Here is another great story from Denise (dizedd) from California
Yesterday I decided to take the girls on a trip to our favorite beach-Dorin beach, on Bodega Bay. I try to take them every month, but I'm alright with myself if we make it four times a year-it is a hundred miles away. But it's the BEST beach, because hardly anyone ever goes there. And there's a bathroom. And NO CLIFFS-for a person who grew up in Southern California, the sheer number of beaches up here with dangerous high cliffs and rocky shores really astounds me. Also, the ocean up here sucks. It's cold, and the waves are puny. But Dorin beach at least has a nice flat stretch of sand, and a pretty view-it's the best that I can do for them up here.
I told the kids where we were headed as we got dressed. I also mentioned it several times in the car. Apparently they didn't believe me until we'd driven past the college town of Davis-which is about 15 miles outside the city. In the girls minds, if we drive that far west, it can mean only one possible destination-BODEGA BAY, YEAH!!!
Too bad for them, because there are lots of fun things on the way to Bodega Bay that I'd like to take them to. There's a six flags, and a discovery kingdom wild animal park, and another mini amusement park in Nut Tree, and the Jelly Belly factory has free tours......
If I stopped the car at any of these places, they'd have screaming fits, because we are 'supposed' to be going to the beach. Oh well.
Back to the main point-we drive past Davis, and the girls perk right up. Janet starts mumbling about pirates, and mermaids, and "treasure under the sea!" Scarlett starts 'singing', and bouncing up and down in her seat. I let it slide for a minute or two-it's nice to see them so happy. But the car itself is bouncing along with Scarlett, and I do need to stay in one lane when I drive.
"Ok Scarlett, that's enough. Stop bouncing in your seat, you're shaking the whole car."
[Must mention here- "the car" is a tiny little Ford Focus hatchback. Scarlett weighs 200lbs. And Janet is already 5'6", which means that she will eventually 'outgrow' the car-they have to sit in the backseat, because the gear shift and emergency brake are between the two bucket seats up front-I'm terrifed that they'd accidently kill us all by grabbing one of those while I drive! I'll have to get another SUV in a year or two]
She stops for a second, then starts again. I ask her to stop bouncing again, and she rocks back and fourth in her seat instead-which also makes the car itself jump around, so I ask her to stop rocking back and forth as well. So she bounces again. Then stops for a second. Then starts again, singing joyfully the entire time. I tell her to stop, again. And again she does sit still, for twenty seconds.
We go on like this for about twenty minutes, then hit a minor traffic jam. Sitting in a frequently still car, I can really feel how much Scarlett's bouncing is knocking the entire car around. I finally have to mute the radio, turn around, and raise my voice a bit.
"SCARLETT, KNOCK IT OFF! I'm glad that you're so damn happy, but you've got to stop bouncing up and down and rocking back and fourth in your seat. You're making the whole car shake! Just stop it now, I already asked you nicely fifty times, and I don't want to have to nag you all the way to the shore!"
She sings back to me, in her typical vocalisation that means, "Alright then, jeesh." I can't type this sound out in letters, but it's clearly recognizable. Most of Scarlett's vocalizations sound like the song of some beautiful tropical bird-but you get to recognize their specific meanings after a while.
She did manage to sit still after that, I only had to remind her twenty times or so during the remainder of the trip. Which took another hour and twenty minutes-so she was behaving pretty well!
When we finally got to the beach, we stopped at the restrooms, which are about a quarter of a mile away from where we actually park. There was only one other car in the parking lot, and that lady was roaming the beach near the bathroom with her little kids. As we were finished and getting back into the car, I saw the same mother 'disapear' behind a large boulder, not twenty yards away from the public restroom. So we pull out of the parking lot, and I look to my left, and see this same woman has dropped her pants and is now defecating behind the rock. What the heck?
I know that part has nothing to do with autism, or my kids, but seriously, it has stuck in my head. I manage to take my two special needs kids INTO the public restroom, which is clean, and well lit, etc. This ladies kids are clearly capable enough that she can let them wander around in front of the rock while she squats in clear view of the road and does her business-why didn't she just take them inside an actual STALL for a minute? And who thinks it's okay to leave human feces on a public beach? I don't care how much sand she covers it with, that beach is windy. Ugh. The parenting of people with NT children sometimes boggles my mind a bit-if I ever did that outside in front of my kids, I can guarentee you that they'd think it was acceptable to just drop trou and do their business ANYWHERE-the grocery store, the movies, our living room-you get the idea.
We park at 'our' favorite stretch, get out, and walk directly to the water. COLD! Too cold. Scarlett wants to swim, but Janet and I are having none of it. We convince her to walk along the waterline for a while instead. Stupidly, as we walk past a small patch of seaweed, I say outloud, "You know, you can eat seaweed for food in an emergency. It has a lot of nutrients in it, so it's really good for you."
Wow. We should list this as number four if someone ever decides to write a book titled 'Stupidest things Denise has ever said'. Sure enough, when our walk is over, and we decide to sit down for a bit, Scarlett picks the stretch of beach where the most seaweed is washing up. I allow her to play in the fridgid water up to her knees only, while Janet and I sit on the sand and create the largest mermaids tail made out of sand ever to encase Janet from waist to toe. The seaweed at Dorin beach is ground up somehow before it reaches the shore-you never find a piece larger than your hand, so there's no chance of Scarlett getting wrapped up in it. For the next hour and a half, I watch my oldest child laugh and splish and duck down in the water to grab delicious pieces of seaweed to eat. It's good for you! Mom said so.
She eats so much that even the gulls seem to notice. They stop their perusal of the seaweed on the sand between Scarlett and Janet and myself frequently just to stare at her.
So now Scarlett will have even more to be excited about when she next performs her Bodega Bay bounce. We are going to the ocean! We can play in the water and the sand, and watch the big birds, and sometimes the sea lions far out along the part where Mom never goes because she's too lazy to walk THAT far, and we can eat SEAWEED! Yeah!