Sunday, October 29, 2006

A rare day...

Today C & I took off for Ithaca sans B- our first trip away together in too many years to remember. Ithaca is a small college town about 1 1/2 hours away (home to Cornell University & the Moosewood Restaurant) & has a thriving arts & co-op community. It was one of our favourite getaways before B was born. The sans B part was courtesy of B's school's silent auction last Spring, where we successfully bid on an overnight of kidsitting from one of our favourite people, Paula. Paula is not only an autism mom (to college freshman Ck, B's fave kidsitter & mentor) but was B's first grade teacher & is now director of B's school. To say we were leaving B in good hands is an understatement...

I wasn't feeling comfortable about going away overnight, so Paula kindly agreed to do a fun-filled, all day event with B instead. B knew all week that Paula was staying with him today, but at breakfast he was a bit fuzzy on the details ("you mean you're leaving at 10:00 in the afternoon?") so we explained that Paula would arrive at 10:00 in the morning & that we'd be back by bedtime. In the middle he would be going to a Halloween party with her (hosted by a family from school) & they'd have special pancakes for dinner, among other things. I had decided just to have him wear his Halloween costume all day (it's black pants & turtleneck which he plans to festoon with spy gear so he'll look like a spy) & so that was taken care of. We figured out which phone numbers to leave & remembered to put B's dinnertime pills out in his little pill bowl (& add them to the phone number note). It was, of course, pouring rain & I had trouble deciding how to dress for the wet (bright yellow sailing windbreaker or a nicer jacket & umbrella? the umbrella ensemble won...). Mostly, I was quite unprepared emotionally to leave my kid for the day, but leave we did. B was pretty blase about the whole thing & told me "itterasshai" (sort-of "have a good day" in japanese) for a change (that's usually my line :).

C & I hit a couple wineries on the way down, mostly for christmas presents. We had a wine-tasting record sheet from 1992 (we don't throw anything out...) from one place & used it to help us remember what varieties we'd liked. We finally got to Ithaca & found a place to park in time for a late lunch at a little Japanese restaurant on the Commons. Afterward we wandered around in the rain looking at shops, then had an adventure trying to find the art museum on the Cornell campus (without a map, at first, which proved unproductive so we stopped at an info kiosk & got one). The trees on campus were in full colour & just gorgeous, in spite of (or perhaps because of) the grey sky. We enjoyed the art museum very much, but I couldn't help but remark to C how many things we were seeing/visiting today that would send B into major tics, either from crowds, noise, smells, or from specific images that trigger him. It hit me that, for a little while, I was thinking only about my own needs (which was a good thing because all the walking around was aggravating my arthritis) & not accomodating or projecting about B's needs, too. On top of that, it was just nice to chat with C for an uninterrupted space of time. We ended our visit to Ithaca with dinner at the Moosewood (we got there early, since they don't take reservations) made almost magical by our sliding into a just-vacated parking space right in front of the restaurant :) We have nearly all of the Moosewood cookbooks, so it felt almost like a pilgrimage to eat there again (although our very favourite restaurant in Ithaca was the even more seriously veggie Cabbagetown Cafe, in Collegetown, which closed a few years ago, & whose cookbook we also own). On the way home we were talked-out (for once!) and listened to a favourite old tape recording of the Roche Sisters, singing along as we used to... It made the trip feel almost like a second honeymoon :)

B was in his jammies when we got home & excited to see us. He & Paula had spent the time after dinner finding (& bookmarking) Weird Al Yankovic videos on YouTube & he couldn't wait to share some of them. They had a great day, with only a few "disasters" (Paula wasn't used to our gas stove & the pancakes burned, so they went out for pizza instead). They spent the morning watching "Attack of the Clones", which we'd only just allowed B to see for the first time this past week, & Paula hadn't seen it yet, so she was psyched. She had worn all-black so she & B would match for the party, & everybody noticed, although they decided not to stay long (the fog machine was making Paula cough & setting the fire alarms off, which upset B). At one point B had a tic about aliens, but Paula was able to talk him away from it & B resumed optimum functioning. They called Ck at college so B could talk to him for the first time since August. B had shown Paula some of the Pythagoras Switch videos on YouTube as well & she's now a convert (she wants to get a group of us to do the Algortihm March for the school talent show :).

The best part of the day was that we all had wonderful times (Paula said she had a blast with B). C & I recharged in a way we haven't been able to in a loooong time. It's ok with me to live day-to-day with B, facing challenges & joys, but it's also cool to get a perspective from a difference. C & I talked about how different life became after B was born, & I realised that I'm simply not the same person I was before he was born. B has stretched me & I have grown into the person I am now because of him. I remembered that this was one of the reasons I wanted a child in the first place, because I felt then that having a child would bring meaning & purpose to my life in a positive way. It sure has! I was so glad to have time with his dad, just rambling & chatting & looking at art. I was so happy to get home to B, too, & hear about his day. The coming back together, seeing B's eager face & hearing about his adventures, was a wonderful end to a wonderful day :)


At 1:35 AM, Blogger Kristina Chew said...

That's just how I felt after seeing Charlie last night after being "away" in NYC for the conference.

The Roche Sisters---sounds good to me.....

At 7:00 AM, Blogger Mum is Thinking said...

I'm glad you had such a good day! Sounds like fun :-)

I had a Moosewood cookbook years ago, I wish I still had it. The recipes were good! Glad to hear the restraunt is still there.

Something funny :-) My son choose Japan as our current homeschool theme. I think the Pythagoras Switch videos had a lot to do with that. I'm glad you posted that!


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