We have been very busy over these holidays doing one thing or another.
Yesterday we ventured out to Legoland with a friend and her 2 children (the girl nearly 5 and the same size as dinky, and the boy 3). We went by car which, although she can be very noisy, is much more relaxed than going by public transport as it seems the world and his wife have an idea about how to discipline ‘naughty’ children!
When we arrived I only had Dinky’s online ticket and needed to get my carer’ pass. So I did as directed by the lady on the phone. I went to the gates and requested a carers pass for myself.
The girl on the gates said I would have to go via guest services. Which when I turned around, the queue was longer than the ticketing queue. When I pointed out that I wold have to get Dinky a ride access pass and standing in that queue kind of defeated the object and would lead to a bad start to the day for her, she took my paperwork and went to the other side of guest services, where there was no queue, to get my pass.
While we waited Dinky was not impressed, she accused people of pushing in, was asking how our friends got in and we are not, and then tried to run through with another family!
It wasn’t long before the girl came back with my ticket and we went through. We then went to the empty window for guest services to get the ride access pass and to get the kids measured so we didn’t have to go through the rigmarole of being height checked at every ride.
We sorted the ride access pass, Dinky was supposed to get a red stamp on her hand but she bites her hands when nervous sometimes, or will find it funny to lick it off, so (on some marvellous advice), I asked for it to be put on a contact wrist band for her. The lady was great she put it on the wristband. We all had to have black stamps as we were with her. Dinky felt a bit left out and different because hers was red, so the lady without pause, told Dinky that she could have a black one too, but she is special so gets the red one too! My friend asked about the measuring, and we were told that it was done at the other guest services (located at the other end of the park). So we decided to try and find our way there.
We were among the first of those that were in the park and we got to the Kingdom of the Pharaohs, there were no queues, so we jumped on the Aero Nomad (like a Ferris wheel) and we could see across parts of the park, most importantly we saw guest services. Then the two girls wanted to go on the carousel, so I took them on while my friend sat with her son. The girls were having fun. It wasn’t until it was time to get off that I notice the difference in the two girls. Dinky had unstrapped herself and was getting down, while the girl was scared and needed help. So I went to help her, as I put her down through loud screams of “I cant”, I looked over at Dinky who was now standing on a horse’s head laughing! I managed to get her down and out of the ride.
Then a quick go on the swing ride and across the rail tracks to guest services which was tucked away behind the doughnut shop. The lady measured the kids and redid the stamps as when the kids washed their hands after a toilet stop they had almost washed them off. It was hard to get dinky out of there as there was lego to play with. We managed it in the end though. The last time we went anywhere with my friend was to the science museum during the last summer holiday. On that trip I had to restrain dinky at the hands on level on the third floor and had to remove her from the building as she wouldn’t wait 5 minutes for the start of the space tour and was attacking me. My friend said that she can see that Dinky has got harder to manage.
Dinky was wearing her t-shirt ‘Cute kid with special needs and attitude’ as we went toward the train Dinky slammed into someone, the guy turned round and I said “I’m Sorry” but he glanced at her t-shirt and eased, smiled and said “no problem”. It was nice to see the t-shirt make a difference. We got on the train and dinky loved looking at all the bits out and about.
Next we made our way to the dragons apprentice, on the way there dinky saw a massive boat ride and wanted to go on it. I said she was too small and she then sat and refused to move. It was a struggle to get her to move. This is where you see the difference between a child’s rigid thoughts and a kid having a tantrum. I said we were going to go on a dragon rollercoaster, she didn’t care. I said her friends were going to go without us, she didn’t care. I said that she couldn’t go on it because she was just too small, she didn’t care. She said she should go on it and that was that, she refused to move until she went on it. It took some doing but we eventually got moving.
We made it to the dragon apprentice and went to the q-bot entrance. this ride had two seats per row and each child needed an adult. We only had two adults to three kids. one of the ride operators said he would happily jump on with one on the kids so we could all ride at the same time, so that Dinky wouldn’t have to wait around. My friend managed to get her almost 5 year old to go on with the operator. So we all rode and they all had fun!
Next up the dragon. Now this is where we met the major meltdown of the day. All was good while we got up there, however the boy wasn’t big enough to go on. So we decided to take it in turns. Dinky and I would go first the we would swap and my friend would take her daughter. So we rode, dinky absolutely loved it! We got off and swapped with my friend. As we sat with her son Dinky kicked off, she wanted to go back on. I told her she couldn’t and we had to wait with the boy. She was hitting and kicking and trying to bite. The ride operator tried not to look at us and I got a reassuring smile from someone in the ride access queue. I tried to hold dinky so she couldn’t hit and so that she was safe. She kept trying to run onto the ride and was screaming. Noting I was doing was working. She took my hat off, threw it, and managed to punch me square in the eye. It was horrible. When my friend got off with her daughter she was shocked to see dinky like this. She asked if dinky had been like this the whole time, I said yes. It took some doing but we finally managed to get dinky calm enough to let me carry her down the stairs. Once out of the ride and on the way to another one she was calming down.
We headed towards the Pirate falls (log ride with a splash). Again the boy was too small to go on, so I took both girls, dinky was putting her hands on her ears so I managed to get her to wear her new bright pink ear defenders. Again we went to the front of the queue. Dinky jumped straight in a boat but the girl was scared, so I had to lift her in despite her protests! Dinky didn’t like the sound of the water and the tanoy announcements so kept her ear defenders on during the ride. We got absolutely soaked, but all three of us were laughing about it. I brought the picture from the kiosk as it was dinky’s first ever log ride. Typically it would be with her wearing her ear defenders, but I don’t care, she loved it!
After this the other children were hungry, and wanted to stop for lunch, dinky on the other hand had seen a ride she wanted to go on and didn’t want to stop for lunch. So again she sat and refused to move. I managed to persuade her to get up and walk a little but she was having none of it as soon as lunch was mentioned again. It was a battle but we got her to the lunch spot where she proceeded to kick and punch me. After a while she conceded and sat and ate her melon and sausage.
It was at this point that I realised what the difference was between chessington and Legoland – At chessington Dinky had 2 adults completely for herself, there was no one for us to be distracted by and she was the only one we were worried about having a good time. This time there were only 2 adults and 3 kids, so I had to help at some points. Dinky had no control over when we ate, when we stopped for toilet breaks, which rides we went on. It was down to the 3 of them. She was not happy.
Most people would say that she just had to suck it up and get on with it. If ONLY it were that easy. Dinky is driven by a need to be in control. She hates the idea of someone else directing her activities.
The other problem we face is Dinky does not understand how to be polite in conversations. Sure she says ‘excuse me’ and ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, but it is normally said before or after something which is inappropriate or rude. Of course she doesn’t see it that way. Thank goodness for the red stamp and the t-shirt! what happened was, I had mentioned to my friend that they didn’t seem to be looking at the ride access area and were filling the ride from the queue. When my friend saw that the ride was almost full with no one taking any notice of us, and dinky getting agitated she went to alert the ride operators, (another problem we faced is that when we went to get the ride access pass, Dinky had asked what we were doing, and I told her that we were going to get a pass which meant we didn’t have to get in the big queues, however dinky took that to mean we didn’t have to wait at all). In the end someone came to get us and dinky said “excuse me! you were letting on everyone else and made us wait and we have a pass!” neither me, my friend, nor the ride operator knew where to look!
We got on and the kids enjoyed it. From there we went to the fire engines to put out the fires, which was blooming hard work!
Then we went to get the kids driving licences! Which was hilarious, as dinky pressed the button and took 3 pictures before I could stop her! She then did really well driving around the course. However she had another meltdown as it was time to get off. I had to lift her out of the car and onto some decking where she continuously tried to go back to the cars. She was hitting and trying to bite me. I managed (after about 10 minutes) to get her to come look at her picture but she was still not calm and head butt me full on in the chin.
After that she wasn’t really bad at all, we had a few more refusals to budge, and small headbutts, but she did ok for the rest of it, we drove a boat, went on another wet ride, played in the park, went on the dragon ride again, saw the mini land, went on the sky train, watched a 4D film and then stopped for dinner. I quite liked it when we stopped for dinner, we managed to get seated quickly as I mentioned to the staff that dinky didn’t like queuing. we were sat next to a lego play table! So instead of trying to get dinky to stay sitting when he had finished she just pushed her chair in and lined up the lego bricks!
We went to the shop and Dinky got lego hulk, batman, and pink brick keyrings.
We then caught the train up the hill and left. My friends 2 were just about ready to drop but dinky was keeping them awake and lively in the car on the way home! We didn’t get back to near on 8pm and I didn’t give dinky her melatonin as I normally gave it to her around 6pm. She was awake until 9.30pm! I don’t know how!
Overall she had a good day. I am not sure I could do that again. It was very difficult having to cater to the needs of 2 other children, and try and keep dinky calm, especially when we had to wait for my friend to take it in turns to take her children on the rides which meant dinky had to wait round for them.
I think it must be very difficult to deal with PDA when you have more than one child, as the parents would constantly have to try and meet the needs of each child, with the PDA chid exhausting that ability to give to anyone but them, even the parent themselves!
I think it was very difficult for dinky because she is not used to having to share me, or considering others on our previous day trips as we had either gone alone or with my dad, and since the London eye trip back in April, I have tried to give Dinky as much control as I can in those situations, so she feels secure and happy.
Well, we live and we learn.
Today dinky went to a party, which I was dreading immensely. Although I did know that the birthday had an older sibling with ADHD so the mum was well versed in hyperactive wild child behaviour! We did end up having a long conversation while the children were running around the soft play area about ADHD and how having a child with additional needs impacts not only on the child, but the family, school, and the adults forming friendships at the school because a lot of parents distance themselves from the wild children’s parents.
Thankfully the news is spreading around the parents in Dinkys year group that she has additional needs and isn’t just naughty. The birthday girl’s mum had mentioned dinky’s behaviour could be special needs to the parent in her daughters class. I am pretty happy to have found out that dinky will be in the birthday girls class next year at school, so at least one person will be her friend for longer than most!
Next week we have soft play, followed by the special needs group clubhouse, then she is off with the group for 2 days Wednesday and Thursday, ending in a chill day at the park on Friday!
Again a full week (but one that includes respite for me!)
Hope all of the parents of
Awesome kids are surviving the holidays, and the same goes to any parents reading this with any child, especially those with special needs!
For information on PDA why not visit http://www.thepdaresource.com
Or check out my updates on dinky on our facebook page www.facebook.com/dinkyandme