One of our tadpole friends died yesterday, just short of seven weeks after coming to live with us. All things considered, he lasted longer than I expected. He might have been doomed from the start, with his abnormally large head and lethargic way. Things started to really go south about ten days ago. When we went to change the water, Sky exclaimed: "Look, Mom! One of them is doing stunts. He can even swim upside down." It took me a minute to realize that an upside down tadpole is usually a dead tadpole. Turns out we were both right. The tadpole was swimming upside down, but he was also slowly dying. We did everything we could, but in the end, the day after another water change, our tadpole went belly up for good.
Sky handled it pretty well actually. That is, until I asked Ren to help put the tadpole to rest. His solution: throw the dead tadpole into the brush. Note to self: the next time I give Ren the important task of helping one of our children process the death of a beloved (okay, maybe not quite beloved, but still...) pet, explicitly remind him not to just hurl it into the bushes. By the time I got there, Sky stood staring distractedly in the direction Ren had tossed his pet. I did what I could. I offered a prayer for the deceased and told Sky it wasn't his fault and that he'd done an awesome job taking care of the tadpoles. I also made Ren promise to give the tadpole a proper burial. Which he did. As soon as he recovered it from the brush. Which took awhile. Which kinda served him right.
In other news, we made our first visit to a major amusement park since receiving Sky's diagnosis. And it went very well. With an ASD diagnosis, Sky could get a pass which allowed him to jump to the front of the line. I can't tell you what a difference this made. All previous trips to amusement parks have included at least one (and usually way more than one) major meltdown. Not waiting in line = much less anxiety. Much less anxiety = a better time for everyone. Sure, some folks glared at us (after all, he doesn't look autistic), but I decided to ignore them and enjoy the fun the kids were having. We pay the price of Sky's ASD every single day, so if any of the glarers had had the guts to complain out loud, I would have gladly offered to trade life with a kid on the spectrum for a day of line jumping.
At some point during that hot day of roller coaster riding, it struck me that we're still only 18 months post-diagnosis. Our lives have changed considerably since embarking on the journey to manage (and hopefully eventually overcome) Sky's ASD. We've learned a lot, but we have a long way to go. It has been an 18 months brimming with transitions and challenges. We welcomed a new baby. We learned about Pink P's asthma. And Sky's heart murmur. And Stow's hydronephrosis. And Ren's back. We moved. We finished and defended a dissertation. We applied for and interviewed for, numerous jobs before eventually landing where we started. We had back surgery. We went to an amusement park.
And killed a tadpole.
And I'd say that's about par for the course.