Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Trip to Tennessee

This is probably going to be just "part one"- it's late. But we went to Tennessee. We decided to drive- neither Allan nor I could imagine Joey in an airplane- and that was BEFORE he threw up while we were driving over the mountains. Nope. No planes for now.

However, car sickness is a normal problem for small kids. It was a trip that reminded us just how disabled Joey is. I hate trips like that. I far prefer the ones where I never even think about it, where its weeks later and I think "wow, he did really well that day" or when I am telling someone else what we did, all I remember is how much fun he had. Not that it was a bad trip; he enjoyed the dogs at Granny's and the slumber parties in the hotel rooms and all, but there were those little prickles of "this isn't right" and "normal kids don't do this."

The stopped at the Nashville zoo. Andy LOVED it. Its really a lovely zoo, I recommend it. Its shady and comfortable and they are doing a fabulous job. But Joey's main concern was riding in the rented stroller. He didn't want to look at the elephants or anything. I guess I could say he liked the meerkats, and the alligators, but anything that was any distance from the fence, forget it. Andy was straining over the fences to watch; Joey was wondering why the stroller wasn't moving, and how he could get it to move.

Then there was the dinner meltdown. Our second dinner at Granny's was late- significantly late, like 8 pm instead 6pm late. Any kid would have been grumpy. Andy was grumpy. But Joey just lost it completely. He was too hungry to eat. The dogs were all over him. Allan's sister was clearly annoyed with us. What my mother-in-law and father-in-law thought I have not the foggiest, I was afraid to even look, and I think they were trying to be tactfully silent. It was disaster.

While I'm at this point, I really wish I was better at describing Joey's meltdowns. When I tell these kinds of stories to my friends and relations, I often get told that most kids "meltdown" and would in a similar situation. I understand that concept, but clearly I am not communicating how Joey's meltdown is so different compared to what I see other kids do. When other kids meltdown, it is unpleasant, probably annoying to people who have never had children or are long done with them, and grates the parents' nerves. When my child melts down, the earth stops spinning and explodes. Partly this is because of my perspective- Joey is MY child, and having him freak out is very heart-wrenching for me. However, it really does seem to be far more violent than anything I have seen "normal" kids do anywhere, and its a different sort of unrelenting screaming, kicking, frustration to the core. When Andy melts down, no one is in immediate danger of losing one's mind or severe injury, he never purposely gets into my face and empties his lungs (and there is no doubt of the strength of Andy's lungs), the vibes of frustration are superficial and in the moment. When Joey melts down, his whole person seems to explode. Does that make any sense?

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