I got excited when I purchased tickets for us to go to the circus. Who doesn’t love the circus? The animals, the acrobats, the guys on the motorcycles, and even the clowns; it’s filled with excitement, danger, and humor. But maybe too much of all of this, is not a good thing for everyone.
I feel bad that I am quick to dismiss Ian’s inability to handle loud noises and bright, sometimes blinding lights. I know that he doesn’t like the fireworks on the 4th of July (or the nightly fireworks they do at Disney). He also wasn’t a fan of the cannons going off when we visited Colonial Williamsburg and wanted to get far away. It’s a feeling that I don’t understand and since he suffers silently, it takes a lot for me to realize what is going on.
Part of me feels that if he keeps an open mind, he will enjoy whatever it is we are doing. And it’s just the opposite for him. Ian is keeping an open mind hoping he will live through it and it will end as soon as possible.
Jeff was able to recognize what was happening when we went to the circus on Sunday. Everything started off great and we were all happily munching on our popcorn. Then with about 15 minutes left to the end of the show, Jeff said he was taking Ian outside. Ian couldn't take anymore. Ian was miserable. My first thought (and 2nd and 3rd thoughts) was Ian is ok. Don’t give in to it. But Jeff stood his ground (and it’s a good thing too) and took Ian out of the Patriot Center. Meanwhile, Sam who you would expect to have all the sensory issues, couldn’t get enough of the circus. She was glued to the action and absolutely loved it. The cutest thing was listening to her comments, “I didn’t see that coming.”
I quickly realized (ok, I don't know how quickly it really is when Ian is about to turn 10 next month) that I have been glossing over Ian’s aversion to loud noises and bright/blinding lights for many years. It’s not fair to him because he doesn’t make the raucous Sam does to get noticed. I feel horrible and hope that from this day forward I can be more mindful to what is happening with Ian when he is not feeling comfortable in a situation I've put us all in.
I had a chat with Ian yesterday afternoon and apologized for all the times I told him he was going to be ok. Clearly he wanted out and I need to be ok with that. I asked Ian what I could do to help him. He said I should give him the option to stay home and let us go without him. Ugh. I hate the idea of us doing something without him. I don't know what the perfect solution is. I asked Ian if I got him earplugs/noise cancelling headphones would that be ok. He said he'd want a blindfold too. Um, no. That is not ok.
Ugh. I know there are many times that events have a special showing that is geared towards special needs -- the lights always stay nicely dimmed, the music is never that loud., etc. Maybe I need to keep an eye out and try these kind of performances.
I give Ian credit for always trying. I give me a slap on my hand for not being more attuned to my son. I hope to be a better mom for him and help him instead of telling him to get over it.
|Clearly, this picture taken before the Circus began.|