Ever tried taking six kids to a really noisy, crowded, busy street festival? Alone? Without back-up? Four of those kids with special needs? Two in wheelchairs? If you have not yet had the pleasure of this experience, here is a peek at how that looks:
In other words, not too bad. We survived, anyway! Sweet, dear Micah was absolutely miserable, feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated, and made sure to let everybody know it. For three hours straight he let everybody know just how miserable he was. He made a good go at trying to make the rest of us miserable as well, but luckily it was so darn noisy at this event that his crying, screaming, and shrieking were mostly drown out.
First, all six of the kids marched and/or rolled in the Kids Parade. No pictures of that, as I also found myself marching in the parade, and was too busy trying to distract my writhing, hysterical little Micah while also carrying my whooping, hair-pulling Gideon in a backpack, push two wheelchairs simultaneously, calm Isaac down because he wasn't sure he was going to hear the announcer say his name over the sound of Micah screaming, and trying to complement and acknowledge the not-freaking-out behavior of Josiah and Gracie in the midst of all that. Whew. Needless to say, I was ready to go home at that point, but Isaac had been looking forward to the talent show ALL YEAR LONG, so of course we couldn't leave yet! After the parade, he ran to the van, retrieved his violin, and entered himself into the talent show. Here he is, eagerly waiting for his turn on the stage (while admiring his participation medal for marching in the parade):
And when the talent show was over, Isaac was awarded first place! He hadn't realized that there was a $25 prize, and he is seriously over the moon with excitement about the mind-boggling possibilities that this windfall presents:
Meanwhile, Micah was still desperate to go home:
Gideon had calmed down and was loving riding
on mommy's back in the Ergo:
Isaac was just glowing:
Blessing was adorable, as always:
and Josiah and Gracie were itching
to play some carnival games:
Micah was absolutely inconsolable, did not want anybody to touch him or talk to him, and just really, really did not want to be there. I totally felt for the little guy, but seriously, the other kids had been looking forward to this event for a full year. How completely unfair would it have been to make everybody else leave? I felt really torn, knowing how miserable Micah was, but we can't just sit inside our house forever for fear that Micah might cry, either. And I had been hopeful that he would react better than he did. If you recall, he was very calm at the Fourth of July festival just a few weeks earlier. I take him out in public quite often now, and more often than not, he is stoic and longsuffering, and sometimes I catch him actually enjoying himself.
So I have no idea what made the difference, but I do know that Micah had decided that he was not going to stop screaming until I got him away from this torture. It gave me (and maybe him, too) flashbacks to a very long, noisy car ride five months ago in Ukraine. That day, so long ago, when my dear Micah, hysterically terrified, fought and screamed for HOURS during the car ride to get passports . . . Yeah. This was very much like that day. Except I had sort of thought we had gotten past all of that.
But the kids had tickets, and the streets were lined with carnival games, so we stayed. And played.
And picked out prizes at the prize booth. Whoopee cushions and plastic parachuting men and lollipops and those flimsy balsa-wood gliders that break when you try to put them together . . . ahhhh! Kid heaven!
Finally I figured out that if I put a lollipop into Micah's mouth every time he tried to wail, he would clamp his mouth shut. He really doesn't like lollipops. He would rather be quiet than be forced to taste a lollipop. After three hours straight of hysteria, he was finally quiet.
Micah even calmed down enough to eat some ice cream! (He loves ice cream.) So we ended the event on a good note. Full tummies, empty wallet, pockets full of trinkets, useless plastic junk, and candy wrappers, and Isaac swinging his violin case in one hand and a first-place medal in the other. And boy, was Micah relieved when we finally piled into the van to head back home. But next year? I am bringing some back-up!