This past Monday, we went to Hot Springs, AR for a short vacation. We had been showing Jake pictures of where we were going, talking to him about it, I drew pictures for him to help him understand what it was we were going to be doing on vacation. But the morning we were getting ready to leave, Jake looked confused, scared and seemed unsure about this whole vacation thing. When we told him we were going on vacation he would cry and whine saying “no vacation”. Finally he looked at us and said “Jake not go on vacation, Jake go on field trip.” Who knew…sometimes I want to read his mind so I would know the right thing to say! Although he has been on a vacation before he probably doesn’t remember since he was only 2 1/2. But he has been on a field trip recently so he could relate to that. So from then on we called it our field trip. Jake was great on the 4 hour car ride. He has always loved riding in the car and staring out the window. He is quiet, looks out the window and you might forget he was in the car except for the sounds coming from his IPad. After we checked into the hotel we told Jake we were going to see some trains. This is when I want to know what he is thinking because even though the boy LOVES trains, especially Thomas the Train, he still became upset and said that he wanted to go home. We went to this little building to see some miniature trains and Jake cried, he didn’t want to go in, he didn’t want to see the trains he wanted to go home. He looked scared and confused and even though I knew we needed to show him what we were talking about part of me wanted to take him home. He needs the exposure to different situations, it is good for him but for those minutes when you can see the fear on his face and in his eyes it breaks my heart and all I want to do is make that look of panic go away. Once we were inside Tiny Town Jake relaxed and started to enjoy himself. Of course, like with most kids, when it was time to leave Jake didn’t want any part of leaving he wanted to stay and see the trains. For the remainder of the trip Tiny Town was all Jake talked about!!
The next day we went to Magic Springs which is an amusement and water park. Jake again said he wanted to go home and again he looked scared! He rode 2 rides the first was the log ride. He seemed to like it okay, he looked a little scared but because he could see his sister and her friend he thought it was fun. The next ride was another type of log ride but this one made a loud noise and because recently Jake has become more sensitive to really loud noises he didn’t like this ride and was done. Anytime we showed him other rides he could ride he would watch them, they would make a loud noise and Jake would cry and say he wanted to go home. He was most content to be in his stroller and watch Allie and her friend get on and off different rides. Later we went to the water park. We took him to the little kid area’s and like before he was scared. But once we got Jake in the water he was having the time of his life. He loves being in the water, he loved having all of us watching him go down the slides, and swim with him. It was so much fun and what made it fun was seeing that look of anxiousness and fear fade away to pure happiness!
I am glad we were able to get away for a few days and happy that we were able to help Jake through some scary moments. Since we started this journey I have seen a lot of sides of Jake. He has had a lot of fears and tears but with each new task or activity that fear passes. As hard as it is on me seeing him so afraid and anxious, in the end it is worth it.
We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.
Overall he was happy and loved being on his field trip!! By the end of the trip Jake decided we could call it his field trip vacation!!