Thursday, August 27, 2009

Max's First Field Trip Stunk. Literally.

The following is a guest post by my husband Scott who works for The Score and writes for his own blog He wants to start writing about his experiences being a dad, specifically the dad of an Autistic child. I thought I'd give him a shot here on Fickle Feline, so let me know if you give him the thumbs up or thumbs down.

I took a vacation day today to accompany Max on a daycare field trip to Bronte Creek Provincial Park. Their website describes it as "a place to unwind and step back in time." If you know anything about me, you'll understand why that didn't sound appealing. Their attractions include "living history demonstrations in an 1890s farmhouse." Great, so you're telling me this place doesn't have modern plumbing, then? I half-expected to see their employees throwing buckets of human sewage out of windows.

We herded the lil' ones onto a school bus at the daycare at around 9:30 and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Max quite enjoyed riding on a bus. He didn't squirm or run up and down the corridor, he just sat next to me and looked around in wonder. At the time, I considered it a good omen for the rest of the day.

Then we arrived at Bronte Creek. I'm sure there are people who appreciate the rare modern experience of gazing at the majestic glory of ducks, goats and pigs, but it so happens that Max and I are not among those people. Aside from the fact that they're boring as hell, they stink much worse than Katrina's dumps -- and that's no small feat (edited by me to add: "what are you talking about Scott? I poop vanilla ice cream!!"). Max quickly expressed his displeasure and after an hour of almost dislocating his shoulder from literally dragging him through various mundane displays and barns, I realized that four more hours of this would be a living hell for both of us and called upon my wonderful father to rescue us from this nightmare.

If I had been more realistic, I would have followed the bus in my car so that I could leave the park whenever I wanted, but I was trying to be optimistic that Max could make it through the day without melting down. I've been trying to work on my inherent pessimism about his Autism and I reasoned that giving myself an "out" was an excuse to bail out of the field trip without giving it a fair shot. In retrospect, I should have known better. I could have gone there by myself and I wouldn't have lasted much longer than Max did.

For example, let's talk about the pigs. Look, I know they're smelly and ugly. My love of pork doesn't disavow me of that notion. But what exactly is the point of taking a bunch of pre-schoolers on a field trip to meet these reprehensible creatures? Perhaps the daycare owners were trying to persuade the kids to swear off delicious bacon by witnessing the filthy swine that provide this magnificent foodstuff. I nearly vomited directly onto one of these creatures and I'm still not regretting the Tim Horton's Bagel B.E.L.T I had for breakfast.

Back at our modern, air-conditioned house, Max and I proceeded to chillaximum to the maximum for the remainder of the afternoon -- which is really the only sensible way for me to spend a vacation day. At the time, I assumed the highlight of my day with Max would be the surprisingly pleasant bus ride, but Max had a treat in store for me during one of our many potty trips.

After a successful pee, Max stumbled while trying to disembark from the toilet and bashed his head off the cupboard door beneath the bathroom counter. Naturally, he started crying. Not so naturally, I started laughing hysterically. Look, I know from experience that the kid inherited my hard head and I knew he wasn't badly hurt. This was funny stuff and I won't apologize for it even though he's my own son. As Mel Brooks once said: "Tragedy is when I stub my toe. Comedy is when you fall into an open manhole."

Max turned to me for sympathy and saw me laughing. He tried to put on a good show of being hurt but his tears quickly became intermingled with laughter from the natural infectious quality of a parent's emotions to his or her child. Within seconds, he was flat-out laughing hysterically right along with me, and I hugged him while he tumbled on the floor pantsless -- his supposed cranial agony completely forgotten.

That was the highlight of my day -- sharing a hearty laugh with my 3-year-old about his head trauma while he was naked from the waist down. Go ahead and judge me. I'll just fall back on that old cliche and insist that you had to be there.


  1. Great post, Scott. I look forward to reading more about your adventures in DadLand.

  2. Anonymous9:32 p.m.

    Thumbs Up! Love this post!


  3. Anonymous2:59 a.m.

    I love the dad point of view

  4. Anonymous10:34 a.m.