‘Fail to plan, plan to fail.’ That appears to be today’s motto and it’s one I really must bear in mind more.

Today we went to a tourist attraction local to where we are staying on holiday.  We thought Tink would absolutely love it, as there would be penguins. Lots of them. Tink loves penguins. And there was other ocean-related stuff too, to keep H happy. And otters. It has otters!

We had our breakfast, got dressed, made a packed lunch, filled the bag with nappies, drinks and made sure we had the necessary documents as proof of Tink’s disability for the reduced-price entry. We jumped in the car and set off around the coast a little to the next town.

We got there, paid our entry fee and went through, finding ourselves in front of a large viewing window, where a puffin was diving into the water in front of us. “Look, a puffin!” “Puffin!” Tink copied. We walked further and emerged in front of a beach full of penguins! Around a hundred or so, a mix of African and Macaroni flavours. “Penguins!” Tink said, with awe.

Then, one of them honked, or quacked, or whatever it is they do. It’s not a pleasant noise and it’s loud.  I’d forgotten they do this. And Tink doesn’t like sudden noises, especially of the animal variety. (Trips to the farm aren’t much fun either!) And Tink’s hands flew to her ears. It’s okay, I thought, I’ll pop her ear defenders on and it will all be fine. “Want Tink’s purples?” I asked her. “Yes pease.” I looked in the bag… They’re not there. Crap. I check all the pockets of Daddy’s very pocket-y bag. Nope. Definitely not there. Then Daddy informs me he remembers seeing them back at the caravan. Great.

After a few minutes of watching penguins diving and swimming, hands firmly clamped over her ears, Tink says, “go back a camping?” (she keeps getting camping and caravan confused!) “Had enough!” My heart sank. I thought she’d love this! All because we forgot to make sure we had everything necessary to combat any anxiety (we even forgot to bring a dummy – a total rookie mistake. We’ve been packing those for four years!)

We persevered, and the hands did gradually come off the ears, occasionally going back up whenever we went into a new part or there was something she wasn’t sure about. She liked watching the seal diving and jumping, but wasn’t keen on the mangrove swamp area, which was dark and had strange mangrove noises playing. I haven’t seen her that anxious in quite a while, walking with her head down, middle fingers and thumbs tapping each other in a stim, clinging on to Daddy when she really needed to. Again she asked, “go back a camping?”

I felt so disappointed, and cross with myself for not checking we had the ear defenders with us. But, on reflection, I guess it may not even have mattered. She may still have been as anxious with them as without. And I think that’s what I’m still struggling with; the fact that our world has now become unpredictable. And I don’t like unpredictable! And neither does Tink, only I’m old enough to have coping strategies and need to learn to relax more! I can’t second guess how she will react to a new situation; some things I worry she’ll hate she is fine with, and the things I think she’ll love seem to be the things she struggles with! I just need to learn to be prepared and go with the flow.

So lessons learned from today: start learning to embrace the unpredictable! And always, always check the bag for ‘purples’ and dummies!


Plan, plan, plan!
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5 thoughts on “Plan, plan, plan!

  • April 7, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I’m going to tell you this…….I’ve been in your place, oh-so-many-times. And finally (like 20 years ago….no REALLY….20 years ago) broke down and put together an *autism bag*. It’s like a Diaper Bag, but for autism. My Kiddo is 36 years old, and I always thought it was disrespectful to him to have a diaper bag so we call it an autism bag.

    What it is a backpack with an autism puzzle ribbon embroidered on the front. I had a regular backpack at first but we kept misplacing it or when I asked someone–like one of my other boys or Hubby—to get it, they always got someone else’s backpack! In it is a complete change of clothes–jeans, tee-shirt, socks and several pairs of underwear–some gummybears, sunglasses, a magna doodle, his small erase-board (with makers) and some of his migraine pain meds. In short, anything we could possibly need for an *autism emergency*. I never unpack it and, if I use anything in it, replenish it as soon as we get home. The magna doodle and erase board are small versions of the ones he has at home. I usually check the pain meds as we leave the house. I throw it in the car and leave it there if we are going to Grandma’s but if we would be visiting somewhere such as you did, would bring it in with us. And since it is a backpack, Kiddo usually carries it himself.

    So have a bag filled with Tink Things…..extra dummies and ear plugs (worth having the extras)…and anything else….and just leave it always packed and ready to go. You won’t have to think…just grab and go! It took me a long time to realize it wasn’t disrespectful, it made sense!

    • April 7, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      As she’s still in nappies (diapers), we usually have a bag with us, but I sometimes swap things round to other bags depending on where we’re going etc. I think you’re right though, I need just one bag that always stays the same and has everything we might need in it that I can keep in the car for days out 😊

      • April 7, 2016 at 8:27 pm

        It’s just too complicated to switch things around……I speak from experience here. We used to use his school backpack and that’s when the confusion came along. And the things other is…..if you use something, replace it as soon as you are able (and there isn’t a crisis happening) so you are always ready.

  • April 7, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Forgive my word order in the above comment…see what happens when I’m sleep deprived 🙂


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