12 hours ago
Monday, October 8, 2012
Sometimes, we are THAT special needs family (again)
We hung out at The Bronx Zoo on the weekend, an amazingly wooded retreat we all love to visit. The Siberian tiger cubs, about a month and a half old, were awesome.
The line to get onto the Wild Asia Monorail was seriously long. We waited a bit, but Max started shrieking because he was freaked by the crowds. So Dave asked the attendant if we could move up and she let us. I had no problem with asking because the alternative was for us all to leave.
Max kept on wailing, but we knew he'd like he ride once he was on it. A few minutes later, a train came in. Max has a thing about sitting in corners and last cars—it's comforting to him. And sure enough, he wanted to go in the last car. We didn't have that choice, so Dave toted him into the car directly in front of us, which made Max extra upset. As the ride started, Max was half-standing between Dave's knees, holding onto the railing and crying. I sat in the back with Sabrina.
Tour guide: "Everyone must be seated. Are you listening, Car Number Three?"
I peered down the line of cars. I didn't notice anyone standing. The train went on and Max calmed down. We saw a red panda, a great big hippo, a herd of antelope. The elephants pooped right as we passed, which Max seriously enjoyed.
"Rules are not made to be broken, Car Number Three. Everyone must be seated," said the tour guide, and the train came to a stop.
This time, Dave yanked Max down.
Oh. Car Number Three. Us.
The guide had every right to be stern. Last month, an emotionally disturbed guy jumped off the train into the tiger den. He wanted to be "one with" the tiger.
I used to be a law-abiding citizen. Then I had a child with special needs. And while Max hasn't exactly made me resort to a life of crime, I do on occasion bend rules. It's called survival of the sanest, because this is what we need to do so our family can actually enjoy things.
The train glided on. Suddenly, Max was pointing toward me. He wanted to sit in the back row.
"No, Max, we can't stand again," I said. "It's a train. We're not allowed to stand."
He started tearing up, and shaking his head at the river we were about to cross. Max freaks out about bridges, and I realized he was getting scared.
"Quick! Switch!" I said to Dave, and he helped Max to the back so I could grab him as Sabrina zoomed to the front.
Max pointed to Dave. He wanted him in the back with him, not me. I glanced at the guide, who was eyeing us warily in the rearview mirror.
"Quick! Switch!" I said, and we did. I was starting to feel like a quick-change-artist circus act.
Tour guide: "I don't know WHAT is up with Car Number Three!"
I felt sheepish. But there was nothing I could do except sit back and enjoy the rest of the ride. And I did.
Posted by Ellen Seidman at 6:42 AM