This Way and That Way

September 6, 2016

We drove to New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. we spent four nights out of the house.  Huge improvement comparing to the two night long trip to New Hampshire in July. During the second evening of that excursion, Robert kept repeating, “Home, home, home.”  We were too tired to drive, so we stayed despite Robert insistence on return.  Around 11 PM, Robert finally fell asleep with words “Home, home, home.”  on his lips. His persistence drained our energy so the following morning instead of going to Lincoln Woods, as we had planned, we aimed for home.

Nothing similar happen during our Washington trip.  Robert was mostly happy in Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, in the Flight and Space Museum.  He liked (with the exception of a few minutes long confusion) our evening walks toward White House or around Washington Memorial.  He seemed as flexible as he used to be during our longer trips to, from, and across California.

Most importantly, he didn’t mind that we separated.  He went with his dad to the Flight and Space Museum while Amanda and I visited National Gallery.  The trick was to just tell him ahead of time of that plan. Then he didn’t mind separating.  This leads me to the conclusion that when we don’t explain him what is going to happen, Robert might consider any separation to be an equivalent of loosing members of his family (or his group)  and thus reacts with increased anxiety.

Just the previous day, we didn’t do that.  Amanda and I decided to take a different path to the hotel so we could stop at CVS on the way. We mentioned that to Robert but in a way that he couldn’t really process. It was the last-minute decision made hastily in the middle of the path. Moreover, we hesitated.  Our hesitation became a clear indication that something was wrong.  So he took his dad’s hand and continued on 16th Street while Amanda and I already aimed for 15th.   Then he stopped and screamed again noticing that Amanda and I don’t follow them.  On one hand, he   felt the compulsion to follow the same path we took on the way to White House just backwards, on the other, he wanted  us to stay together. Dilemma. Robert hates dilemmas.  He hates being confused as the confusion is the indication that something is definitely wrong with the world. Robert didn’t know  didn’t know He took a few steps one way and a few steps the other way.  He stopped.  He screamed some more.  He pulled his dad along 16th Street only to stop again and turn back to join Amanda and me.

As soon, however, as he made that decision, his anxiety evaporated and calmly if not happily he walked with us all the way  to the hotel.

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