An #autistic Child at the Carnival

     As the parent of an autistic, six year old, child, I often find myself thrust out of my comfort zone, all in the name of new experiences for her. Friday evening, the Hubby and I found ourselves flying solo, well as solo as it gets for us; we just had one kiddo. So we decided to splurge a little and take her to the fair. I figured we'd pet some animals, eat a funnel cake (or six), grab a corn dog and call it a night.

It was shortly after the funnel cake (or three) that everything took a really bad turn, well spin actually....


     We checked out all of the normal "fair type" activities; we petted the rabbits (and narrowly escaped the hard-sell tactics being employed by very, cute, little girls trying to unload very, fluffy bunnies), we laughed at funky chickens and we listened in at the livestock auction. We actually hung out there FOREVER because the Hubby is obsessed with the idea of becoming a colonel (an auctioneer). Whatever....
     Everything was going fine; we had tasty, piping hot funnel cake(s) sitting in front of us with fresh squeezed lemonade chasers, when my lovely daughter decided that she HAD. TO. HAVE. Cotton candy. So off to the carnival we went in search of easily the most vile substance on the face of the planet cotton candy. It was after she had eaten half a bag that she noticed the "Ferris wheel".


Now please note this is no ordinary Ferris wheel. Not only does it go around at great speed but the cars FLIP over! Did I mention that we had JUST eaten a deep fried funnel cake (or three)?

     She HAD. TO. RIDE. IT. I tried explaining that it wasn't a Ferris wheel but it was a no go. I tried distracting her with the "kiddie" rides". Nope! It was all about the "Ferris wheel". Ok, I thought, the Hubby can take her. He's always going on about amusement parks and such; this is right up his alley. As soon as we got back to the ride, tickets in hand, he immediately says that he will hold everything for us and shoves me towards the line. *sigh*
     Myriam jumped right in the car and was so excited! And she did great the whole time they were loading everyone into the ride. She loved being so high up and kept pointing out all of things she could see. And then... the ride started. It swung violently forward, tipping the car backward. Myriam squeaked and immediately said she wanted off. I started praying that both the cotton candy and funnel cake would stay put in our lurching stomachs. I tried (in vain) to stabilize the car and managed to keep it from flipping over on ever rotation. But every third time around the momentum was too much and the car flipped over completely. Myriam would keep repeating, "it's time to go home, I wanna go home" every time we flipped. (That's the catch phrase/ecolalia she uses when she's completely overwhelmed.) And the only thing I could think of to do was declare how fun this was. "WHEE, Myriam! Here we go! Yay!" The look she gave me pretty much declared that she thought I had completely lost my mind.
      The "Carny" running the ride obviously realized our distress because we were the first riders off and he jokingly asked if we wanted to ride again. When Myriam's feet touched the ground, I watched her stand a little unsteadily and her legs wobbled a bit. Her big excited grin was gone and I was devastated. The last thing I wanted was for her to be scared of a carnival. I immediately put her on a "kiddie" car ride and after that she wanted to ride the roller coaster. By the time that ride ended, she very much wanted to ride the only other terrifying ride in the carnival, something akin to her "Ferris wheel" but with a different spinning motion. I vetoed the idea and propelled her out of the carnival to the swing set in the park across the street.
     I haven't ridden a ride like that since I was in my teens and maybe my age is showing here but I have no desire to relieve THAT experience again. That is, unless my daughter desperately needs another new experience and then I guess I'll step up again....

Peace Out!
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