I hope everyone's long weekend was as fulfilling as my own. I love camping, so our family decided to go camping at the wonderful West Hawk Camp Grounds. While we didn't get to see any fireworks, we made our own July 1st celebrations a smash hit with the rest of the campers surrounding us, making blooper bombs, and pouring some copper and rubber pieces in the fire to create beautiful red, green, blue and purple flames in our fire pit.
Getting ready for camping with a child on the spectrum is no small feat. I grabbed my large suitcase, and made sure to pack enough clothes to last as a couple of weeks. Dayton's a messy feller who loves water (see where I need to pack in abundance?). I packed us six towels for the three day camping trip, which came in super handy because grandma and grandpa forgot to pack their towels. And grandpa laughed when he saw my heavy suitcase! Who's laughing now gramps?
Packing for me is a complete nightmare, with or without autism. I see myself as a poster child for adult ADD. I'm to sedentary to say ADHD. I'm so not organized... I either start packing waaaaaaay to early, or pack the last minute. It's horrible and never ends well. When packing early, I play this game called add and subtract clothes. We end up with less of what we need and too much of what we don't need. When packing last minute, I swear, everything but the kitchen and bathroom sink end up in my suitcase. Snow pants, shorts, jeans, turtle necks, tee shirts, tuques and swimming shorts for Dayton... Taking care of Dayton's needs comes first. You just never know if we hit a snow storm in the middle of July... I always end up leaving the trip wondering if I packed MY medication, MY panties, My swim suit... You get the idea...
Our second day camping, grandma has the fire going and needs to use the lady's room. I'm tired and aching from my kidney stone (I ended up in the emergency room once coming home from camping, the kidney stone is round with spikes, making my kidney bleed and giving me a kidney infection) and all I want is a hot cup of coffee... I turn my back for one minute, just to pour creamer in my coffee cup, when I hear grandma screaming: "Dayton!!! What are you doing?!?!" I turn back to Dayton... He's holding a newspaper, lit on fire, walking back to the fire pit from the edge of our camp spot. What the hell...
It appears he wanted to set the grass on fire. Seriously?! Why?! "I dunno," says Dayton. This is life with autism. Constant supervision is necessary at all times. I rely on family and friends to keep an eye on Dayton and make sure he's playing it safe.
Needless to say, Dayton was grounded. Right away. How do you do this when you're camping? The only option I had was to have him sit inside our camper on my bed. When I made lunch, I had him sit on a camping chair, with his lunch on his lap, facing the camper door. Thanks to grandma. She's just so smart. She comes up with some really great ideas in disciplining Dayton. She totally 'gets' him. I don't know what kind of reprieve I would have come up with without her. For the rest of the camping trip, Dayton was not allowed to sit close to the fire. He had to sit either behind me or his father.
We still had fun camping. Our first evening out, I finally got to see the Northern Lights dance in the sky for the first time in my life. We got to see fire flies in the tall grass bordering our camp site. What a beautiful, natural light show it was for all of us. I haven't seen fire flies since I was a child, and Dayton's dad got to see them for the first time in his life. Dayton actually used figurative speech! I was thrilled. He said: "I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me mamma. Sometimes, I close my eyes and see little lights, sometimes they even have colors." Hoooooooray! Well done Dayton!!! We fed the deer, who were used to us city folk coming to visit. I actually got to put a bun in my mouth and have the deer take feed off it. It was amazing!
The most fun we had was Dayton finally using sarcasm - intentionally. Most parents are appalled when their child becomes sarcastic, but parents of a child with autism almost celebrate! I know we did!
Dayton's father, the annoying schmuck (I say this ever so lovingly), really got under Dayton's skin.
Glen: "You know what I'm going to do after this Dayton?"
Dayton: "What daddy?" (all excited).
Glen: "Put my cup down."
A minute later... Glen: "You know what I'm going to do after this Dayton?"
Dayton: "What?" (all excited).
Glen: "Put my cup down." A few seconds later, he brings the cup back to his lips. "You know what I'm going to do after this Dayton?"
Dayton: "What?" (a little annoyed).
Glen: "Nothing." A few seconds later... "You know what I'm going to do now Dayton?"
Dayton: "What?" (a little more than annoyed by now).
Dayton is visibly annoyed and starting to get angry with Glen.
Glen: "Just kidding, I'm going to pour some milk in my cup."
Dayton: (Full of sarcasm and uses a voice to match it) "Ooooh, good for you dad, can I watch?"
I laugh so hard, I'm sure my kidney will explode. My heart swelled with pride. He may look like his dad, but at least he's going to be as sarcastic as me! Well done Dayton!
Consider yourselves hugged,
PS. In case you're wondering, we're all modeling the same hat. We are just a smidgen on the redneck side. I had just bought it, and everyone loved it, so we thought we'd have a little fashion show. Hope you enjoyed our trip!