Saturday, 9 April 2011

Packing for your holiday NOT made easy!

Today I waved my son off on his school trip to France, might not sound like much but this is a great achievement for a 14 year old with autism who has never been away from home in that situation before, never mind abroad. He has had chances to go before but has always turned the offer down,but this time he has taken another step on his journey into adulthood. 

I had to go into the school to get them to reassure him that he would not be made to eat anything he didn't like and that they would always make sure he had something to eat even if it was just a cheese sandwich (he only eats about 10 different meals, part of the sensory issues stemming from his autism). They also reassured him that they would be up early every day so the fact he is up early in the mornings is a good thing, they turned it into a positive.

Well last night it was time to pack his case, you may have heard me screaming from where ever you are reading this! He is very very fussy about what clothes he will wear, textures, colours, styles etc etc and even though he had been with me when we went shopping it still wasn't plain sailing.

In his words I was fussing.." why are you putting my clothes in so neat when I will just be shoving the case under my bed?".

I bought him a baseball cap." Why did you get one with stripes on front? I will have to wear it inside out!" (I could not find a plain black one anywhere, shop keepers please note!!)

When sent to his room to choose one more t shirt to go in case, all me and his sister could hear was " That one is too green, that is yellow, that one has pink on it, that one has writing, that one is too plain etc etc" you get the drift.

I got out the plain socks I had bought and when I showed him them, got " They are ok, at least you didn't get ones saying "I am gay" on them" (where did that one come from??)

I couldn't find his comb so told him to get one at the service station when they stopped there, to be told " If the hotel rooms have hairdryers I am sure they have combs" in a tone of voice implying I was stupid.

" Do you have my euros mum?" "Yes C, I have showed you them and told you I have them several times"

When asked to get his rucksack to use as hand luggage, he told me he was just using a carrier bag as they said use a bag, not a rucksack. It took quite a bit of persuasion to convince him that they did not mean a carrier.

He uses his rucksack for school and when he brought it downstairs he said it was full of crumbs so he couldn't use it. I was baffled by this but went for a look and couldn't believe what was in the bottom. At school they have a running track that leaves bits of grit and sand on their trainers, well there must have been about 2 inches of this in the bottom of his bag (he has a separate bag for his trainers so the mind boggles as to how it got there).After the holidays I am going to the school to check that they still have a running track and it isn't all in my house!

Finally he was in bed and I could start to breathe slowly again, till this morning. He had to be at the school for 6.30am and the coach was leaving at 7am. He must have said " Remember we have to be there for 6.30am" about 10 times , closely followed by " Mum, have you got my euros?" We made it to the school on time and the other children were arriving along with the teachers who were going with them. Well, the coach was late!! When I say late, I only mean 10 minutes..but coach drivers please note, if you are taking my son anywhere and you say you will be there for 6.30am..BE THERE for 6.30am and NOT 6.40am! You have no idea the headache I got for your lateness!

Cases were loaded, I gave his euros to his teacher (and made sure he saw me do it) and they all got onto the coach. Children were looking out the windows, waving to their parents and friends with excited looks on their faces..and C? Well he was sitting playing on his DS oblivious to the fact that I was standing waving...he did glance up at one point and gave a slight gesture with his hand that you could say was an attempt at a wave( well thats what I'm telling myself)

Now I am sitting here, feeling like I have lost something and doing enough worrying for the whole coach load of kids parents..but I am also very proud of him and looking forward to hearing all about when he gets home.But no doubt when I ask him about his holiday will get the one word answer "Fine".

This is their itinerary and C's comments on them.

Full days spent at Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios
Me:"Wish I was going there, you must be looking forward to going"
C: "It's Disneyland mum, no big deal"

Day spent in Paris, boat on the river Siene, trip up Eiffel Tower, shopping and tour of Paris at night.
C:" Whats so special about the Eiffel Tower, its just a tower"

Time to travel home, stopping at a chocolate factory on the way to the ferry.
Me: " What are you looking forward to most?"
C:" The chocolate factory of course" A boy after my own heart lol.

Have a wonderful time C, I am so proud of you x


  1. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Here's hoping he has a wonderful time.

    I have not yet had to wave any of my bunch off on hol without me, but know I too would worry for England.


  2. A great post that illustrates really well what it is to parent an autistic child. I love the itinerary and C's comments - it made me chuckle because they're the sort of things my son would say, particularly the chocolate factory bit. I hope C has a great time.

  3. Thank you both for your comments. I still have some nails, so doing not too bad with the worrying..he sent a text to say he got to hotel ok (was surprised he remembered to do it).

  4. Oh my gosh! I so LOVE this post! I'm very excited for you both and nervous for your nervousness. So fabulous to be so close to France that he gets to go at 14. I had to laugh at all his responses to you about the trip! I especially love how you let him be adult enough to go (I cannot even imagine that given my son's age now)! This post gives me so much to look forward to and to hope for. I'm glad he did text you to say he got to the hotel ok! (That boy was very worried about his euros!) I look forward to seeing some kind of photos - hope he will take some! :)

  5. Thanks Karen, I have sent him with some disposable cameras and hoping we get photos of disneyland and paris, and not just ones of the things in his hotel room :)