My kids have always looked forward to vacations. They love to stay in hotels and swim in hotel pools. This year much to the younger children’s dismay we chose not to have any pool memberships, so vacation time=swimming time! But, on our most recent vacation there was an odd new dynamic and as I ponder the events of the week I’m wondering if it is here to stay.
In my pre-trip research I discovered that the hotel had two pools. When we arrived we went to the pool that was the easiest to get to from our room. It just happened to be the one we didn’t have to traipse through the lobby to get to! We were all surprised to find that the pool (I’ll call it pool #1) was a bit on the small side. The kids were happy to see there was a hot tub because they like to warm up in the hot tub after being in the pool for a while. When we got there other kids were in the pool, but the kids got in anyway and had a good time. But, being the adventurers we are, we wanted to check out the other pool (pool #2), or at least some of us did….
For the next swim we made the longer trek to see what this undiscovered pool had to offer. It had a nice view of the Mississippi River which I really liked, but I don’t think the kids even noticed. It always seemed to be windy and I think it was because the deck area was surrounded on three sides by walls—if that makes any sense. Regardless, it was a strike for Stephen. And, there was no hot tub, strike two. As soon as we walked out the door and into sight of the pool Stephen saw that there were two teenage girls in the pool and said, “It is too crowded, let’s go to the other pool.” Three strikes. His definition of “too crowded” was two people in the larger pool and about four people sunbathing/reading in chairs on the deck. I just didn’t get it.
My daughter wanted to stay at the pool #2. I really didn’t want to gather our stuff back up and parade through the lobby to pool #1 not knowing if there would be “too many people” at that pool, too. So I told him we were staying. He waited until the two girls got out of the pool before he would get in. After he got in the girls slipped back into the pool and I wondered if he would get back out. He didn’t.
The next time we attempted a swim in pool #2 I took all three kids. There were others in the pool and when Stephen found out his older brother wasn’t swimming he refused to get in the pool. He went so far as to go back up to our room and called me later to see if his brother had decided to swim yet. When I told him he was in the pool he said he was coming down to swim. The three of them played together and had a great time.
There are many facets of Asperger that I do not understand. I can read books about it, but it still just doesn’t make sense to me, because my mind does not function in the same way his does. As I see some of these behaviors from Stephen—even some that seem to be new in some circumstances, I imagine what Stephen is going to be like as an adult. Even though he has some odd behaviors, he is turning out to be a funny, caring, and sensitive guy. I just hope he doesn’t end up in situations where he closes himself off from others because being around strangers makes him uncomfortable.