I know, I know. By the time I tell these stories, they’re woefully out of date. But things have been busy (blah blah blah) and these are stories I want to tell because they’re pretty big milestones in Nate’s life. Now where did I leave off….? Oh, right – Nate turned five! And then Chad graduated from Yale!
As you may or may not have noticed, pictures of Nate this year have pretty much consisted of him either eating or being half-naked around the house. In the final stretch of Chad’s schooling, we weren’t able to do a family fun day every weekend when we explore something different and, well, fun. We just maintained a weekly meal in a restaurant (hence the eating pictures) and hung out at home (hence the half-naked photos). So to really celebrate Chad’s (and our!) new-found freedom, we decided to go to Boston, the city where Chad and I met; introduce Nate to his theatre family up north; and have extended family fun time!
This sounds like an awesome plan, right? And then real life intervened. Nate got sick — real sick. He had been having tummy issues the week prior, which carried over into the week of our trip. On top of it, he broke out into a horrible rash on his back and stopped eating and drinking for 36 hours. During the rash/eating-drinking strike, Nate had an appointment with a specialist at 2PM; my boy, who never naps, fell asleep during the appointment! I called Dr. Syd and they wanted to see Nate right away, so we headed over there afterwards. Nate fell asleep in my arms waiting for Dr. Syd and slept through his entire examination. It was truly the most thorough exam Nate’s ever had–Dr. Syd listened to everything in Nate’s body and poked and prodded my soundly sleeping boy. By the end of the exam, Syd frustratingly diagnosed Nate’s illness as viral (I hate the catchall category of “viral,” which really means “there’s nothing we can do about it”) and turned the conversation to me and Chad.
Dr. Syd has really shown me what an awesome doctor can — and should — be. He genuinely wants to know how our family is doing and what each adult is doing to take care of him/herself while caring for a child. Syd has a lot of patients on the autism spectrum and he recognizes how overwhelming of a parenting process it may be–and he also knew that Chad was in the program at Yale. I told Syd we planned to spend the weekend in Boston to celebrate Chad’s graduation but, with Nate’s virus, we were pretty sure we were going to cancel. Syd took one look at me and said, “GO TO BOSTON.” He knew it was something for all of us. He knew it was a celebration. He knew Nate would survive. We left it that we would check in during the morning if Nate still wasn’t eating/drinking and Nate and I headed home.
We planned to set out first thing in the morning to visit dear friends that I haven’t seen in years but that plan was scrapped when Nate woke up. Groggy, dehydrated, and a bit bleary eyed, Chad convinced Nate to eat an ice cream cone. A Skinny Cow ice cream cone was the only thing we had; never had we wished so strongly for full fat ice cream in our life! Nate ate the ice cream cone, drank one glass of water, and fell asleep for four hours. Four hours. I joined him in the nap (if I recall right, he was up for part of that night) and, when we awoke, I was pretty sure Boston was not going to happen.
However, Chad was home for the day. And dads are pretty awesome. To Nate, Chad is extremely special time. Between school and work, they haven’t spent too much time together and here it was– a Friday–and Dad was home! Chad tried to get Nate to play basketball or baseball or cars or anything while I tried to get him to eat anything. It was all to no avail. Around 2PM, Chad and I decided to scrap the trip. Well, I guess that’s all we needed to say because, without warning, Nate started eating and drinking like there was no tomorrow. Two glasses of water – down. A bag of Goldfish? Gone. With that, we threw whatever we could think of into a suitcase and headed up to Boston. During rush hour.
As part of Chad’s program at Yale, he stayed in an Omni hotel every other weekend for two years. This meant he racked up a bunch of free nights and had achieved the coveted Black Status, which means, if the room was available, we automatically get a double upgrade in any Omni hotel that we visit. They notified us in advance ofour upgraded room. Waiting for Nate when we arrived was cold milk (which he doesn’t drink) and a fresh chocolate chip cookie. For me and Chad, a bottle of pinot grigio, beer, and a cheese and fruit plate. We quickly got settled in and then Nate hopped into his stroller for his first visit to Faneuil Hall.
It was Friday night. It was about 8PM. Faneuil Hall was packed. The only place that had available seating without obnoxiously loud club music was Cheers. We couldn’t be more touristy. We ordered hot dogs for Nate’s meal and Chad and I each got a drink. A night on the town! No school! No homework! No problems! Ha ha ha. Apparently, Nate hates Cheers. I mean, no one knew his name. Or, more to the point, he wasn’t feeling 100% and the bar crowd was a bit too loud.
The hot dogs didn’t look right and they gave him french fries instead of brocolli. Nate made it pretty clear that he was ready to go before our meal was served. So Chad and I ate a really expensive tourist meal really fast, plopped Nate with an empty belly back in his stroller, and took off into Faneuil Hall’s food court to see if anything peaked his interest.
Nothing peaked Nate’s interest, not even a giant chocolate chip cookie! (He just tried to feed it to Tigey.) To boot, everything was closing! (I never understood how a major city can close so early on weekends.) We finally found a frozen yogurt shop and I got a cup of strawberry yogurt for Nate so I could mix in his melatonin. The yogurt, too, was different than our shop and Nate wanted nothing to do with it. We wound up going home with a melting cup of yogurt and a wide awake child.
Nate eventually wore himself out bouncing on his pull out bed and went to sleep way past his bedtime, which, let’s face it, is a prerequisite for vacation!
Stay tuned for Beantown: Part Two (aka Things Get Better!)