and roads and makes speed limit signs and measure distances and all kinds of stuff we never knew you could do with that program. Anyway, before we'd left he mapped out a route for us to take which involved us going through Southern New Mexico over a particularly hilly section of I-25. He found the biggest hill on I-25, amidst miles and miles of hills, and wanted us to take this route. His route, however, was at least seven hours longer, so we told him we didn't have the time to go that way, but maybe some other time we could. Well, since we were missing the camp we had a couple of extra days to travel, so we asked him if he still wanted to take his route and drive over all those huge hills. Yes! he cried. And after a day of driving through an ice storm, we made it to New Mexico, and with Fynn in a near bliss state drove over all those hills he found on Google Earth. We'd never been in that part of the country, and it is Beautiful. Sometimes it's a good idea to let an eight year old plan your road trip. Thanks Fynn.

In the bathroom of one of the hotels the kids found a red heat lamp, and couldn't get enough of it.

Finally, after a day of driving through beautiful, sunny New Mexico, we ended up back in the Colorado snow, and home sweet home. Happy Holidays ya'll. 

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