This is the post where I try to explain why I never want to take my child with Aspergers on holiday ever again.
Most of you will know me as the mother who is first to state that, ‘Just because a child is on the autism spectrum, doesn’t mean they should not be given the opportunity to enjoy life’s pleasures such as day trips and holidays’ I stand by this, really I do!
Now, I will try my best to put into words what I can only describe as one of the hardest, emotional draining and tiring, three days of my entire life.
This past weekend saw me on the edge of a breakdown as myself, good friend Donna and three children (Little Man aka A boy with Aspergers, Alice-Sara & Harley) embanked on a mini weekend Christmas break at Butlin’s Bognor Regis.
I had been extremely lucky to be invited to the tots100 Christmas party which meant an awesome deal on accommodation and presented me with the opportunity to also bring along the family. I will talk more about the Tots100 Christmas party and Butlin’s itself in another post, right now I need to get this out my system!
It’s never easy taking Little man on days out and its even harder trying to embark on any type of Holiday no matter how short or long it maybe. The change and the anxiety mixed with the unknown often brings about havoc, and if you have ever read any of my post relating to such event’s you will already know this (remember the camping trip or even the day trip to Chessington)?
Nonetheless, when stating like many do “Never again” I somehow never really mean it and with passing time I find myself trying to do it all over again! Why? Because his my son and I don’t want to leave him behind!
Despite things starting reasonably well (his delight over the funky hotel lighting which was a sensory pleasure was most welcome) things soon turned sour and within an hour or so all hell had broke loose.
OK, Ok, I half expected this! After all we have just arrived, everything is different and a mix of both anxiety and excitement fills the air.
After a soak in the bath, just before heading to bed he started to argue with his sister. I know arguments between siblings are the norm with most children, but these really are over the top, Little man becomes far to angry and loses his temper rapidly. Worse still his now able to throw an almighty punch. On trying to break up yet another blow up that had become somewhat out of hand, Little man thought he would also hit out at me, not only punching but kicking me too. His not a baby anymore and his growing which I guess kind of worries me if I think about it!
No, this isn’t good, I don’t show him that I’m frighten of him, I’m actually not, I’m just worried that one day he will go that bit too far!
I don’t like having to restrain my own son but it did have to be done before he hurt himself or somebody else, it was then he spat in my face and then laughed inappropriately.
The fact that his violence stopped and I thought we were over this hurdle makes this so much harder.
After lots of tears Little man finally slept and I convinced myself that as the days went on things would get better, however they didn’t and despite trying to structure all the activities his need to control everything and everyone around him was just too much. Yes, I know things are hard for him, but there were stages of that holiday that I felt like running away especially when he carried on hitting out at me leading me to seek first aid for what was a suspected broken finger (I had pointed at him and he had hurt my fingers so bad I had no choice but to get them strapped up). This was the last day and in all honesty I was so thankful it was. By now I had cried till my eyes were sore and seriously felt like smacking my own head repetitively against the wall.
Harley also spent the best part of his second birthday amongst meltdowns and my pleads for a little respect and if anything a five-minute break. I know many people will think, “It’s hard for him too” Believe me I know that, of course I do! I didn’t care about the disapproving stares as Little man hauled abuse at me, I did however feel terrible for the children stood in ear shoot of his language. There was even one episode that resulted in me having to leg it out of a local fish restaurant leaving my poor friend with three kids, one who wasn’t in the friendliest of moods.
I sat on a bench looking at the sea and really felt like I couldn’t return and carry on with this job called “Parenting”. I left a message on my Facebook page which read, “I don’t think I can cope with Little man’s behaviour anymore” and at that moment in time, I really did feel this way.
My friend said something to me as we sat talking in the hotel once the children were finally sleeping, she said “I can honestly say I have never seen Little man 100% happy unless his indoors” I thought about this and realised just how right my friend was.
Once we did finally return home, a lot later than expected following unexpected car trouble (the word unexpected is not one little man favourites) I noticed how his mood calmed! Yes, he fights with his sister in the comfort of our home and yes he can still be abusive, but as I sat watching him cuddling his younger sister watching the end of Eastenders (yes, cuddling, the cheek of them, I know) I realised that in-order to parent and parent Little man well, It needs to be at home (well, at home meaning not on holiday)! I’m not stating I’m NEVER TAKING HIM ON HOLIDAY AGAIN! Though I did state this more than 1000 times during the course of the weekend, I’m just stating that for now, and in-till there are clear signs of improvement in this type of challenging behaviour and yes, my ways in coping and dealing with it, I will not be booking any family holidays in the near future… and that my friends is a ‘FACT’!
- Preparing my child with Aspergers for our family festive break (aspergersinfo.wordpress.com)
- We’re planning a break away (aspergersinfo.wordpress.com)
- “Mum, your christmas presents belong in the trash!” (aspergersinfo.wordpress.com)