Friday, June 25, 2010

Pirate's Cove

According to his teachers, Nikko had a great day at school. I warned Mrs. McCarthy about two things: 1.) Nikko was carrying around a Toy Story box that was empty, used to hold apples, but he's enamored with it since yesterday and won't let it go [he did during school of course], and 2.) Nikko was extremely constipated, so please let me know if he passes anything today. When we came to pick him up, she said that he didn't do anything, but at one point it smelled like poo and when checking they figured out it was Nikko, probably trying to pass but didn't. Much like last night before bathtime. When we got home, I had to move quickly on a timeline: Help Nikko pass his #2, get all the kids lunch and have Nikko eat quickly because Melisa was coming at 12:30, then get the other two down for a nap, wake them up at 2p because Tianna was coming, then book out of the house to meet up with Atz & her daughters at the Pirate Cove Theme Park hopefully by 2:30p. We were ultimately tardy on all counts.

I threw chicken nuggets into the microwave and then proceeded to gather the supplies necessary to "help" Nikko. I held him straddled in my lap for about [a LONG] ten minutes while he whined and cried, sweated and pushed at me, and finally he passed another big #2. I just looked at the calendar and it was a week ago today that we did the same thing, me helping him pass a #2. During the past week he did pass a small, harder version, but didn't have straining bouts that I was able to observe. He's eaten a lot of grapes this week, but his appetite hasn't been very strong, either. Tomorrow I am going to go to Target and search for Children's Metamucil. I need something that's going to help this kid get some fiber into him, especially because he's refusing to eat anything that has real fiber in it. After this ordeal, I got him into the kitchen quickly to eat something before therapy. Alas, Melisa came only five minutes late and Nikko was still eating so she went downstairs to get the books ready while I coached Nikko to finish his food. Nikko's session started out ok, but halfway I could hear him crying and protesting about something. At the end, Melisa came up to tell me that Nikko has been getting really mad and defiant, even throwing himself on the floor, almost hitting his head on the floor and/or the table. She said it's something about sitting down - he doesn't want to do it. What is difficult to figure out right now is: is Nikko being defiant because he is physically uncomfortable due to the constipation, or because he is going through some behavioral problems? Jenna experienced this yesterday, Melisa experienced it today and voiced her concern. I will write to Maria and ask her advice, but Jenna would be better able to describe what's happening because the behaviors I see upstairs seem to differ slightly in that he's not sitting down in his chair, but it may be his constipation (in my opinion). I've seen his tantrums where he throws himself without a care of what furniture is in the way, so I don't know what the remedy would be for that yet.

I woke up the nappers, Tianna came, and I rushed everyone out of the house into the Pilot to go to Pirate's Cove. It's a children's theme park run by the Elk Grove Village Park District. There's a water park, but there's also an interactive area with a Pirate Ship, carousel, playground apparatus, train rides, rock climbing wall, jump house and a water feature where you paddle a boat w/your hands. I saw this in the brochure and hoped it wasn't a big thing, but was interested in the other activities as well. Perfect weather today. I am grateful that Tianna was there to help carry around Audrey, and that Atz and her daughters were able to take Ronin on the train rides and basically run him all over the place. I saw a train ride that Ronin was on where you propelled forward by peddling a bike wheel with your arms. I knew that Nikko couldn't go on it because he may bolt in the middle of the ride. I decided to let Ronin have fun here while Tianna, Audrey, Nikko and I went on the other train ride. I could hear Nikko get whiny because we were exploring a new place. He reluctantly sat next to me on the train ride, which circled some grassy fixtures of giraffes and elephants and wasn't long at all, but he also tried to get free of the velcro strap seat belt. Once it was finished Nikko quickly got out and was anxiously pacing as he studied his surroundings. We walked back toward the carousel but Nikko saw the sparkling blue water of the boat ride and he got extremely whiny. I told Tianna to take Audrey to the carousel ride, hopefully meeting Atz over there, while I tried to placate Nikko. He was whining loudly and pushing against me. I tried to ignore the looks of any parents sitting down observing the scene, and I noticed that Nikko's whining sounded like a small animal. "What does Nikko want?" I asked him desperately, and he said, "Water." I deflated inside because I knew he wanted to splash in the pool. I recalled our visit to the Morton Arboretum where Nikko was able to lean over the side of a fountain and splash at reckless abandon, but here at Pirate's Cove the boat ride was enclosed with landscaping and the teens running the ride didn't look like they would let Nikko lean over the side and splash freely. I saw them reprimand a kid who was trying to do that. I also knew that Nikko would never stay seated in the little yellow paddle boats. No amount of verbal pleading was changing Nikko's mind so I had to pick him up and walk him away. He was crying loudly and when I put him on his feet he was madly dashing back and forth. If I were a stranger, I'd certainly think I had a young, spoiled brat who just wanted what he wanted and was going to scream to get it. How could I possibly explain to anyone passing by that my son had autism and didn't understand that he couldn't splash in the water today? That he was going to be relentless and angry no matter who was around? I walked us back to the stroller and dug out a container of vanilla Oreos, which immediately calmed him down. Nikko had tears streaming down his cheeks but he accepted the cookie and no longer tried to run back up the path toward the boats. I sat with him while Ronin came running back toward us, excited and focused and wanting to ride the trains again and again. Thank God for Atz and her girls, and Tianna, for taking my kids back toward the fun stuff. I held Nikko's juice bottle and opened a Tupperware I had of cheese puffs which Nikko eagerly ate instead of the cookies. I sat and mulled over what had happened. The best word I could describe for what I think Nikko felt was ANXIETY. That's where the whining seemed to stem from. He didn't want to ride the train ride, although he seemed curious about it for the first ten seconds after the train moved, he saw water and desperately wanted to go play in it. His whining got louder the further away we walked from the water. I started to feel sad that Ronin and Audrey were having so much fun riding the other rides and I wasn't there to see them. This wonderful little park, perfect for NT kids, was not suitable enough for my Nikko. Having a pity party, I felt robbed that Nikko and I were sitting down while Ronin was having a ball on the train ride, and whatever Audrey was doing must have been fun for her, too, and that I couldn't take pictures or share in their joy. After the snack, Nikko wandered back into the playground area and seemed ok with walking under an igloo and sliding down a small slide. Everyone reconvened here and of course Ronin didn't want to leave. We all parted and headed home after only an hour since they closed at 4p. Ronin wants to be a conductor now. Nikko had calmed down while in the playground and was later content to be back in the car with the Toy Story box. I felt great sadness over the excursion and vowed that next time we would go to a water park.

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