Ahhh, the Great Minnesota Get-Together.  It  wouldn’t be summer without it.  Since C-man grew up doing this as a 4-H member it’s been a tradition for us since the kids were babies. (this is the ONLY reason he has the patience for it.  This is the man who wouldn’t wait in any lines at Disneyland but sat on a bench and waited for us to be done with the rides.  !)  It being my birthday, it was a great way to celebrate!  I knew better than to not try to stump the age guesser…I tried that years ago when we hit the fair on the day of my birth and he guessed me two years older.  ouch.

Kids LOVE the fair, of course, and Scout is no exception.  I’m impressed and amazed by this, since your typical (not that there really is a typical!) kid on the spectrum couldn’t stand the noise, commotion, and general unpredictable-ness of such a place!!  Of course he wants the entire day to be about HIM and sometimes gets a bit ruffled when the rest of us have something we want to do instead of his first choice, but I suppose any child can get that way.  The fact that it is a wonder he can enjoy such a thing was brought home to me when I met a woman there who mentioned she had 12 year old twins with autism that stayed home because they just couldn’t handle it.  (Hi Wendy!)  I felt sad for her that she couldn’t enjoy the look of joy on their faces that I get to experience with Scout as he encounters new sights and pushes himself a bit to do things that may make him uncomfortable.

Probably Scout’s favorite experience of the fair was this Bubble pen sponsored by Mr. Bubble. (I have a thing for Mr. Bubble…Scout wasn’t the only one who got a temporary tattoo of the cute little thing on his arm!)  This was new to the fair this year and oh-so-cool!  There was a bubble machine pumping out more and more bubbles as kids ran, rolled and piled bubbles all over themselves.  It was a hoot.  We warned Scout that he would be wet-wet-wet for a looong time after as we walked around the fair, but he went in anyway and never complained after.  I was very impressed by this as even I would NOT be comfortable walking around for hours in wet underwear!  Take that, Sensory Issues!!

Scout and I always hit the Butterfly House every year.  C-man could care less and V is deathly afraid of their tickle, so it’s something Scout and I have together that we love doing.  It’s so magical to have butterflies land on you like old friends.  You can have them climb onto your finger and it’s like they love being there.  I don’t know how they tame those things, but somehow they do! 🙂  I love this photo I got, Scout with a big moth on one hand and the other one having just taken flight off of his other finger.  Plus nothing brings you down to earth more than having a stranger tell you that you have a butterfly on your butt.  I’m telling you, these butterflies are friendly.

Each year the kids enter art work in the fair.  I never would have thought of this but my hubby does this himself and started the kids on it when they were quite young. (this is actually the first year my hubby got in after 10 years of trying!  wahoo!)  V did not get her painting in this year, but Sullivan’s clay polar bear box won a 2nd place ribbon!  I think entering this contest is a great lesson for the kids.  They see the value of their creations and of course feel very proud if they are recognized.  It’s also a good lesson if they’re not.  It’s so fun to go into the building and see their piece on display in the glass case!

This was the first year Scout really hit the main Midway.  He still did a few rides in the smaller ‘Kidway’, but as night fell and we headed over to the big scary rides for our teen V, Scout was ready to try a few.  One he loved so much he even went on twice.  He still won’t ever go on the scary rides–of course, 15 year old V won’t either!–and he seems to avoid anything that spins. (ironic, since spinning was a therapy he had years ago during some OT time) But he was so proud of the fact that he tried the rides he did, and he loved every minute. V even lowered herself to go on with him. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see him up there, being brave and experiencing pure joy.  Seeing he and his sister together was enough to make sappy mom cry some tears.  Lord knows I can’t do those rides anymore, sadly, but I do remember that feeling they gave me.  It was such a feeling of freedom to fly threw the air.  It was scary, exhilarating, and nothing made you feel more alive.  I looked up at my two kids smiling and knowing they were feeling that way and I just felt overwhelmed with love and gratefulness that they are a part of my life.  Seeing them fly through the air I felt how they can do anything in their lives, they are free and healthy and happy.  Nothing is more satisfying for a mom than that feeling.  All this for the price of admission to a State Fair.  Well worth it.  The Great Minnesota Get-Together indeed!