Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy Campers?

It was a glorious weekend here in New England, with blue skies, cool breezes and warm temperatures. A perfect time to take the boys on their first camping trip of the summer.

Or so my husband thought.

On Saturday morning, "the men" packed up the vehicle and headed north to New Hampshire and camping country. With tent, sleeping bags, hot dogs and plenty of marshmallows in tow, the happy trio said goodbye to Mom and headed for the pines.

Nicholas loves to camp. His favorite activity is, of course, building a fire. Weston, the adventurer, enjoys exploring the wooded environment. The great outdoors seems to naturally calm both of the children.

When they arrived at the campground, it was deserted. So, they chose a large grassy spot next to the frog pond.

Dad put up the tent with a little help from Nicholas.

I have no idea where his other shoe is, or why he took it off?
To the left are a few of his favorite backpacks he brought, just in case.

Weston grabbed his net to see if he could catch a few turtles, frogs or fish.

It wasn't long before it was time to eat. As I mentioned before, my husband has only a few foods that he knows how to prepare. Most of them come in a bag, box or can. Spaghetti O's happens to be one of his favorites. A nutritionist, he is not! I had to sneak a few apples and oranges into the food box when he wasn't looking.

Nicholas was very happy when it was finally time to make the fire.

No camping trip would be complete without these......

It wasn't long before darkness settled over the campground and our happy threesome climbed into the tent to sleep.

Now, I do not know what happened over night, perhaps it was some kind of fearsome forest fairy that put an angry spell on the camp, but when the boys awoke, this happy camping trip to the mountains, suddenly turned into the excursion from hell.

Like most children diagnosed with special needs, transitions and different environments can cause both of my children (and my husband) to develop volatile and cranky moods. I am usually there to diffuse the tension and stop the drama from escalating into full-scale war. But this morning, I was at home alone, leaving my poor husband overwhelmed and defenseless, unprepared to handle the oncoming barrage of non-stop bickering.

"I'm hungry," screams Nicholas, waking up Pete from a restless sleep on a deflated air mattress.

"Nicholas, you woke me up!" shouts Weston as the entire campground awakens to two tantruming terrors.

Pete, still groggy from his lack of sleep and void of any caffeine, is not prepared to handle the oncoming tempest.

"BE QUIETTTTTTT," he bellows.

Both children start to cry.

"That's it!" says Pete and he starts to disassemble the tent.

Like Weston, my husband, Pete also suffers from impulsivity and an extreme lack of patience.

Without his extra large caffeine-infused morning coffee, he is just not able to tolerate the out-of-sorts siblings.

Throughout the cacophony of continuous crying, Pete packs up the campsite in record time.

He throws the children into the car and leaves a patch of dust and dirt as he exits the campground.

At the lovely time of 6:30 in the morning!

I don't know but I think it may be a while before Pete tries camping with the boys again!

Happy Campers???

So much for my quiet time at home alone.