Winter break 2009 was miserable. This year, we decided to create a better itinerary to manage a preschooler bored by long days with his middle-aged parents. Last year, boredom (us and him) and sickness (also us and him) was excruciating. This year it will be different.
Our first change of course was a little trip Boston to visit the NEAQ. I figured that we would have the aquarium to ourselves since it was so close to Christmas. I took Tyoma out of school a day early so we could spend two nights at the neighboring Marriott. Normally, Long Wharf is beyond our budget but the combination of seasonality and remodeling knocked the price down to slightly affordable. This discount tipped the scale in favor of going to Boston. Why stay at the economical but remote Holiday Inn when my getting lost time would be tripled by bonus Christmas traffic?
Our drive was minimally plagued by route recalculations or GPS echolalia, but the cold wind and new experience made Tyoma bawl as the doorman unloaded our luggage. The next hours were a jumble of elevator rides, bossiness, whining and malfunctioning electronics. The portable DVD player could not be hooked up to the TV, which resulted in two service calls, both of which were met with objections and disapproval from Tyoma. (DVD player=familiar programs=less anxiety).
T was so unabashedly rude and boisterous that I felt compelled to enlighten the second repairman about Tyoma’s autism. He gave me a weary smile and said, “My daughter has it too. She’s eight now. It gets better over time.” Judging from his serious demeanor and grim survey of Tyoma, the unspoken part our interchange was, “Why did you bring your son here to come unglued?” I guess my unspoken reply was, “Change of scenery, Buddy.”
Tyoma eventually settled down after flinging a few DVDs and eating a less than adequate lunch. Soon after, we went to the aquarium and had a blast. Despite the squirming and irritating behavior, he totally “got” the aquarium. He was so excited to see the fish and penguins. Jabbering enthusiastically, he ran up and down the central spiral ramp, chirping, “Hi fishy! Look! They’re swimming!” He was so bright active and joyous; I chocked all his previous fussing up to nerves. Of course, in an hour, there was a bit of trouble–but first: