Thursday, August 5, 2010

Our trip to Cago

Someone mentioned to me (thanks, Mom) that in previous posts I have made it sound as if David and I did not enjoy Chicago at all. Well, that is certainly not the impression that I intended to give. It is a challenge to travel with David, but it is a challenge to take him into the neighborhood Hallmark store to buy a birthday card. And since we have returned, David has been talking about our trip. Every time we are in the car for more than 10 minutes, David will ask "Cago? Cago?"

So, to dispel the myth of a miserable vacation, I find it necessary to highlight some of David's and some of my favorite moments from the trip.

The first on the list would have to be the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel. Now, if you read the August 3rd post, you would certainly be able to determine if it goes on David's list or on my list. Let's just say that David does not share my fear of heights. In fact, the only reason I stepped into the gondola was because if I hadn't gone, I know David wouldn't have gone, or wanted Andrew or Michael to go either.

Next on the list is the Chicago Double Decker Bus Tour. We didn't use our car the whole time we were in Chicago and used the three day pass on the double decker bus to travel between most of the attractions that we saw. The tour guides were knowledgeable and extremely friendly and David was trapped—I mean contained—so I was able to relax and enjoy the tour. David really liked going under the bridges and since there are a plethora of bridges in Chicago, he was happy as well.

High on David's list would have to be doors, doors and more doors. Elevator doors, automatic doors, and most especially the heavy hotel room door that was so exciting to open and then watch slowly close with quite a satisfying click. So satisfying, in fact, that David did not seem to care which side of the door he was on when it closed—in the room, or temporarily locked out of the room. And I learned that if I piled enough furniture in front of the door at bedtime, I could actually sleep pretty soundly without worrying about David escaping and taking a midnight tour of Chicago on his own.

One of my favorite things about the trip was not actually an attraction, as much as the little triumphs that David can still make even when he is out of his element, with a different routine. David is pretty particular about where he goes to the bathroom, especially public restrooms and so am I, although I would like to think for different reasons. It was a seven plus hour drive to Chicago and David summarily rejected the first gas station restroom and to be honest, so did I. The next stop was the DeKalb Oasis and since apparently they use jet engines to power the hand dryers that was also a no-go, so to speak. Let's just say David left his mark along the Illinois Tollway. The next day, however, was a different story. With a little coaxing—okay, it was pure bribery as in, "You can press the elevator button after you go potty," David managed to find two acceptable public restrooms the first day of sightseeing. Hooray!

Okay, so as not to sound completely pathetic, I will pick a favorite thing that does not revolve around bodily functions. In general, we found that people are becoming more aware and understanding of autism. When I explained that there was no way David would wear his wrist band at the Children's Museum, they offered us an autism kit equipped with tools to make the visit easier for David. At the Field Museum when Michael explained that David was not going to be able to come in, they cheerfully refunded half of our money, so David and Michael could go back to the hotel. No one in the hotel elevator said a word when David would imitate the female elevator voice, "Going UP," which was always followed by "Beep, beep, beep, BEEP" as we passed each floor. There was one man from Europe—maybe Italy—who did remark (please read with an Italian accent), "He is really excited by this lift." No, really?

So, Michael and I both had brief moments when we got discouraged, but for the most part were really proud of how well David did. And when we got to a challenging situation Michael kept telling me, "Just think of it as therapy." And the good news is that we managed to come home before David's "therapy" meant that I had to seek therapy.

1 comment:

  1. I could read between the lines and tell that the trip was a huge success! How could you have a bad time in my fair city? Next time you come to Cago, look me up. Audrey can show David some of the finer elevators in the Chicagoland area....