Vacationing with our Special Needs Son

Vacationing with Yaakov isn’t the most relaxing experience we have. Usually after two days of being away from our house he is asking to go home. Sometimes it isn’t asking, but crying and begging to go home.

This week, seemed to push him more than normal.  First we picked up his older brother, Austin, who was in Santa Cruz for church camp. Then headed off to Las Vegas, believing both boys would enjoy seeing different parts of the world walking down the strip.

I am a planner when it comes to vacations; I was even before Yaakov’s diagnoses of Aspergers. 

Each day I have planned out on what the family and I will do.

We decided to stay the night at Whiskey Pete’s right on the border of Nevada and California Saturday night this allowing the boys to enjoy the roller coaster ride and log ride at Buffalo Bills on Sunday.  We stopped at the Silverton for lunch and then hung out at the Bass Pro Shop just to make our oldest son the happiest kid in the world. Then we checked into the Palace Station for the rest of the week.

Monday, came and though our plans were just to walk the strip we agreed to listen to a two hour time share thing so we could get free tickets to the Shark Reef and $100 gift card.  The boys got to play games at the resort and Jacob and I patiently listened to their spiel and turned down their continuous offers of a “great deal”.

Afterwards, we headed to the Luxor were we knew our oldest son would love that casino since he loves the Greek and Egyptian mythology. Then we headed to the shark reef and by this point Yaakov was done. We made sure he had food in him and kept pulling him along, because it bothers me that so often we leave when Austin is enjoying something or we spilt up and one of us stays with Austin while the other goes with Yaakov to keep a meltdown from happening.

We stopped at a couple casinos like New York New York and Paris because we knew Yaakov would love Paris and both boys would love to see the roller coaster at New York New York.  Then we headed for Shuttle to get back to our hotel.  It was 9:30 when Yaakov’s meltdown started and pretty soon he was kicking and hitting Jacob and I and next thing I know he is throwing himself around hard enough that Jacob and him went flying off the bed.

I don’t know how but Jacob moved enough to take the night stand in the arm instead of Yaakkov getting it in the head. The horror I felt as I watched it coming towards Yaakov’s head. Pretty soon he was slamming his head against the wall crying. 

Of course, months ago I could laugh at his meltdowns but Monday evening all I felt was resentment and fear.

I knew what little plans we had, now had to include keeping Yaakov’s behavior in check. It really didn’t matter if the rest of us wanted to spend the next day running around Vegas or not we had to think about Yaakov and the meltdowns that could disturb our hotel neighbors and the fact that he could hurt himself in a fit of rage.

The fear comes in when you aren’t close to your doctor’s and what would happen if he hurts himself in a meltdown and you don’t have the doctor’s you have been dealing with for years.

How do you explain to a doctor who has never seen your child’s outbursts?

Tuesday morning, I ran into our hotel neighbor and the lady said not to worry about it that her and her husband work in a school district and Yaakov’s behaviors aren’t going to upset them even if they hear his outburst.

We spent the day at the pool then visited New York New York to ride the roller coaster and did the CSI Experience in the evening allowing Yaakov to rest and not pushing him another day.

Wednesday, we took the boys to Circus Circus Adventure Dome around 1 pm and left  at 11:15 pm and as we pulled into our Hotel parking garage Yaakov started throwing up.  Too much spinning, hungry (had a late lunch, and ate snacks but planned on eating the $1.99 burger at midnight) or dehydrated your guess is as good as mine.  He wanted me to make him a sandwich in the room and go to bed, so him and I stayed up in the room while Austin and Jacob enjoyed the cheap burger.

Thursday, enjoyed several hours by the pool and then went to the Pirate show at Treasure Island and headed back to our room.

Friday we headed home and though the drive was long it wasn’t bad.

Saturday, as the family started to get back into our daily routine Yaakov didn’t even change out of his PJs. I know I should care, but honestly it seems vacations are very hard for him and he has to “reset” himself.

I was so angry with myself for resenting him on Monday, because the truth of the matter is I know I pushed him and I know better. At times, even as his mother I forget he has a lot of good days and he looks so typical I allow myself to push him too far.

I don’t feel sorry for us, but at times I forget to be grateful for the life I have.

Welcome to being a parent. Not just any parent but a parent of a child with special needs.