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4 February, 2014

It really hit home to me a few days ago that… We just can’t do some things together as a family, that others can do as a family. We had already gotten to the point where I couldn’t take all five children on an big excursion by myself due to Josiah’s behaviours, sensory challenges, cognitive development and growing size.

Now we have gotten to the point where some excursions are just not possible to take Josiah on at all, even with a second adult. Even with Mark coming.

We can still go to parks, do bush walks, and go to super cold focused fun activities. But museums, historic houses and the like… We just can’t do any more.

On a recent outing to a museum, even playing nicely in the member’s lounge (who were very accommodating) became too much for him. He repeatedly ran away, out of the members lounge, and threw tantrums on the floor. I don’t even know what the problem was.

Later in the day we had to resort to him watching the few kids’ videos I have on my phone, just to get him to sit still and calm down a little. Then even the water play became too much when every time a ferry went to the wharf on the other side of the water to us (instead of the wharf on our side) distressed tears followed. It was all too much.

In the future, the only activities we can do as a whole family will be limited to parks, bushwalks, and other child friendly, child focused experiences. We won’t be able to go on adventures to museums, fairs, festivals and shows as a family anymore. Not necessarily forever, but for the foreseeable future.

We’ve always enjoyed doing a variety of things as a family. We like to play board games, but most board games are too complex for Josiah and he gets impatient waiting for his turn or distracted and ends up missing turns. We like to watch the cricket but it’s not something Josiah will sit and watch for long. We like to read books together but Josiah doesn’t follow a storyline, even in a picture book. We like to go to museums, festivals, art galleries etc and Josiah just finds those situations overwhelming for a variety of reasons.

In the past, we made things work. We brought the twin pram, or a pram and a baby carrier, so he could sleep/rest in the pram. We are members at a pile of places, partly in order to access the member’s lounge for a family quiet time when we all could relax and unwind a little. We allowed Josiah to play on devices or watch videos at times. But these efforts are no longer enough.

An outing is not enjoyable when you’re constantly on the lookout for a child who could dash off at any second. Or when you have to repeatedly say, “yes, it echoes in here. Squealing is for outside”. Or when you have to deal with meltdowns that you have no clue what the cause was. When “take a photo?” then “can see?” are repeated twenty times an hour. When you have a grumpy child who is hungry but won’t eat because you didn’t pack peanut butter sandwiches. Not. Relaxing. At. All.

And so we change. We adapt. We arrange babysitting for midweek excursions. Take turns at taking the other kids out on the weekend. Plan shorter days with more free play breaks (especially outdoors). Watch the cricket on TV instead of going to the game.

We love Josiah to death and most of the time I wouldn’t change him for the world. But… Just sometimes… I wish we could be that normal family who can go to the library without having to chase a child who runs away four times, have a tipped over pram, a child that is squealing because he likes the sound/echo and a mountain of books to get back to the car because you don’t get to take the kids as often as you’d like because it ends up being so stressful. We used to love trips to the library.

Not anymore.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Angie Tester permalink
    4 February, 2014 6:54 pm

    Hugs for you Liz and family. I have my 4th child who is a bit different to my older three but not to the extent you describe with Josiah. Sorry not much help but I can offer prayer.
    From what I’ve seen though, you’ve done a lot with the kids in aus history excursions. So good effort ! Please don’t neglect to look after yourself in looking after your family. xx

  2. 31 March, 2014 10:03 pm

    Wow, this piece of writing is pleasant, my sister is analyzing these kinds of things,
    therefore I am going to inform her.

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