Yesterday's trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium was a triumph, by most measures. There were no toileting incidents from anyone, minor or major, for the first time since my two youngest ventured into Underwear Land. Leelo loves the MBAQ so much that the usual crowd-spurred sensory overloads take more time to register, and we were able to visit all the parts he likes: Splash Zone with its Nemo fishies and nubbly coral reef tactile walls throughout, the Open Ocean tank where he could lie on his back and look up between the giant tunas and sharks and into space, the back outside decks where he could gaze on the waves and kelp floats and think and think, and of course the wave tunnel.
(Side note: Our Aquarium foray made me realize once again that my neon hair is just plain useful. Our friends were able to find me and my kids even in the dimly lit jellyfish/open ocean area. I wish this lid didn't take effort to maintain (note that I did not write "a lot of effort"). At the moment it is rooty and partially washed out but the little kids still looooove me.)
We arrived at the Aquarium relatively early, which was good for fewer people, but not so early that the three kids we were with could deal with the aquarium cafeteria. Hello Aquarium Staff: Your cafeteria has delicious food but for autism and indeed most families is completely impractical unless there are no lines.
We took off to, um, Bubba Gump next door, instead. And had mediocre food but found Leelo this awesome shirt:
He also got another shirt, a penguin tee from Splash Zone because his original shirt got wet and he flipped and I was going to buy him a new MBAQ shirt anyhow as he outgrew his last shirt and we gave it to Moomin. Leelo loves his new penguin shirt. When we got home he spilled smoothie on it and was so upset that he demanded, "PUT SOAP ON IT!" Which I am guessing means wash off the stain. He has never said anything like that before, so yay.
A good day overall, a successful outing overall. The ride home devolved into barely-contained hell for a period, but that is standard for traveling with two kids who have pronounced sensory issues and a three-year-old gadfly who knows exactly how to pull their sensory triggers. Leelo only tried to kick/hit Mali a few times, and then only when his patience was wearing thin.
Like my patience with that little sister, who decided two weeks ago that she is no longer potty-trained. She might go #1 if you catch her in time and put her on the pot, but otherwise has decided that her bodily functions are no longer her responsibility. I suspect that she got freaked out on the boat, as the bow thrusters that help the boat negotiate sideways movements such as getting into a specific spot on a dock were right outside our toilet, and they were LOUD and SCARY and seemed to go off right when her little bottom was most vulnerable. Also ghosts live in most toilets, did you know that?
I'm hoping this phase passes quickly, because I am so done with poop. Leelo had one bad day when we got back from Canada but has otherwise been almost perfect. I have no need for anyone else to take up the stench and mess slack.
Good thing Mali is cute. Witness:
Extraordinary powers or not, all who wander into Mali's castle invite peril and get the entangly spider treatment. I'm guessing Iron Man is going to get eaten first, and Tai Long will be saved for a midnight snack. (Those "cords" are poached from Iz's potholder weaving kit; to me this is a much better use of materials.)
Iz is still down south, in Anaheim Hills and Disneyland and San Diego with my mom, poor girl. Here she is engaging said mom about their SoCal agenda, on the way back from the boat. My girl is sitting in a seven-seat Beaver floatplane a mere 3,000 feet over the picturesque Gulf Islands. Me at her age, I'd have had my nose pressed against the glass sucking up the scenery and wouldn't have looked up once. But this is her third trip to these parts via these vectors ; the deal, to her, it is not big. I wonder at her overall context, sometimes.
But I am not taking her shopping for new school clothes this year. She has enough clothes, already. When she grows out of them, then she gets the new ones. Jennyalice implied that I am denying Iz a rite of passage. While I agree with her on the "here, you have $X and need to figure it out yourself" budget-learning aspects, I think Iz requires nothing else to be given to her right now.
It's me and Seymour and the two kids today. No nothing else, no nobody else scheduled today. Once Seymour and Mali wake up (it's their morning to sleep in), we'll hit the cafe and then Samuel P Taylor State Park. Seymour explored the park for a Quest segment, and says it is cool and green and has lot of converted-rail trails. Perfect for families. Perfect for families like ours.
Another day, another potentially successful family outing. Let's hope.