Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dealing with Disappointment

I first got word via an email from Kai’s social worker at school. Then, I spoke with my wife on the phone as I was walking to catch my train after work.

Kai had had a bad day at school, and was very disappointed.

Regular readers may recall that my son’s therapeutic school uses a level system. Students are at Level 1 when they first enter the school, and progress by exhibiting good behavior. Attaining each subsequent level is harder than the previous one. When a student reaches Level 5, they may begin the process to transition back to their home school if their parents so choose.

Some students progress relatively quickly. A few of the kids who came to the school after Kai have already returned to or are starting to transition back to their home school. Kai’s progress has been slower.

It took him more than nine months to make it to Level 2, and then another 18 months to get to Level 3 where he is now. We have had a number of rocky moments since then. This summer it looked like Kai would top out at Level 3, as he had incidents nearly every day.

But this school year has gone remarkably well so far. In September, he had only one incident.

In early October, Kai’s social worker told him that if he did not have a major incident for the rest of the month, he would reach Level 4 on Halloween. Kai had one incident a couple of weeks ago that pushed that date a few weeks out. But he was still on track to make Level 4 relatively soon.

We told him that when he made Level 4, we would have a big celebration. He has been wanting to go to Legoland for a while now, and chose that as his reward for the major achievement.

It felt good that he was so confident that he could do it, as he was counting the days until we would go to Legoland.

And then yesterday happened.

His teacher had been giving out Pokémon cards to the students as a positive reinforcement. Yesterday, one student earned the privilege of opening up a new pack of cards. Kai got very upset that he was not the one to do so.

He disrupted the class and had to take a timeout. When his classmates walked past him to go to lunch, Kai tried to go after the boy who opened the pack of cards. The classroom staff intervened. And when they were escorting him out of the classroom, Kai bit one of the teachers.

In that moment, he had lost his chance at attaining Level 4 for several more weeks.

Of course I was not happy to hear that my son had bit one of this teachers. I feel bad for the teachers who work so hard and are so patient with all of the kids, but who have to endure this as part of their jobs.

But my heart also went out to Kai a little bit.

For whatever reason, he did not control his emotions. He acted out his anger. It was a very poor choice on his part, but I’ve come to realize that self-control is a lot more difficult for him than it is for most kids.

He had been doing so well in school. He had improved his behavior so much. He was motivated to earn his reward. And now he was very discouraged.

My wife told me on the phone that he was very down. He cried a lot and then wanted to just stay in bed all afternoon.

When I got home from work, he was dawdling in the bathtub. When he finally came out, he ran to his bedroom and buried himself in his bedspread. He did not want to come down for dinner.

I talked to him about the poor choice he made, but tried to be more encouraging than disparaging. He said that he did not want to go to school tomorrow. He did not want to go trick or treating.

I told him that tomorrow is a new day, and that the bad day today doesn’t mean he has to have a bad one tomorrow. But he has to make that choice.

Eventually he came down for dinner, more because of Mom’s sukiyaki than because of anything I said.

And later, at bedtime, my wife and I both tried to encourage Kai to continue to do as well as he has most of the past few months.

It will be a challenge to keep his spirits up. While positive reinforcement is very motivating to Kai, when a reward seems out of reach to him, he often gives up. I don’t want him to give up now.

Today there will be a Halloween parade at school and then the students will be dismissed after only a half day. My wife is taking Kai and my dad to a favorite hamburger restaurant for lunch. And then it will be time for tricks-or-treat.

I hope to get home from work in time for a second round of tricks-or-treat. Hopefully I will see a happy kid when I get home from work today.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Farm

After last weekend, when Kai had not cooperated with his piano teacher and we ended up cancelling our scheduled trip to the pumpkin farm, my son had been behaving pretty well all week. I was fairly confident that Kai would listen to his instructor this week and we would get to the farm.

But, you never know.

Ahead of the time when his teacher would arrive, I reminded Kai to listen to Vlad and do as he instructs. As is often the case, Kai did not respond to me, but I knew he heard what I told him.

And after Vlad arrived and started teaching, I let out a small sigh of relief when Kai mostly did what he was supposed to. Vlad taught him a new song while my dad, who I had picked up the day before to stay with us for the week, watched attentively:

And that meant we could go to the pumpkin farm.

It was a week later and 30 degrees colder than it would have been if we had gone when we originally planned, but Kai was no less happy to be there.

Our first activity was the hayride.

It felt very cold when the hayride started, but warmed a bit when the sun came out and the tractor wound its way through Scarecrow Lane in the middle of the corn field.

Kai is getting too big for most of the kiddie rides they had set up for the month, but he did quickly go through the fun house.

And then he and I did our favorite… the giant slide.

After that, we grownups wanted to go to the indoor refreshment stand to get hot apple cider and warm up. Kai had a cold apple cider slushy.

And then it was time to take our usual picture by the measuring post.

These photo shows how much Kai has grown physically since our first visit four years ago.

It is a little harder to tell from just looking at the picture the growth he has made in other ways.

But if we knew then the type of boy Kai would become in four years, I’m pretty sure we would have been overjoyed.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


The school nurse sent home a note saying that Kai had failed a vision exam. She suggested that we have him checked by an eye doctor.

The doctor confirmed that Kai needed eyeglasses, and he got his set this week.

As change is often hard for Kai, and he sometimes complains about being uncomfortable, so we wondered how he would do with wearing glasses.

It turned out that there have not been any problems at all. In fact, he loves wearing his glasses. We originally thought he could take them to school and put them on only when he felt he needed them, but he said he wanted to wear them all the time.

Here he is as he and I are playing Wii:

His teacher sent an email saying that Kai looks adorable in his new glasses. I think so, too!

Friday, October 26, 2012


After our amazing experience at the pumpkin festival the night before, we had planned to continue our Halloween-themed weekend with a visit to a nearby pumpkin farm on Sunday afternoon.

It was a bright, sunny, and warm day. We could not have asked for a nicer day for our outing.

But before we were to go, we had some things to do on Sunday morning.

After breakfast, I went to the gym for a workout. When I returned, Kai’s piano teacher had already arrived for his weekly lesson. Kai was giving him a hard time.

Vlad is the most patient man I have ever met. He always encourages Kai and never raises his voice at him, no matter how uncooperative Kai is.

My wife was trying to get Kai to listen to Vlad and do as he instructed. Kai kept moaning that he was too tired and did not want to play the piano.

I told Kai that he perhaps he was too tired to go to the pumpkin farm, too, then.

I thought that this threat would be motivating enough for Kai to finally cooperate. He had been looking forward to our annual visit to the pumpkin farm for weeks.

I went to take a shower. And when I came out, I was disappointed to find that Kai’s behavior had not improved.

Vlad had just left. And my wife had told Kai that our fun afternoon would be cancelled.

Kai was not happy.

At first he was mad. We told him it was his own action that caused this to happen.

Then, he tried to bargain. He would play the piano now and then we could still go. Too late, we said.

We told him that if he behaved well all week and then played piano nicely with his teacher next Sunday, there was still one more chance to go before Halloween. But if it was a rainy day next week, we would not go.

Well, he was mad enough that he could not go on that day, but the thought that he might not go at all made him really upset.

He alternatively ranted, pleaded, and whined.

We did not give in.

My wife got tired of hearing this and left the room.

I went away for a little while as well. When I returned, Kai kept persisting. I spoke to him calmly that he has to make good choices, and he does not always get a second chance.

After a long time, he finally calmed down. He came over to give me a hug.

We played some games. We read. And in the afternoon we drove over to a nearby forest preserve for a walk in the woods.

I was glad to get out and enjoy the beautiful afternoon. But it wasn’t the same as going to the pumpkin farm. Especially for Kai.

This Sunday, we hope to get to the farm. Kai has been very well behaved all week. I suspect that he will play piano wonderfully with his instructor.

It is expected to be 25 degrees colder than it was last weekend. But, if we go, I have a feeling it will a good time.

Here’s hoping.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Record, and I’m Not Talking About the 32,000 Pumpkins

Last Saturday evening, we went to the pumpkin festival of our neighboring community of Highwood. The highlight of the festival was their attempt at trying to break the record for most lit jack-o-lanterns at one time. Their goal was to carve and light 32,000.

This was the third time they have gone for the record, and the third time we have attended.

The first year, Kai enjoyed seeing so many carved pumpkins, but the crowd and hubbub quickly overwhelmed him and we did not stay long. Last year, we stayed longer, but still did not see more than a portion of all the pumpkins.

This year the festival and crowd seemed larger than ever. I tried to find a place to park several blocks away, but found that I had to drive away even further before I found a spot.

Once we were on the festival grounds, we were packed shoulder to shoulder in a huge crowd.

I tried to slowly weave our way through the crowd to find a more open spot. Kai clutched onto me with one hand, and to my wife with the other. But he was not upset.

We made our way back to a portion of the festival we had never been to before. We found out that the town had set up high scaffolds holding many rows of pumpkins that lined the downtown streets for a few blocks. We also saw that there were too many pumpkins to fit on the shelves, so there many placed on the ground at the base of the scaffolds.

Though we arrived after the time the jack-o-lanterns were to be lit, none were. But as we walked around, we heard the announcement for the lighting to begin.

Festival staff lit candles and climbed the scaffolds to light the pumpkins that were on display up high. Other staff handed out small candles for everyone to place inside the carved pumpkins, and longer candles for anyone who wanted to help light them.

My wife took a candle and joined in with the lighting. Kai enjoyed watching her.

My wife and I were getting a bit tired of bending over and lighting the pumpkins, and of the crowd of people. But Kai did not want to leave until all the pumpkins had been lit.

And when they were, it was quite a sight!

I never heard whether the town broke the record they were seeking. After all, how do you count all those pumpkins? But, I do know that our son broke the record for tolerance in a huge throng of people. And more than seeing 32,000 pumpkins, that was the highlight of the evening for me.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy B-Day!

Today is my wife’s birthday.

My son had had lobster for the first time earlier in the year, on Mother’s Day. This boy, who once was such a picky eater, surprised me when he was willing to try it then. And once he did, he loved it. I told him that lobster is very expensive and we would have it only on special occasions. And so, from a few weeks ago, Kai has been reminding me that Mom’s birthday is coming up and that maybe we should get lobster.

I was planning that we would celebrate her birthday this weekend, but Kai really wanted to have lobster and did not want to wait another week. So, we ended up celebrating Mom’s birthday last weekend.

While my wife was busy tutoring and then going to the beauty shop, Kai and I spent much of the day working on the birthday celebration. First, we went to place where kids could paint pottery.

Kai loves going there. The first time I went there with him, he had me write down the names and corresponding numbers of each of the nearly hundred colors they had. This time he did not obsess over the colors/numbers, and went right to work on coloring a bowl.

After that we went to a local seafood market. I had plan on getting lobster tails, but Kai asked the attendant if they had whole lobsters. I was not planning on getting whole lobsters – we don’t even have pots big enough to steam them. And they are more expensive than tails. But Kai really had his heart set on them, and it was a special occasion, so I relented.

We had to make one more stop, to get a gluten-free cake mix, frosting, and candles. And then we went back home to work on the next steps.

Kai cracked the eggs and I mixed everything together for the cake mix. And then while it was baking, Kai checked every 5 minutes to see if the lobsters were defrosting. Playing with whole lobsters was definitely more fun than just getting tails.

When the cake was done and cooled off, I put on the frosting and Kai decorated it. It didn’t look as slick as a store-bought cake, but I think the sincerity really showed.

When my wife returned home, we heated the lobsters in the oven.

Eating whole lobsters takes a lot of work. And I totally forgot to take pictures as I was busy helping Kai shell his.

But we all enjoyed it.

Afterward, we brought out the cake and sang happy birthday.

I hope all of my wife’s wishes come true.

Happy birthday, honey!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Carving Jack O’Lanterns

Rain washed out our outdoor activities this weekend. So we had to audible.

On Saturday, we picked up a couple pumpkins to carve into jack o’lanterns.

Last year, when we were on our camping trip, we saw the intricately carved pumpkins of several other campers. From talking with them, we learned that you could buy templates with fancy designs, as well as special tools to help carve them.

We tried a couple of the more simple designs last year, but Kai wanted to move on to “level 2” designs this year. And so the early start on carving a couple pumpkins.

If we left if up to him, we would be carving about ten pumpkins. But, two seems enough to me. Of course, with more than two weeks yet to go until Halloween, we may be carving a few more yet.

Kai was excited to work on the first pumpkin. After I cut open the bottom of the pumpkin, he dug his hand in to take out the seeds and all the innards. Some kids may not like touching all that slimy stuff, but I think its Kai’s favorite part of the whole process.

Once the inside was cleaned out, I worked on tracing out the pattern and then cutting it out.

Can you tell what it is? (It looks better when it is lit up inside.)

My wife then sculpted out the lettering on the other side.

Today, we worked on the other pumpkin. This time it was my wife’s turn to cut out the design.

Kai wasn’t as excited about it as he was yesterday with the first one. This time he cleaned out the inside of the pumpkin, but then was disinterested until Mom had finished carving.

But when all was said and done, he was happy with the results. And, I must say, in the dark, with only the insides lit, they really capture the spirit, don’t you think?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fall Day Means Another Bonding Experience

After our busy Saturday, we stayed close to home on Sunday. Though it wasn’t all that much less busy of a day.

Kai has wanted to put up Halloween decorations for about a month now. This past weekend, we finally granted him his wish. He and my wife went at it in the morning.

Later, it was time to rake leaves for the first time this season.

When Kai was younger, he got really excited whenever I did the fall yardwork. He would follow me around as I blew the leaves, and then gleefully jump into pile when I was all done. It was one of our early father-and-son bonding experiences, and I still recall how he would laugh when I jumped in the pile with him. Here is a photo from five years ago:

By last year, he did not get quite as excited. After the first few times last fall, he did not always even come outside when I was doing the yardwork.

But on this first occasion for this year, he was excited to join in. He playfully ran around as I blew the leaves into the pile. And then he happily jumped in. This time, he laid down right in the middle, enjoying the sensory experience as he does when he rolls around in the sand whenever we go to the beach.

Soon after, he wanted to go back inside, and wanted me to come, too. I told him that I would after I bagged up all the leaves.

I asked if he would help. And he did. By help, I mean, of course, that he would throw the leaves around and maybe half would end up in the bag.

But it was nice that he wanted to help. Our father-and-son bonding is taking a slightly different form.

All too soon, he will be grown up. I am going to enjoy these experiences while they last.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Noting Progress on a Fall Day

Saturday morning I drove Kai to his first ice skating class of the season. When we got out of the car, I noticed that one of the tires was a bit low.

Kai did very well in his class. His skating really improved last year and he picked right up where he left off. But more than that, I was glad to see that he was very happy to be back on the ice and skated with enthusiasm.

When class was over, it was time for our weekly trip to the library. But on the way, I wanted to stop at a gas station and fill the one tire with air.

The first two stations I went to did not have a working air pump. And when I finally found one that did, the tire was very low. I filled it with as much air as I could, and then decided to see if I could make it to a tire shop without having to change the tire.

Kai was not happy with the sudden change in plans. He really wanted to go to the library.

But his reaction was so much milder than we have seen in the past under similar circumstances.

I tried to call my wife to meet us at the shop and to pick us up. I did not want to wait there for long, fearing Kai would explode with impatience.

Unfortunately, my cell phone wasn’t working right, and I could not make that call until we had already arrived at the tire shop. We would have to wait there for a while.

Kai enjoyed looking at all the tires on display, particularly taking in the numbers that rated performance for each on things like traction and comfort, as well as the expected mileage. He was in remarkably good spirits.

By the time my wife got there, we knew that our tire had a nail in it and would need to be replaced. And, in fact, all four tires were worn and ought to be replaced anyway.

My wife’s car was also due for the tires to be changed. With Kai being so well behaved, we decided to have them take a look at her car as well, and ended up deciding to go ahead and replace them on the spot.

The shop worked quickly. But we still waited nearly an hour all together. And Kai never made a fuss.

Once one car was ready to go, we drove up to Wisconsin. The library would have to wait until the next day as Kai was looking forward to trying a new miniature golf course that he and my wife had seen on his last doctor’s visit.

But first, it was time for lunch at the Brat Stop, where the specialty is brats, of course. Kai enjoyed his, and then waited nicely while my wife and I finished eating. This is still a work in process, but we definitely don’t feel quite as rushed over meals as we used to.

And then it was on to the mini golf course.

It was a chilly day, and we were very glad we had gone camping last weekend instead of this.

The course was a wild west theme.

There was a canyon.

And a mining cart.

We were having a nice time.

Until about the seventh hole.

With the chilly weather, it was not crowded. But at the sixth or seventh hole, there was a stackup of people and we had to wait. It turns out that there were a group of six adults that were three groups ahead of us.

Kai found a sign that said that groups should have no more than four players. He grumbled a bit that the group was not playing by the rules.

But overall, he maintained his patience quite well. Much better than me, actually.

It was bad enough that the group had too many players, but they really took their time while playing. Seeing so many groups waiting behind them, they could have tried to play faster, or let the others go ahead of them so they could maintain their leisurely pace. But they did not, so we all had to wait at every hole.

One of the other groups ahead of us left, not being able to wait any longer. Another group skipped a couple holes to jump ahead. I knew Kai would want to play every hole in order so we waited it out.

My impatience with the six adults was surpassed by my pleasure at seeing Kai behave so well.

When we finished our round, we had to hustle to get back home as Kai had a soccer game later in the afternoon.

When Kai started playing soccer two years ago, he rarely went after the ball. I had to constantly encourage him to run and try to kick the ball, and often he just got frustrated and wanted to quit instead.

But now, he played with verve. He ran up and down the field. He went after the ball and tried to score. And he was constantly chatting and laughing.

And even when another boy got frustrated and pushed Kai, he maintained his positive disposition.

Other parents noticed.

Several commented to me how well Kai was doing.

I don’t think they were just being polite or encouraging. I, too, saw how much he had changed from before.

During this one day, we had witnessed so many things where Kai showed so much improvement.

Gotta love it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall Camping – More Hiking? and Other Fun

After our pleasant hike-turned-debacle Saturday morning, we returned to our campsite to rest and recover.

We enjoyed a late lunch – hamburgers cooked over our campfire.

Then we headed out to Boggio’s Orchard. Going to Boggio’s has become part of our fall camping tradition. Usually they have pick-your-own apples, but this year’s unusually warm early spring weather wiped out most of their crop when the apple blossoms that came out extra early were later hit with a frost.

But picking apples is really the least of the reasons why we go there. Kai loves going down the big slide down from the “apple tree.”

And he most especially likes going in their corn pit and burying himself in the huge pile of kernels. It is a sensory delight!

Finally, he looked forward to topping off our visit with a taffy apple and apple cider. Yum!

Our evening back at camp was mostly very pleasant. We grilled chicken for dinner, made s’mores for dessert, and played games in the tent.

The only blemish came when the three of us arrived back at our tent after going to the bathroom. The young men and women at a neighboring campsite were very loud, and worse yet, using extremely vulgar language.

I immediately went over there. I politely told them that I had an eight-year old child, and asked them if they would watch their language. Fortunately, they did not give me a hard time. They immediately apologized and seemed very sheepish about their behavior. We barely heard a peep from them the rest of the night.

And that was good because after our extra-long walk that morning, we really were tired and wanted to get a good night’s sleep.

We slept pretty well that night, and even slept in the next morning, not getting out of the tent until it was quite light out.

Over breakfast, I gave Kai the schedule for the day. We would finish breakfast, take down the tent and pack up, and then do more hiking before heading home.

With mention of more hiking, Kai stopped eating. He balked at the notion of returning to Mathiessen State Park. Our bad experience getting lost the previous day had soured him on the idea of ever hiking there again.

My wife and I explained that we would go to a different part of the park, and that we would pay close attention to the trail so we would not get lost.

That did not appease him.

“Lets’s go hiking at Starved Rock instead.” Kai wanted to go where we had been to the previous two years, a place where we had not gotten lost and where he was very comfortable.

It was a reasonable request. And I knew it would be easier to agree to that. But I never seem to take the easier approach when it comes to parenting.

I insisted to Kai that we would hike at Mathiessen.

I never like to leave things on a sour note. I believe in the old “get back on the horse that kicked you off” philosophy. I felt that if we did not go back to Mathiessen that morning, it would send the wrong message to Kai – that the place was inherently bad and that we had not learned from our mistakes.

But Kai kept saying that he did not want to go there.

“I’ll go to Starved Rock by myself! Okay?!”

I tried to stay calm and reason with him.

But after a long back-and-forth tussle, I resorted to a threat. He was due to get a booster pack of Pokémon cards for his good behavior at school last month. We would stop at a store to get them on our way home, but if he did not go hiking with us, I told him that I might not want to do that.

I hate having to resort to threats to get him to do something, but too often it seems like the only way to get him to cooperate.

After much consideration, he reluctantly agreed to hike at Mathiessen.

So we drove there, only this time to a different part of the park, a place called the Dells Region for its canyons.

This time, we carefully looked at the map before embarking on our hike. Though we quickly found out that there was no way we would get lost here. The trail is more clearly marked, and the natural landmarks are such that there is no room for confusion as to which way to go.

And we found out that this area is even more gorgeous than where we were the day before.

Kai was a very happy boy as we made our way through the canyons…

And stepped across the mostly dry bed of the stream…

And tightroped across a fallen tree with Mom…

And climbed up onto a ledge…

Yes, walking through this beautiful place, all of Kai’s anger and fears from the previous day’s hike had dissipated.

We had found serenity, in more ways than one.

This time, we easily found our way back to our car. There was still time to do more hiking. There was one more area of the park we would like to see.

But we thought we would leave that for next year. We wanted to end on a high note.
And now Kai can’t wait to go back there again.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Camping – LOST

We went on our annual fall camping trip this weekend.

My wife and Kai picked me up after work on Friday and we drove about two hours southwest of the city. We had been to the area the past two autumns, and it is our favorite place to go camping.

This was the first time that we arrived after dark. It was a bit of a challenge getting the tent up in the dark with only our lanterns to light up the area, but we were able to get everything set up, start our campfire, cook dinner, and roast marshmallows.

Kai had been excited with anticipation over our trip all last week, and when my wife picked him up after school on Friday, his teachers at school reported that he was particularly happy.

And though he was quite excited at the campground, he actually slept pretty well that night. I think he just always is more relaxed when he is in the same tent with Mom and Dad, and that helps him to sleep. My wife and I, on the other hand, had trouble adjusting to sleeping in a tent.

But, the next morning, we got up as soon as it started to get light out and Kai helped me start the campfire and get breakfast ready. He was bothered by the smoke, but was happy after he put on his swimming goggles (that we brought for use in the shower as he mostly takes baths at home and does not like to get water in his eyes).

After breakfast, it was time to go hiking.

On our past visits to the area, we have always gone hiking at Starved Rock State Park. It is beautiful there, but we have covered most of the trails there so we wanted to try a new spot. So, we drove over to nearby Mathiessen State Park, which is only a few miles away from Starved Rock.

Many people in the Chicago area are familiar with Starved Rock, and it is a very popular weekend destination. In fact, the worst part of going there are the crowds on the roads, in the parking lot, and on the trails. By contrast, there was hardly anyone at Mathiessen as we started hiking that Saturday morning.

We enjoyed our walk through the serene woods.

The trail we took that led to the Vermilion River. The water level was much lower than it would be in the spring, so we were able to walk along the riverbed.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that some trees were already turning colors.

But our most pleasant surprise was that Kai willingly and eagerly walked with us without complaining. In the past, we found that he often would vociferously complain about how tired he was after just a short distance, taking the fun out of our hikes. This time he actually seemed to enjoy the hike as much as we did.

He enthusiastically commented on how far he thought we had walked. “We’ve gone 3.7 miles!”

Everything was going so well.

Until we got lost.

We were trying to make our way back to the parking lot. On our way to the river, we had not paid close enough attention to landmarks. Now, trying to get back to the parking lot, we found several spots where there are forks in the trail, and we were often unsure of which way to go. On one of the forks, we had gone in the wrong direction.

When we did not return to the parking lot in the amount of time it should have taken, we knew we had gone the wrong way. But rather than turn back, I was confident that we would circle back to the parking lot a different way if we kept going.

Kai kept counting the distance. “That’s 5 miles!” Except now his voice wasn’t so chipper.

At one spot, we found a trail map. But the colors on the map had faded and all the markings looked the same. It was difficult to discern which way we needed to go. We picked a direction and kept walking.

After an additional hour of walking, Kai started to panic.

“We’re never getting out of here! Call the police RIGHT NOW!”

My wife and I tried to talk to him calmly. We will find our way out, we told him. There is no need to call the police until it gets dark, and it is still only 11 AM.

The park is really not that big. I figured that it would only be a matter of time before we found our way. But as we kept walking, I was getting more tired and started wondering just how long it would take.

After awhile longer, we finally ran into some other people on the trail. They had just started their hike so we asked them if they could point us in the direction of the parking lot. Unfortunately, one person said to go one way, while the other said she thought we needed to go a different way.

Hearing their confusion, Kai started yelling. “THIS IS THE WORST HIKE EVER! I’M NEVER GOING HIKING HERE AGAIN!!!”

Eventually we came back to a spot we knew we had been to before, and then we took a different fork and finally came back to the parking lot. It had been about two hours of walking from the time we realized we had taken the wrong turn. Kai estimated that we had walked 10 miles altogether. I think that is probably pretty close.

My wife and I were relieved to finally get back to the car. Kai was still angry.

I was disappointed with myself that we had spoiled Kai’s great attitude by getting lost. We would have to try to undo the damage so he would not be turned off from hiking again.

The first step – getting a cold, refreshing treat!

Kai’s mood improved as he enjoyed his blue raspberry sorbet.

But, he still grumbled that he did not want to go back to Mathiessen ever again. We were planning to go back there the next day to explore a different area. I could see that was going to be a challenge.

Tomorrow: More hiking? And, the rest of our camping trip

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...