I was standing outside the Boston Aquarium Saturday morning and saw a friend’s Facebook status.
“If it’s not working, do something different.”
So simple. So true. And so easy to forget. Azzia from Bipolar-A Neurodiversity Approach is ever practical.
As it happened, I was standing outside the Aquarium with a 58 pound seven year old on my back. She was playing with her ipad and I was fiddling with my phone.
We were making it work!
We are still learning how to make it work for our family.
I used to feel really stressed about vacation. Because Evie didn’t enjoy much of what I thought she should enjoy. And I would stress out because I couldn’t make it enjoyable for her.
Eventually, I realized that I was trying to make what I think is enjoyable work. I wasn’t compromising.
My ideas about what vacation should be were far too rigid. I needed to learn to go with the flow. Vacations shouldn’t be stressful. I get stressed when things don’t go as planned. So, some things I overplan an some things I don’t plan at all.
Here are some things we do to make vacation work for our family:
- When possible, we do long weekends rather than going someplace for a week or more.
- Both of my kids love to swim. It has a really calming affect on them. So we try to always book stays at hotels with pools.
- I’m an over packer. I try to have things for every eventuality. I used to really stress out that I was going to forget something crucial. Someone finally reminded me that I can get most things we need in most places we go. So I pack medicine and our back carriers for Evie, and bathings suits first and try not to worry about forgetting anything else.
- I pack tons of snacks. Dry snacks mostly. Ones that don’t stain or stick. My girls like veggie straws, wheat thins, cheddar bunnies, cheese sticks, celery and carrot sticks, etc.
- Normally, I don’t let them eat in the car. But on trips I do. Pretty much as much as they want. And I don’t worry about the mess….dry snacks can be vacuumed up after the trip. Actually, I just had a thought about letting our dog free in the minivan….hmmmm no vacuuming?
- Messes in my own home don’t bother me but I get stressed out by messes in other people’s spaces. Even in hotel rooms. Evie likes to crumble food up into little bits and trail it behind her a la Hansel and Gretel. We bring a dust buster now and I don’t worry about messes in the hotel room.
- Both of my kids love the novelty of staying in a hotel. Hanging out in the room is fun for them. Even more so for Evie. She likes to get on and off the beds. Open and close the door while that fold over bolty thing is on. Look out the windows. Swim in the pool. Etc. I killed my tendency to feel that every moment of vacation has to be go, go, go. The tendency that we need to squeeze every last thing in. We don’t.
- I accept that different family members have different needs and interests. I finally understand that it is okay for the family unit to split up on vacation. We don’t have to always be together. Like today at the Aquarium. Evie liked it for a while and then she was done. Maxine was still very much engaged and wasn’t ready to leave. Rather than making Evie stay and be miserable or Maxine leave before she was ready, I went outside with Evie and Maxine stayed inside with Scott. Easy-peasy. Nothing to stress out about.
- Because we really never know who is going to like what or how long either of the kids are going to want to stay, nothing is carved in stone. Like today. When we went outside, Evie hung out on my back in the carrier for a bit to decompress. Then we walked around touching stuff. Evie loves touching stuff. Touching new things in new places is all the shit to her.
- ] /m,kip89
- Evie wrote those suggestions–so I am keeping them. Someday when we have a more robust common language, I will ask her to translate them.