Made it back from vacation, and the good news is we're all still speaking to one another!
The trip was pretty good. The first night at the hotel, Jaysen was trying to figure out his surroundings.
"We live here?"
"No, we don't live here. We're staying here for vacation."
"Because we don't have all of our stuff."
(points to suitcases) "There's stuff. And here's my bed."
"But that's not all of our stuff. Like our stove, microwave, food..."
"Oh. We live here or live at home?"
"We live at home. We live here for vacation, then we go home."
The second night, Jaysen wanted to go home. He was pretty upset, crying and pleading to leave. I tried talking to him. I told him that tomorrow we were going to the beach, and it would be really cool. I tried bribing him. Nothing worked. I asked him why he wanted to go home...nothing. Then I asked him what did he want to do at home? After some back-and-forth...
"I want to run out to the mailbox, get the mail, and run in the house."
Aha. He missed his routine. In all the newness of our vacation, he needed to cling to something familiar. Why that particular routine? I don't know- but I went down to the lobby, briefly explained the situation, and the girl helped me write a "letter", put it in an envelope, and put it in their mailbox.
When I returned to the room, I told Jaysen they had a mailbox in the lobby. His eyes widened, and he clapped his hands. We went to the lobby to retrieve our mail. It worked for about a minute, but then Jaysen declared it was "bad mail", and started sobbing again. Oh well- it was the best I could do under the circumstances. I sat with Jaysen on the bed, and scratched his back until he fell asleep.
He was fine the next day. And he did have a blast at the beach, despite the sub-zero water temperature. I buried him in the sand, like we did when we were kids- he loved it. I kept piling the sand higher, and soon he was covered up to his neck! What a great sensory experience too- that may have been the calmest he'd been the whole trip.
Rylan didn't seem as thrilled with the beach experience, but eventually warmed up to the idea of being in the pool.
Jaysen truly amazed me with his resilience during many times of indecision, and the walking around everywhere. That kid did a lot of walking! I could tell he was tired because he was dragging his feet, but he just followed along and only asked me to carry him twice. We went to a concert in the park one night. Afterwards, I asked Jaysen if he wanted to go back to the hotel, or go for a walk. He wanted to go for a walk, so we went down to see the boats. He walked me up and down every dock, reading the names of the boats as we passed them. He liked the big sailboats best.
And the bridge! Jaysen loved to watch the bridge going up to let the sailboats through. He thought that was great. He even tolerated the loud warning bells.
The highlights for me would have to be spending time with my family at the same place I vacationed with my family as a kid. But ask Jaysen, and he'll tell you it was the swimming, and the orange sherbet ice cream.