Taking the kids places used to be really hard. Ryan would get set off and with eyes darting about, he would take off on me, or pick at Aaron, or they would take off in different directions. They were downright dangerous. I persevered year after year and continued to take them in public. I set expectations of behavior for the boys on outings. Sometimes they had success and other times they were not successful. We have avoided crowds for years now, and skipped more than one outing. At times we were stared at with judgy eyes and left our excursions early.
Yesterday I took the boys to the Ivyland – New Hope railroad for a ride on the steam train. It was a gift for Ryan’s birthday since he has been reading about trains all summer. He was beyond excited. When we arrived I opted for the upgraded tickets so we could sit on the open air car on such a beautiful day, thinking that this gave them more of a chance of falling out of the train but they hopefully, could handle it. Five minutes into the ride I noticed that only Aaron was trying to stick his head out of the train. Not Ryan. Ryan sat peacefully on his seat taking in the whole experience with a hint of a wry smile on is face. For an hour. When they switched the engine from the front to the rear of the train he watched with his full attention but never did he try and climb, which has always been an issue when in public. I was so glad I bought this experience for his birthday.
When we got home and I was making dinner, I told him how much fun I had taking him to the train. I also said that it was the most relaxed outing we had ever been on. He smiled a huge smile and said he had a great time. I said, Ryan this is such a big change. What happened? He said, I want to go on tour with Thorazine. I want to travel and the only way to do that is to be able to go places and not struggle. Instead of getting up I tried the deep breathing. It helped.
I hugged him super tight until he swatted me away as only an eleven year old could.