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Holidays ... this is a time where you all get excited to go somewhere new, to be able to have "time out" from the every day grind of your life, to spend quality time with the people that mean so much to you - your family, you feel all excited with the preparations before hand but at the same time its stressful trying to get everything organised, making sure you have remembered everything while running around after your kids who are relishing in making as much mess as possible where as you want to keep the house as tidy as possible for going away!!
I never thought this holiday would be any different from previous family holidays - how wrong was I? I never anticipated on how much more stressful a holiday is with a special needs child..maybe I was naive but this was our first proper family holiday since Roo was 8mths old and I just assumed it would be like all previous family holidays...
From the moment we arrived at the holiday site till the moment we came home Roo spent most of his days crying, screaming, whinging...gone was my happy , cheeky wee boy replaced by a child I did not know...He suddenly couldn't bear to be touched, every time someone touched his skin he would become distressed and try to "wipe" over the area as if trying to get rid of where he was touched, he couldn't bear the doors of the caravan being shut, every single door had to be open, he went off his food, at the play park he wasn't interested and just wanted to walk around but it wasn't safe so he had a meltdown, we went to the shows and he couldn't deal with the loud noises so we had to take him out of the room, the only time he was calm was when we went swimming as he adores water..
It was very stressful dealing with the constant crying/screaming and I really felt for my older boys as they couldn't get to do as much as they wanted to due to Roo being so upset with his surroundings..we went out of site for 2 days to visit an Aquarium and Wildlife park and he wasn't in the mood for them, just wanted to sit in the buggy all the time, didn't want to walk with us, cried and whinged a lot... trying to make him smile was hard work but sometimes we cracked it, those moments are worth waiting for.. My heart went out to him as I realised that this holiday meant that his routine was changed, new sounds, new unfamiliar place, noises etc which resulted in triggering a sensory overload which just totally overwhelmed him to the point where he was simple struggling to deal with anything..
After 4 days we were emotionally drained, exhausted with trying to please Roo, stressed out to the point hubby and I were bickering over the smallest things, we came to the realisation that we weren't enjoying the holiday, we were merely functioning & just plodding along for the sake of it...after a heart to heart with my older two boys we came to the decision to just pack up and come home 3 days early... My eldest asked me if wishes came true as he made a wish that day that Roo was no longer a special needs child...broke my heart hearing him say that...but thankfully they understood and wanted Roo to be happy again so we quickly packed everything up and set off on what was to be the journey to hell as Roo screamed most of it, getting so upset to the point where he ended up choking, trying to make himself sick...I have never been so glad to see my house...
Ten mins after we got in our house Roo giggled at something his brothers did...it was the first time in 5 days I had heard him giggle and smile...by simply being in his home environment he was instantly comfortable and much more relaxed...you could actually see the stresses of the past couple of days drain out of him and the old Roo was back much to our delight..
But after a day at home , Ive had time to ponder over things and I feel sad that we had to cut the holiday short, its made me realise too that in future family holidays will never be the same again...we would need to carefully plan around him as if he is happy then the rest of us are happy and can relax...We are thinking that the best holiday for us would be a cottage with a garden somewhere so that he is able to wander about and get to go outside when he wants to, basically a home from home which will be a challenge to find but one I'm up for as I'm determined to get the family holiday we all desperately need...