Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Flew Like a Pro

I was astonished to learn that Diana flies like she's been doing it all her life. She waited patiently in the airport (my least favorite part of flying), boarded like there was nothing new, was excited on takeoff and landing, watched out the window for a while, and played Tetris on her Gameboy when she wasn't watching the clouds. All the changes, new things, strange surroundings, ears popping, odd noises... she acted like it was all nothing. She flew better than Mom did, in fact. Mom is nervous of takeoff and landing, jittery about the noises, and generally happier once back on the ground. Hers was the hand needing held, not Diana's. Having the Gameboy made a critical difference, I think. Had she been really bored on the flight, it might have gone very differently. Another thing that may have helped was that I asked to preboard on the basis of disability. I told the ladies at the gate that Diana was autistic, and asked if it was possible to preboard. Both Southwest agents handed over the passes without argument or comment, though in San Diego, the woman did make sure that it wasn't a dozen people in the party that were requesting to preboard.

I don't know how well she remembered my brother and sis-in-law. She didn't ignore them completely, as she typically does with strangers, but she wasn't precisely social, either. One day at the beach, my brother tried to teach her to boogie board, but she was perfectly content to splash in the waves. Krista managed to show her how to jump over the waves, so you don't have to fight the surf as you stand, but she wasn't able to get Diana on the board, either. She got a little sunburnt, and after that we made her wear a t-shirt over her swimsuit (which did not thrill her). One day, between the beach and the pool, she was in the water at least 4 hours - probably closer to 5. She was in unfamiliar surroundings the whole time we were out there, and but for a couple of incidents, was about the most well-behaved child you'd ever see, autistic or not. 

We had 2 not-so-great things happen - some of it the result of a very long day. The first was when we discovered that Diana had taken something from a store that I hadn't paid for. None of us saw her do it, but there it was. We told her that taking things without paying was bad, that she couldn't do that anymore, and she got upset because she was being told "no" - not her favorite word. (I was able to call the store the next day and pay for the thing, a shiny keychain with glass heart charms all over it.) Later that night - actually it was the wee hours of the morning - she'd "lost" one of the plastic goldfish she got at the aquarium, and I had to find it before she'd go back to sleep; then she lost another... It was late, we were all tired, and Krista had overdone it that day so she was in pain and trying to sleep. I lost my cool completely, I was ready to throw her off the balcony just for peace and quiet. Mom was able to settle us both down, eventually, and the three of us went for a walk on the beach to cool off and clear our heads - at 3am.

Our returning flight was delayed, so instead of getting in at 11pm, it was 11:40, and it was probably 12:30 by the time we got back home. By then, Diana was exhausted and a little whiny, but who could blame her? She (and I) were ready to come home; it had been a long week, and we were all ready for our own beds. She got up this morning about 10am, still pretty bleary-eyed, and immediately settled in to play her favorite Playstation game: We ♥ Katamari. It was a long week. We had a great time, but it's always nice to be home. And now my husband and I know that we can take flying vacations with her (once the price of flying comes back down).

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