Friday, September 9, 2011

Japanese Festival with Fragile X (times two)

Over the Labor Day weekend the Japanese Festival was in town at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Sara and I haven’t been since she was pregnant and we had a lot of fun, even though it was extremely hot then. We also got to attend a tea ceremony, which we waited in the heat for a few hours to enjoy. It was a great experience to say the least. This year we have membership passes to the Botanical gardens, so it makes it cheaper for us to go to special events like this. The weather cooled off and we selected Sunday as the perfect day to go. I could tell Sara was wanting the amazing experience we had a few years ago and she was hoping to get some really great pictures…a perfect opportunity to play with our new digital SLR camera. Jackson fell asleep as we got closer to the gardens and I knew it was going to be very crowded by seeing all the full parking lots. I went straight to the main lot because earlier I had requested a close spot from the Universe and so I knew we would get one. Thank you Universe we got a really great parking spot.

It didn’t take very long to get our tickets surprisingly the lines were short, but getting into the garden I could see was going to be extremely difficult. There were so many people in the main entrance and we all know how considerate people are when you have a stroller you are trying to maneuver around. It is really difficult for me not to punch someone as they rudely pass by and while doing so they give you a look. When we got inside Sara had to use the restroom, so Jackson and I parked the stroller over in a corner. It was very loud in the building and the line for the restroom looked long. I found some goldfish to attempt to entertain Jackson as we waited for Sara to finish. I could tell he was having a hard time; it definitely had to be sensory overload for him. Eventually he started thrusting forward then slamming himself into his stroller. Sara had left her purse with cell phone in my possession, so I couldn’t just take Jackson out of there I just kept giving him goldfish and tried to get him to laugh or smile. Sara finally emerged from the restroom and once we got outside and that nice cool breeze hit Jackson in the face, he was just fine. There were tents of stuff all over the place with tons of people walking around.

We agreed that taking Jackson to an open area to run around for a little bit might help his overstimulation. We found some open space, took him out of the stroller, and got the camera ready just in case there might be opportunities for some shots. Jackson was completely focused on the stroller, for whatever reason all he wanted to push it around and do nothing else. Sara was focused on getting the perfect picture, so she too was getting overly anxious. After a little while we agreed to walk further, maybe if Jackson walked and pushed the stroller he would be ready for pictures, it was obvious that now was not the time.

There are all kinds of tents and demonstrations going on throughout the park. Around each tent are herds of people. I could sense Sara’s frustrations level rise as we pass them because Jackson is on a mission to push the stroller around and Sara is on a mission to see everything. We walked right past the guy that spins things, saw a poster for a pottery demonstration that was going to happen in 15 minutes, but we couldn't stop at them we had to keep trucking on. Then we stumbled upon a path that looked less traveled. There were no festival signs pointing down this path, so we thought we could go that way for a little while to get a break away from the crowds. Jackson was now following behind me as I pushed the stroller, every now and then I would turn back and say, “Boo!” to which he would stop and laugh hysterically. When he wasn’t laughing and he was following me doing his Fragile X sound, “Ennneewwwww”. It was very loud and very constant, which isn’t normal for Jackson to do. We only hear the Fragile X sound when he is really excited, so I thought it was great to hear him using his vocalizations. You could feel the other people staring as they passed us by and at this point and time I could care less to be honest.

The path was fairly big and very green and floral, it was a beautiful setting. There was also a neat little hut thing with two chairs and a little table. I could see myself sitting there in the morning drinking a cup of coffee as the sun rises. Sara suggests giving Jackson some food, perhaps one of his Go-Go-Squeezes. Maybe he can sit in the chair as I give him a few bites and then she can quickly snap the picture. We can each take turns to try to get in with him. Jackson somewhat went for it, but that didn’t last long. He sat up in the chair all cute, took a few sitive reinforcer.
Along this path is a small garden off to the side named the butterfly garden. Sara really wants to get a picture of her in this area because the flowers are so beautiful. So we push Jackson next to me, while I give him some pretzels and snap some pictures of Sara. We also got some great pictures of a monarch butterfly who happened to be near by, I mean were in her garden. Jackson again started to thrust himself in the stroller; it is time to move on again.

We decided to walk towards the Japanese garden, our favorite place. Along the way were some Coy fish wind socks. Sara wanted to get some pictures of that, so I told her to go ahead and Jackson and I will keep walking. Jackson seems completely fine in the stroller as long as we are walking. Uh-oh there’s a fork in the path way, to the right Japanese garden and to the left…who knows. So we go up the path a little ways, and then come back to the fork. Sara isn’t too far behind so we can do this for a little while. There was a great breeze blowing, it was keeping Jackson calm. Sara is walking towards us and then he starts thrusting back and forth again. We take him out of the stroller and he is following behind me as we walk. Sara stops a few times along the way to take some pictures and we make our way back towards the entrance.

Sara has to make a pit stop at the restroom. Jackson and I walk over to this fountain while she is gone. I am finally able to distract Jackson from the stroller with the water fountain. Sara walks up and we are able to a bunch of shots of him having a blast in the water. I am still noticing people walking by and staring at us. Makes me wonder if they are staring because I look like a boy, or if they think we are bad parents for letting our son splash in the water, or is it because he is making unfamiliar noises to them. I don’t even know why I am giving other peoples ignorance a second thought here, but seriously if you want I will glad you give you a picture of my family so you can stare at it all day long. If you are really that curious, lend me your ear so I can educate you on my family and how much love we have for one another, while I am at it….I can also expand your mind and teach you about a syndrome that so many people have never heard of. Opps….sorry…tangent, but believe me I look at myself in the mirror when I am thinking all these things, trying to remember if I have ever been a person that stared at others. I am sure there has been a time or two, but I do know that my mom taught me not to judge and in my religious days the Bible taught me the only one true judge is God himself. Even though I am not walking the Christian walk theses day, I still hold that teaching true to myself, so I guess I am at fault for expecting or hoping others hold that belief too. Anyway, after several pictures at the fountain we are able to get Jackson back in the stroller and head towards the crowded tent area.

I know this is important for Sara, so I tell her I will keep Jackson off to the side so she can look through all the tents. I knew she was really excited to see the tent with all the wall hangings. She isn’t gone too long and I can see some disappointment in her face. There is one wall hanging I can see from where we are at that gave me a huge chuckle, it is a picture of Buddha and below it is a scripture from the Bible. I am guessing this is the cause of the disappointment, and I am right. HA! We got a good laugh out of it as we headed towards the food area. I pulled Jackson over off to the side because the tent with tables was so overly crowded and I knew it would be bad for us to go in there. We agreed to use the tag team method on getting food. Sara went and found something, came back to us. While she was gone I was feeding Jackson a peanut butter and strawberry uncrustable. He was half way through it when he started to put his fingers down this throat. I guess too many snacks before sandwich = belly ache. I diverted his hands quickly, but in the process got chewed up PB&J all over my hands as well as Jackson’s. Sara had walked up around that time and luckily had extra napkins. We quickly get cleaned up and Sara hands me the money and tells me to go on and get my food. Then Sara is freaked out about sitting the grass, wondering if it is wet or if bugs will crawl on her. I am worried that as soon as I walk away things will become disastrous and Jackson will stick his fingers down his throat more and throw up, so I chose to walk Jackson around the area in his stroller. He was getting super fussy and by this time my patients is maxed out. Sara was still eating and I asked her she could bring it to the car so we could load up and go. She agreed that was a great idea and to the car we headed.

We took Jackson’s wet clothes off and got him in the car. Sara sat back there with him as I drove us home. Once we were in the car, he was completely fine the entire way home. Sara was finishing up her dinner when her fork snapped in half, I think some food got flung around in the back seat and all I could do was laugh hysterically. I couldn’t help it, I had to laugh. When we got home I needed some time to myself. I went to the refrigerator and had one of those moments where nothing we had was good enough and I didn’t feel like making anything either. I hopped back into the car and got something to eat. I almost had a melt down at the drive thru moron who repeated everything back to me wrong. My dad always complained about this issue and claimed it to be the curse of the Hamilton black cloud. Luckily for the drive thru guy the food in the bag was right. The quick drive was just enough for me to calm down, when I got home I shared my vittles with my little man and lovely wife.

Man, what a day!

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