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Monday, June 24, 2013

Fun times at Space Center and Spring Park…The screams to get there, not so much…

So after Brad had been out of town for most of last week, he had a little bit of comp time due at work.  He texted me Friday morning and said “I’m coming home at lunch.  Would you like to get the kids ready and we could head to Huntsville and go to the Space Center when I get home?”  I text back “Um, let me think….YES!” and began making preparations.  We’ve wanted to go to the Space Center for a long time.  Korban loves rockets and stuff and my kids always look at them every time we pass through Huntsville.  Once again, we get in free with our lovely membership to the Pink Palace, so we were good to go.

I had everything pretty much ready to go by the time Brad got home, and we headed out.  We try not to talk too much about fun events ahead of time, to prevent the kids asking “are we there yet?” type of anxious statements about a million times.  Sometimes Korban takes it one step further, as we learned on a trip to the zoo once, and cries on the way for whatever it is we are going to do.  He doesn’t understand the transportation time required for such trips.  Huntsville is about two hours from our house.  He started out almost as soon as we got in the van asking if he could get a balloon.  That’s usually his treat for being good.  I told him we weren’t going to buy stuff and that we were just going to have fun.  That did not settle it in his mind.  He started that awful screaming he does and kept it up the ENTIRE way to Huntsville.  By the time we actually got to the city of Huntsville, we were all nervous wrecks.  Brad was trying to navigate the traffic with Korban screaming and taking on, poor Selah was hunkered down in her car seat with her hands over her ears, whimpering, and I was trying (unsuccessfully) to keep myself and everybody else calm.
Korban then took things one step further and started throwing everything he could get his hands on and trying to get out of his car seat.  Not at all a good thing to have going on while you are driving down the road.  He had slid way down in his carseat and I was worried he was actually going to get out, so I turned around in my seat to tell him to scoot up and he kicked me right in the mouth.  Hard.  In a superhuman burst of strength and speed I managed to climb to the back of my van, hurriedly unbuckle Korban, move his booster to the back of the van, strap him in again, and sit down next to him and buckle myself in.  I know moving your child and their car seat while the vehicle is moving is not safe, but there was no place to pull over at the time, and let’s face it:  an out of control child in reach of your three-year-old as well as the driver is hardly optimal safety conditions to start with. 
I was able to get him a little calmer in the back of the van, and we arrived at the Space Center shortly after that.  After having such a tumultuous time getting there, you would think things wouldn’t go well once we got there, but it was actually good.  Which was a nice reward after what we had all just been through!  There isn’t a ton of hands on stuff at the Space Center, but there’s plenty of fun stuff to look at, and the kids really enjoyed it. 
We didn’t really have any problems at all with Korban while we were there.  Selah, however, was super excited and kept running away from us.  Let me just say that I was way too scared to ever get out of my parents’ sight as a child, and while I don’t want her to be overly fearful, I do want her to understand she can’t just jet off like that whenever she feels like it.  So after getting on to her several times with her still not listening I did one of those parenting things I swore I’d never do.  I lied!  My mom employed this parenting strategy from time to time and, being the totally gullible kid that I was, I totally fell for it.  Every Time.

We joke about it now and I still tease her.  Some examples of Crazy Stuff My Mom Told Me That I Totally Believed:  That there was once a little girl who wouldn’t sit still while her mother clipped her fingernails, and her mom accidentally cut her finger off and they had to glue it back on with bubblegum.  (She gets creativity points for that one, plus it made me sit stock still while she clipped my fingernails.)  She also told me that if I wasn’t good during church, wasps would come down from a hole in the ceiling and sting me.  (Again, effective, but telling whoppers in the Lord’s House?  Shame on you, Mama!)  And I also heard the more run of the mill stuff, like if you cross your eyes they will get stuck that way, and so on and so forth.  But I digress.
So there we are at the Space Center, and my daughter will NOT stop running away from us.  The only time she stuck close to me was when we had to walk past this rocket simulator machine that people could get in.  It made noises and moved, and for some reason just looking at it totally freaked her out.  So this is where my Mommy Lie comes into play.  After chasing Selah down for about the hundredth time that day with her still showing NO remorse, I asked her “Do you know what they do with little kids who run away from their parents here?”  She looked at me wide-eyed and shook her head no.  I walked around the corner with her and pointed to the feared rocket simulator and several happy-go-lucky teens climbing on board and said “They put them on that rocket!”  Selah looked appropriately horrified and said “Oh no!  They’re about to send all those kids to space!”  So now I’ve scarred her for life.  Plus, she thinks astronauts are just disobedient children.  But she stopped running away from us. 
Brad mentioned to me later that we got several stares while we were there, and I was shocked.  I honestly am pretty sensitive to things like that, but I TRY to not notice if that makes sense.  Because it bothers me so much I guess.  And also I was shocked because Korban had been good!  I think most of the staring comes when he is acting out, especially screaming and being aggressive towards us.  Truly, those behaviors take over the worry center of my brain so much that I occasionally forget he behaves in a way that seems “weird” to some people.  It doesn’t bother me.  I can handle weirdness all day long.  Some of it I like a lot!  It’s just the negative behavior that upsets me.  But I do think about other people’s reaction to us before we go out in public, and I had dressed him accordingly in a t-shirt that shows a kid weight-lifting and says “Autism is Not For Wimps!”  (Brad and I have shirts identical to it as well, but we didn’t wear ours that day.)  I think they are funny and cute, and to my mind that’s a quick way to “explain” to people without having to say a word, if they are quick enough to pick up on it. 
Anyway, the person that Brad mentioned staring at us was a lady sitting on a bench and we walked past her several times while she was sitting there.  I did kind of notice her glancing at us, but I didn’t think much of it.  Brad said he remembered because she watched us closely for a while, and then he saw her look at Korban’s shirt, and every time after that when he caught her eye she gave him a big smile.  So staring is not always a bad thing! 
We especially enjoyed the science “magic” show that they did, and playing on both the outdoor and indoor play areas.  It was good, and I hope we get to go back again someday.  Korban did pretty well with leaving.  We told him that they were about to close (they really were—no more Mommy Lies for me!) and he accepted that.  But once we got back in the van he started asking if we were going to a hotel, which he loves to stay in, and when he found out we weren’t, he started screaming again.  We stopped at a store and he got his balloon.  And then he immediately started screaming that he wanted a “blow up castle.”  I don’t even know what that is, but he was throwing a fit for one.  A bouncy house maybe?  It took quite a while to get him to calm down, but we managed to do it.  He did scream off and on for the trip home but I stayed in the back with him and it seemed to help some.  Most of the time there seems to be no obvious rhymes or reasons to his vicious  screaming attacks.  
We also stopped at Spring Park in Tuscumbia, AL on the way home, just to let the kids run around and burn some energy for a few minutes.  Again, they did really good there and leaving really wasn’t too much of a problem for anyone but me.  They wanted me to ride the tire swing with them, and I was so dizzy I could barely walk!  But I made it. 
I’m really glad the actual fun part of the trip went well, but the travelling part was miserable!  We really want to be able to get out and do things as a family, and I really think my kids learn so well by being able to see and experience things.  Pray for perseverance for us!  It seems like things are getting harder rather than easier, and that’s a tough pill to swallow.  I basically have a very volatile, aggressive, 70 lb two-year-old and that’s not easy.  But we press on!  We always have and I pray we always will.
Now some pics and videos if you would like to see.

Sweet Pic!
Scream Van...not so sweet.
You might want to turn down the volume lol...
also you can see him pinching himself some, he's quick with it so it's hard to catch.

This was an astronaut mannequin floating above the stage where they did the magic show.  Just to show you how Korban's mind works, he asked me if that was Uncle Keith (who passed away recently).  I told him no, and he asked if that was heaven.  :)

Selah the assistant...she has great skills of jumping around and all, that is.
She was afraid when she first got up there but she got over that.
Selah at the magic show with the cup trick.

The guy was shooting the cups off their heads with air.  First a small one and then a large one with smoke.  pretty cool!
Some cup shooting skills.

Amazed at the Big Rocket.


We got this!  Let's drive this thing!

See that glass door there behind Selah? 
Well, she didn't and walked smack dab into it.
We laughed...she did not.
Then she was mad because she wanted to go in the room but couldn't

The tire swing that Selah loved and me...well, not so much.

He's not a Wimp!  That's for sure.

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