Come Trip Week though, Big A was swamped with work. He now has two jobs, and manages to juggle both but has little time to rest and relax. He was incredibly disappointed at not being able to join us, and we were just as unhappy that he was missing the trip.
It was Little A's first airplane ride in two years, and we weren't sure how he'd deal with it. At the airport's check-in queue, I was glad the Au Pair was there to keep him busy (i.e. chase him all over the the place) while I stood in line for nearly an hour. As it was a domestic flight, there was no immigration queue to get through, thankfully, and we proceeded to the departure area, where we soon discovered our flight would be delayed.
Little A kept himself occupied by watching planes through the glass windows, running up and down a non-working travelator several times and then sitting down with us for a snack (thanks to the iPad) before we boarded an hour behind schedule.
Walking down the tunnel into the plane, he was happy, but when we got to the end and he realised we would be getting into the plane, he freaked out. Crying, shouting, reaching for the door and trying to run away, we held him in and tried vainly to calm him down. He looked around, and I imagined he wondered where his dad was and why he wasn't with us. He sat crying and fussing in my lap, and we went through another bout of shouting and screaming when I put his seat belt on.
Thankfully, he calmed down after about 15 minutes, just as we were taxi-ing for takeoff. He was calm for the rest of the flight and happy to look out the window. As we landed, the lady seated in front of us told me that she had an autistic grandson very much like Little A. She was incredibly understanding, for which I was very grateful, since he had been kicking her seat for a portion of the flight.
After the hour and a half-long flight came another hour and a half's journey, in a large 4 x 4 over mostly dirt roads to the farm. It was a bumpy ride, but Little was so exhausted after the tension of the flight that he fell asleep shortly into the ride and woke up when the jolts got too much for him.
We arrived at the farm at dinnertime, and I alternated between unpacking (5mins) and trying to get him settled (about 2 hours). He wasn't interested in playing with the bigger girls in the playroom, and couldn't really explore the enormous backyard as it was dark. A swing on the porch kept him quiet, and he managed to eat a few bites of dinner before being forced into his room with some toys. After a long shower, the Au Pair managed to get him into bed. I had dinner with the adults (children ate in the kitchen and the teenagers at a separate table) and excused myself when they started to chat and drink after the meal. Once Little A was asleep, I showered and joined him in bed.
Farm adventure, up next.