Quinn loves visiting the playland at "Old McDonald's," as he calls it. For me, each visit is a new level of sadness. There was the baby Quinn suddenly and without warning knocked down, causing everyone who saw it to gasp in unison. The time I heard screaming from inside the play structure - not Quinn's, but I instinctively knew who was causing it -- and high-tailed it up the slide to find out I was right. The grandfather who glared at us for a good 20 minutes, even as he was leaving, because he mistakenly thought Quinn had bumped his beloved angel while he was spinning. The place seems to exacerbate Quinn's sensory-seeking nature in ways that looks a lot like serious disciplinary problems.
And that's not the worst of it. Each time we visit we watch kids make friends and play together. Other than when things go south, Quinn generally doesn't even acknowledge any other children. Finally, it's cute to watch kids make it to the top of the play structure and then holler or wave down at their parents. Quinn gets up there and does his own thing, in his own world, until we tell him it's time to go or the food has arrived.
It reached the point where we stopped going about six months ago. And then this morning, with my husband out of town and me looking to run down Quinn's battery before his final assembly and performance at Chinese School, he asked if we could go to Old McDonald's.
So we did.
And what a difference.
First, he scampered to the top and yelled down to me. Then he stuck his face against the inside of a bubble-shaped window and hollered at me, "Are you inside the bubble?" After a bit a little girl and her grandma came in to eat breakfast, but Grandma wanted to leave before the girl got to play. Quinn watched her the whole time and then asked, "Is the little girl not going to play?" Later on he asked, "Is a kid going to come play?" He actually noticed kids, and he wanted to play with them!
To another parent, this was hardly anything. To me, it was everything.