Monday, February 4, 2013

The Trip House

Hello, friends! I started to post about how I started this little trip to Columbus with such excitement for both good intellectual stimulation and some good quiet time, and ended up coming down with Amelia's nastiness from last week, which put a bit of a damper on the whole thing--but I decided that's way too "woe-is-me" and dull. So...I decided instead to talk about Anderson's first experience at a hotel--AKA "Trip House".

A little background--last week, Amelia came down with a bad respiratory virus that led to pneumonia. She was a hot mess. If you're a FB friend, you know that Marty got very, very sick this year and in fact almost died (harsh, but incredibly true) of complications from pneumonia. His lungs are still recovering, so obviously we want to keep him from getting sick. Actually that's a major, major understatement; I actually wish I could put him in a bubble for the rest of cold and flu season. No joke. I'd put him in a real bubble. Or on total house arrest. He's having none of that. But I digress...with Amelia having such a bad illness, I used Priceline to get a great deal on a hotel room for two nights. They packed up in a hurry and were off (sidebar: does anyone else's husband seriously overpack when taking kids anywhere on his own? When I saw everything Marty had packed, I was in awe. I mean, enough food to survive for weeks, half the was a tad ridic).

Now, here's where it got interesting. Anderson is visually uncomfortable in new situations--part of his autism. He doesn't tantrum, and I am grateful for this. Instead, his coping mechanism is to TALK. I mean serious, serious talking. Some is echolalic, some is narrative (where he just narrates everything he sees and thinks), but often it is...well...pretty humorous. I mean, if he's really agitated/upset, we don't sit around and laugh, but when he's just taking it in and processing, it can be amusing. I told Marty to text me to let me know how things were going. This is the first message I got:

I cracked up. The Campbell House does kind of look like a big house--it's older and big. And of has an elevator. He was apprehensive at first (hence the not wanting to go in the house). He found the elevator but of course wanted to use the steps instead, as he doesn't actually RIDE elevators, he just watches them and emulates them--pushes all the buttons, things that annoy the general public. I can only imagine what he thought when he saw the room with the bed...he was not impressed with the thought of staying there. 

Here was the next message:

This was where I started to get a little nervous--what if he didn't settle in?  We haven't had a situation yet where he hasn't been able to acclimate, but I know there's a first for everything.  Apparently he just needed to see the entire environment. After Marty got him into the room, he started to settle down, although the talking a mile a minute didn't stop.  At first, he had no interest in taking a bath in the tub, but of course after Marty got him all wiped down and ready for bed, he wanted to take a bath--because it's part of our nightly routine. So...he took a bath. That's when he started to enjoy the experience. I refrained from texting much, mostly because a) I wanted Marty to be able to give Anderson all his attention, and b) I had a sweaty, snotty, grouchy girl flopping around in my bed. This was his next message:

I had to totally stifle my laughter so as not to disturb Typhoid Mary next to me, but OMG, so funny!  I was also relieved because I knew he was all good. This was when they had finally exhausted the wholes"explore every aspect of the room" thing and were in bed.  The saying "Hi, Dad" from the other side of the bed is cute enough, but the awesome Dave Seville and the Chipmunks reference--priceless. If you're wondering, there's a scene in one of the movies where Dave is looking in a mirror and shaving. Anderson thought the headboard was a mirror...and that's how his mind works. they watched the UK basketball game, and finally the boy quit talking and fell asleep around 11:30--3 1/2 hours after his bedtime. 

The next morning, they woke up, ate, and left. Marty warned the teachers that they might hear random murmurings about the "trip house" and "night mirror", and went to work. When he picked Anderson up from preschool, the first thing he said when he got in the car was, "Hey Dad, I want to go to the trip house. I want to push the buttons, and go up the steps, and take a bath, and get in the big bed, and watch basketball,  and see the night mirror, and go to sleep." He remembered EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL. In the exact order. Can't argue that he doesn't like routine. :-)

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