THE NOT SO GREAT WOLF LODGE
So many things to do here at the Great Wolf but we spent the weekend in 4 inches of water!
On the left is Scott and Maddox hanging together in the baby pool.
Our first stop was Meijers for bulk gummy bears and snacks for the hotel room. My excitement for the trip was building. I love hotels, pools, and room service. I especially love that I simply can’t pace the hotel room looking for something to clean, straighten up, organize. There is nothing to do there except enjoy each others company - something that seems to get lost in the shuffle these days at home.
The rest of our friends showed up and within minutes clothes were being thrown everywhere and swimming suits were being put on. Off to the great water park we go. Yea...Off to the great water park we go.
My nerves are start brewing, my stomach starts cramping just as it always does before we enter a large room of people. I hold Scott’s hand a little tighter, he gives me the, “It’s going to be ok“ nod.
I can’t help but wonder who will know, who will stare, who will say something, who will have no idea. In a room of a thousand people, will Maddox be the only one with Down Syndrome? What if there is someone else who has Down Syndrome, do I smile and acknowledge the fact that we are automatically associated by disability?
You see now why I like to hide out at home these days? My mind doesn’t stop even when we are on vacation.
Needless to say, we walked in and my ultimate fear became reality.
Right in front of me in the baby pool was a mom and her child with Down Syndrome. It goes downhill from here. I can’t help but watch and observe, to the point I would get kicked underwater by Scott and told to stop staring.
I was comparing.
How old was she, how big does she splashe, does she crawl, how does she do drinking from a bottle, can she stand up in the water, does she have any words yet, is she their first child, are there any siblings, what do the siblings think of her, how did mom and dad react when they found out, does she have any heart problems, does she wear glasses, is there a gap in between her big toe, does she have a single palmar crease on both hands, my pondering list of questions go on and on.
Vacation was supposed to be a vacation from this mental stress but I am starting to realize that it never really goes away.
While I can’t take my eyes off this family I realize I am faced with a decision. Do I go introduce myself and pretend I am cool with being an automatic member of the down syndrome ‘club’ or do carry on like this is no big deal? Well, I did a combination. I did the sympathetic - I know what you are feeling because I feel it too - smile and moved on.
This trip had been in the makings for a year. I was unsure if I was even going to be able to handle going and watching all the “normal” kids so I made sure to plan this nerve-wracking first adventure with people I love and trust whom I knew would help and support us.
Anyhow, since my dreaded down syndrome fears all came true so there was only one thing left to do...Enjoy my vacation.
Only, it was not so fun. We spent the entire weekend in 4 inches of cold water. Maddox tolerated the baby pool for about 20 minutes and then her hands and feet turned blue. I think it was a down syndrome circulation thing, yes another reason I was a wee bit bitter at ‘our’ situation. All the other little babies had no problem playing and splashing for hours on end. We did not have anyone available to watch Maddox while Scott and I went down the water slides even once. We could not climb on the big water structure thingy because Maddox cried when the cold splashes hit her face. We tried to play in the arcade but forgot a stroller for Maddox and our favorite two player games had to wait. Yeah, we were striking out. I went to plan B.
That night we went to story time at the Great Wolf. I did not think Maddox would care about the talking bears and owls but she was interested. We sat about 25 feet away and when the talking animals would make a funny sound she would turn her head and look. I was excited out this.
The next day it was snowy and cold outside, the perfect weather to stay put in a hotel room with a Jacuzzi tub and gas fireplace. We ate breakfast at the hotel, Maddox ate her first full adult meal! Pancakes, eggs, yogurt, muffins, and cherry bread pudding. She was one happy girl!
The next morning we packed up and headed out...in bad weather. The roads were snowy and icy, much different on the west side of the state than the east side. We made it home safe and sound and then the worst part of vacationing began.....UNPACKING
Needless to say, I think we are going to wait a long time before heading there again and my great wolf was happy to be home.
See below...This is Scott’s nonverbal look for:
“Okay Jamie, I have been in here with these screaming kids long enough, please can I be done.”