October 10th, 2015

Today's Activities Include: Santa's Village

T. woke up first and played on his iPad for a while before asking to be taken down to breakfast. I had a bagel; he had a waffle. I got the rest of them up and going when we got back to the room and we headed north to Jefferson, NH. It was _cold_ all day long, but we knew this was going to happen and had brought mostly appropriate clothing (gloves, hats, jackets). In an effort to Murphy the weather, R. brought snow pants for the kids and I had an umbrella (Murphy theory says if you are prepared for something, it is less likely to happen).

We had a great day. R. got some great photos with the big camera, including the kids feeding the reindeer. We had one really odd interaction with a woman and her family. Both her kids cut in front of A. for one of the elves, and parents were nowhere in sight. The boy had two cards, and took forever disentangling them before finally punching them and moving out of the way -- in time for his sister to cut in. The mother noticed the sister cutting in, pulled her out and apologized, but I suspect she didn't realize the boy had cut, too. I commented that it wasn't the cutting that bothered me as much as the two cards, which generated a heated diatribe about a third child -- another girl -- who had a cane and a movement disorder. That girl had been nowhere around when the two other kids cut in, so it's unclear how her disorder justifies the behavior of the other two kids. I assume the theory is that the boy cutting and then taking forever with the two cards was justified because his actions are made virtuous because some of it has to do with his sister? But if you are gonna play the disability card, I'm gonna play, too, and I pointed out that my two children have autism diagnoses and thus lack flexibility, and noted that not all disabilities are visible. She was all ready to go, tho, and started yelling something not very coherent at me. Then her husband finally arrived with the third child, and his contribution was to yell at _his wife_ (not me!), "What on earth is going on?!?" I figured that was my cue to leave, and have spent a lot of time since the incident scratching my head about that dynamic. Is she so horrible all the time that his response is rational? Is she so horrible all the time because he is so unsupportive? Who knows? But I'll tell you, if your kids violate basic etiquette like taking turns, waiting in line around me, you are going to hear about it, and if your apology is weak, you are going to hear about _that_, and if you try to trump your family's uncivilized behavior with a disorder (suffered by a person who _is not even present_), you are for fuck's sake gonna hear about _that_. If it were my family, I'd have leashed the older kids and put the kid with the bum leg in one of the free park strollers, but presumably the family has good reasons to not solve the apparent problems in the obvious way. (And I say this as a person who leashed one of her kids for years in certain public areas because he tended to race ahead, and who kept her daughter in a stroller in these parks until well past normal stroller age because her daughter kept face planting whenever she started running.)

The reindeer pictures were taken shortly after this odd incident, and I had trouble keeping people from blocking the shot R. was very conspicuously taking. I waited until one guy left with his kid, and _then he circled around and came back_, but I'd about had it by that point and just stuck my arm out and blocked him. I get there's a certain loss of situational awareness in an amusement park, especially this one, since it is oriented towards such young children, but it is not normally this nuts. I suspect a lot of the people there were first time visitors/first time taking their kids to _any_ amusement park. It was a very different crowd than usual, too -- way more Canadians than usual (altho the really awful behavior wasn't coming from people who seemed like they were Canadians). After the reindeer, I started standing in line right behind A. I figured part of autism is having trouble using social cues to manage personal space, and if she can't do it, and everyone else is behaving badly, I might as well just model how to do it. Maybe she'll pick it up.

We left around 4, and stopped at the Intervale Subway for dinner, where T. left his new stuffed animal. I took the kids swimming while R. went back for it. They have serious staffing issues -- we've been seeing a lot of this lately, but this weekend was exceptional. I think NH must be past NAIRU.