Reach for the sky!

This past Sunday we did something I did not think we would ever be able to do.

We reached for the sky….

When our oldest three children were younger, we thoroughly enjoyed attending events and special productions. Fireworks, movies, concerts, even amusement parks. It was fun for all of us and made for some amazing family memories.

But then Faith was born and things got a lot more complicated. Suddenly we had to factor in so much more into “simple” family fun.

Would the time interfere with medication schedules?

Did it involve any waiting?

Loud noises?

Bright lights?

How fast could we get out if needed?

One of the places you DON’T want to be with a child in sensory overload, screaming, thrashing, and vomiting is on a tiny passenger ferry in the middle of Charleston Harbor. Trust me on this one.

Faith is 8 now and we have made some great leaps this year. Her ability to reason has increased greatly. Imaging trying to reason with a 2 year old and a 3 year old. You can fa-get-ta-bout-it with the 2 year old, but you might, just might have a slim chance with the 3 year old. This year Faith has been more like a three year old.

When we were given the chance to see Disney on Ice – Toy Story 3, my knee jerk reaction was “No”. We don’t DO things like that.

But then a tiny, probably heavily medicated, part of me thought….”Why not try….?”

We chose not to tell Faith about our upcoming adventure. We know that time is very hard for her to understand and if she is anticipating an event, it becomes an obsession. She will hyper focus on the event and to be honest….make it pretty miserable for all around her.

The morning of the event (We chose the 11:30 showing since it would not interfere with any medications) we told her that we needed to get dressed and she needed to choose a few toys to take in our special travel bag because we were heading to the city. We reassured her that we were not going to the doctor and that it was just a fun trip. She willingly got in the car – that can be a challenge at times – first hurdle cleared!

She was anxious during the ride to Kent because going in the car on a Sunday morning is not part of our normal routine.

The drive to Showare Center is about 1 1/2 hours. Right at the very end we began to lose her. She was starting to stim and repeat “comfort” phrases. That usually means we are at critical mass and about to explode. Right as she began make the squeaky noises that we know precede a full blown meltdown she spotted this:

“It’s Jessie! It’s Woody! It’s Buzz! Mommy look! Look! Look!”

As we pulled into Showare, we hung Faith’s handicap tag up and were immediately directed to the handicap parking. Easy and fast. As we stopped, a parking attendant approached the car to make sure we were ok and could handle unloading. What great service! At this point we chose to not bring in Faith’s wheelchair. The distance to the door was manageable and we felt that Faith was rested enough to manage that walk. We walked to “Will Call”. It was a very short, easy to manage walk and we encountered no line.

However, by the time we reached Will Call, Faith was struggling. At that point I asked at the window if we could change our seats to ones with no steps to help Faith as much as possible. I offered to show the ticket person our disabled card but she didn’t need to see it. After a small switcheroo, we had our ADA seats and we entered.

The lights and noise and general commotion caused some hesitancy at first. Faith was moving slowly and seemed very anxious.  In order to refocus and direct her I used the old parenting standby…..the bribe.

Look! A Jessie dolly! Just what you were going to ask Santa for! Would you like one? 

She handled the commotion around the vendor very well and even, with some prompting, asked for the Jessie all by herself.

Jessie in hand we resumed our walk to our ADA seats. The directions and signs were very clear and we found the right section with no issues. As soon as we showed our tickets, the usher walked us right to our area and made sure we had what we needed to be comfortable.

At this point she was calm but it became apparent that we were on thin ice. Lots of yelling, excited children, vendors walking around with spinning lights and food, loud music. Faith began to hyper focus on the hats for sale. It seemed that every kid there was either wearing a Woody or a Jessie hat.

“Where’s my hat? Mom? Where’s my hat? Dad? Where’s my hat…….”

Don’t judge me.

When the lights went down, she reached for my hand. Scared but excited. The bright lights were not too much of a distraction and while they did move around a lot, did not seem to bother her as much as I thought they might. The music and voices were at a loud, yet tolerable level. She only had to cover her ears a couple times. And her wonder….her wonder was infectious.

“Look! It’s my toys! They came to alive!”

My only real complaint about this entire day is this….this picture below is what the view is for a handicap child who is unable to stand up for any length of time. This is what Faith’s view was:

The ADA seating was right at the ice, however there were several additional rows of seats actually on the ice. And the children in those seats, like the rest of the arena, were encouraged to stand and dance part way through the show. Once they rose from their seats, the ADA seating was blocked. Faith was able to see tiny snitches and glimpses of the show, but since she was unable to stand, she mostly listened.

The voices were dead on for the movie and the story line was right on with parts of all three movies. The special effects were fun and not scary. The “fog” was not overpowering and did not have a funny smell. The cast tried very hard to engage the crowd and made a point to wave and smile at the kids (who could see….).

As we exited she saw a flyer for Phineas and Ferb On Ice. A little voice beside me asked….”Can we see Perry?”

Maybe kiddo…..

{disclosure: Mommy Rambles was given tickets to Disney on Ice – Toy Story 3. However I was not asked to write a review and all thoughts and opinions are my own}

My John Hancock

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