The Family Goes to Big Bear! - Autism Mom Diaries
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The Family Goes to Big Bear!

After being so entrenched in the special needs world, both my husband Steve and I needed a break. I was also having a lot of anxiety over Ethan starting ABA, how it would affect our schedule and finances, and whether my little buddy would be able to adjust well to 20 hours of ABA therapy. My good friend Bryanna just got her doctoral degree from University of La Verne and we had been talking about doing a fishing trip with her and fiance Nick in Big Bear for a while. Come May 19, we finally just did it! It was a time to recharge our bodies and rejuvenate our souls, celebrate my friend’s big accomplishment, enjoy cozy-cold weather while drinking hot chocolate by the fireplace, and drink some wine while the guys went fishing.

Our road trip warrior was calm for the entire ride up the hill, getting droopy-eyed after several turns on the windy road, and whimpering a little bit when he was hungry. When we arrived at Lagonita Lodge, Ethan was so excited upon seeing the hotel room. As his usual routine, he was touching the curtains, lamps, cabinets, fan and remote controllers; he was trying to climb the bed and was running from the bedroom to the kitchen. On the first day, Ethan didn’t even feel like napping, and because he was on vacation, I gave him a break from his strict sleep schedule. Nick and Steve immediately went to the dock to go fishing while us women and Ethan hung out and enjoyed the cozy cabin-like hotel room.

I also saw something in Ethan that I had never seen previously – he was actually throwing real toddler tantrums! I had always boasted to other parents that Ethan is “super laid-back” and doesn’t throw tantrums. My husband said that our 2 year 9 month old son probably just turned two developmentally. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be happy or sad. I think I’m gonna choose happy, because throwing tantrums is developmentally appropriate!

Yay snow!

That night, it snowed in Big Bear. It was the first time that I had seen snow in several years. It was Ethan’s first experience of snow too! I went out and raised my arms up and ecstatically basked in the snow. Snow in May is definitely a divine experience. My friend Bryanna said that it doesn’t always snow when they go up there, and it was definitely good timing.

What’s for dinner?

My husband Steve grilled ribeye steaks for dinner, and we enjoyed every scrumptious bite of it while sipping some Cabernet. That is one silver lining in the challenges we have to face as special needs parents – as least we get to relax every once in a while and enjoy good food!

Ready, set, go!

The next day, Bryanna and I took Ethan to the small playground. He practiced his climbing skills on the little ladder and was very determined to master his emerging skills.

And of course, I shouldn’t have been surprised that he tried to touch every puddle of water he could find. I finally gave up and just let him play with a little puddle that came from melted snow coming from the roof of one of the buildings. I would carry him away from the puddle but he would run right back to it.

Ethan is pooped!

Afterwards, I gave him a warm bath. He threw a tantrum when I took him away from the puddle and threw another tantrum when his bath ended. I immediately turned on his favorite Super Simple Songs videos which rocked him to sleep. He napped on a couch for the very first time! He usually sleeps in his crib at home.

Little buddy is sleepy…zzz…
Nick and Ethan in deep conversation.

The second and last night, Steve, Bryanna, Nick and I just hung out at the cabin and talked about growing up in the 90s, our childhoods in the 80s, funny shows like Family Guy, South Park and the reality shows of the 90s, our evolving friendships, marriage and kids, and our friends’ upcoming wedding, homeownership, plans to have kids and so many topics that I wasn’t able to keep track of them all. Ethan was running around, climbing and crawling, and having a great time as well. All I know was that there was a lot of laughter, meaningful sharing, nostalgia and to put it simply, FUN! This is one of the best vacations we’ve had in our vacation-going history.

When friends are more like family.

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