Widgets Magazine

Jul 30, 2011


Picture Credit- This is NOT us!
We took the kids to see MegaMind at the Movie in the Park tonight. I know, I’m not sure why. We had to gather half a dozen blankets that I just finally finished washing from our last camping trip, a couple of chairs, five packages of microwave popcorn (cooked of course), popcorn sacks, a bag full of drinks, and a 2-liter bottle of Diet Cherry Pepsi. Oh and I grabbed a jar of baby food for Baby Doll since she slept through supper. All that so we could sit on the grass, be eaten by mosquitoes, and walk a hundred yards to the bathroom to watch a movie that we HAVE AT HOME!

Teach & Dog Walker- Building a snowman
OK, done venting. It was fun anyway…on the way back to the van we saw fireworks popping and it reminded me that I wanted to tell you about fireworks before the month of July is over. You all know by now that the Dog Walker is autistic. A typical trait of autistics is that they hate loud noises and they hate flashing lights. Emergency vehicles at a parade…bright lights at a ballgame…but mostly fireworks. We found this out the hard way. When the Dog Walker was about 3 ½ we took him to the huge fireworks show that they put on downtown for the 24th of July which is our bonus holiday in Utah dedicated to the pioneers. They set these off at Liberty Park and they allow the audience to get pretty close to the action. In fact, we were allowed to camp out in the middle of one of the streets surrounding the park. It was me, my sweetie, my brother (Japan), Grandpa, Bossy, Gym Rat, Drama Queen, and Teach. We also had the Dog Walker and baby Princess. The year was 1997.

We were slow getting there and we got caught in traffic. There were tons of people all making their way toward the park. Since we were downtown, I had this uncomfortable fear of losing one of the children to some scary stranger. I carried Princess in my arms and held tightly to the Dog Walker’s hand. Each adult was assigned to a child per my instructions. We finally got to a spot that Japan found acceptable and spread our blankets out on the blacktop. It was starting to get dark, so we made every effort to make the kids comfortable while we waited the last few minutes for the fireworks to begin.

Olympic Fireworks (pic credit)
The Dog Walker was all over the blanket. He didn’t like strangers. He hardly spoke at all then and we were still years from an official diagnosis. As it got darker, he snuggled up closer to me. Then the fireworks started. With the very first boom he screamed. It only got worse from there. The popping lights and the loud noises were more than he could take. He threw the worst fit we had ever seen from him. The baby started crying and I handed her to my sweetie. I pinned the Dog Walker’s thrashing body beneath mine as I whispered soothing words into his ear. About that time one of the girls decided she had to go to the bathroom. Never had I done this before, but I responded sharply, “Then just go!” Dealing with wet underwear on the way home couldn’t be any worse than what I was dealing with at that moment. Eventually he calmed down and fell asleep, which posed a whole new set of problems in getting to our car. We never took him back to the fireworks downtown, and even when the Olympics came to town and we were down there, we left before they started.

On the 4th of July we would stop at least a mile from the park in a grocery store parking lot. The kids would spread their blankets on the ground and the Dog Walker would sit in the van with his hands over his ears and his eyes tightly closed. That went on until he was about 12 or 13. When we did them at our house he would stand inside and watch them out the window. We had to throw away all the screamers. Gradually he came to mostly love fireworks as long as he believes no one is in any danger. He is nearly 18 and he lit off his first one this summer. Thankfully, some things do change.


Rhonda said...

That is awesome that he finally lit one off. Way to go Dog Walker!

Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

You are a good mom to take your kids to so many fun things. Sometimes, even with only four, I just get lazy and stay home.

I loved how he gradually overcame his fear. Great story!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

What a trial that must've been on that 4th. I'm glad that he grew into fireworks :-) I have a dog that shares his early fears!


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