On Wednesday, all of the preschoolers at the Menininho’s school took a field trip to an animal safari park. Mark’s cousin was nice enough to watch Baby J for me so that I could chaperone.
I think it was a bit of a odd trip to take a bunch of children with special needs on, but all things considered, M did a really good job!
First, all the kids were given ice cream cones of animal food to give the goats. M took a bite out of it before I could stop him but hey, it was an ice cream cone so I get the confusion! He did try to feed the goats, but then the noise of all the various animals in the petting zoo, plus all the kids and their parents and the newness of the surroundings was too much. I was so proud of him though, because he covered his ears and cried for me to pick him up, and calmed down once we’d gone somewhere quiet. A year ago something like this would have sent him screaming onto the ground and banging his head.
Next, we were loaded up onto wagons and given a tour of the actual park. Each person got a large tub of feed and the wagon stopped along the way for us to feed the animals. M was kind of ambivalent about it (he kept complaining he was hungry) but he liked pointing out the ostriches and goldfish.
I made friends with a couple of moms and I’m really hoping to get together with them again in the near future. That is one of the upsides about having children with special needs…no matter your background, how you cam to be in this place, or the actual diagnosis, you automatically have this one very profound thing in common and it removes some of those barriers to friendship that might otherwise exist.
And speaking of friends, M realized on the way back to school that he was sitting in front of a friend from class and spent part of the trip talking with her (or at least laughing at what she said!) between the seats. I am so grateful for how far he has come. Some days it hardly seems real.