Sunday, May 27, 2012

This week the kids and I went with my mother to Maker Faire in San Mateo. I had originally planned on skipping the fair this year because finances have been a little tough but I realized that this is the event Z waits for all year. He subscribes to MAKE magazine, who put on the fair, and spends most of the year discussing its contents with whomever is within earshot. During the rest of the year we spend time looking for experiences that try to simulate the fair. I was obviously going to have to figure out a way to get us down there and make whatever necessary sacrifices.

It worked out in the end, as it usually does. Z had a great time and even found time for a lengthy soldering lesson while his sister napped. He found a lot of people to talk at about his theories but the great thing about the people at Maker Fair is that they actually listened and came back at him with theories of their own. It's always a good reminder that just because Z has trouble finding people to relate to around him, it doesn't mean there aren't like-minded souls wandering the Earth. And they're all really intelligent, creative people whom have been searching for people to talk to also.

Last year around the time of the fair Z was having trouble running and wandering off. I had been concerned about losing him in the large crowd at Maker Fair so Z and I had agreed that we would tie a piece of yarn to each of our wrists so that he couldn't wander too far. Although he went into the arrangement amicably he had quickly become irritated by not being able to wander to whatever he found interesting and had broken the piece of yarn and run away. With the baby strapped to my back in a carrier I had had to chase after him and try to get him to stay still. Security had to be called. It was the biggest and most severe public episode of Z's life.

This year not only did I not have to try to bind Z to me, I didn't really have to nag him about staying close. There was one incident where I lost him for a minute in the crowd because he wandered ahead to look at something but after a reminder and a warning about staying where he could see me, he was very conscientious about paying attention to where the rest of us were and coming back in our direction if needed. It's a vast and much needed accomplishment in getting Z towards being able to live a fun and fulfilled life.

Z had a great time, though I do always wish I could go to the fair just him and me so that he would have the time to really explore all of the myriad of things that catch his attention. His sister was extremely patient but no two year old wants to be spend three hours watching her brother bent over some wires or sitting at a computer. Luckily my mother was with us to stay with Z while I walked Az around but I know Z wanted to spend a lot more time at each exhibit.

The only bummer of the day was that at some point Z lost his camera. I was enjoying having someone else in the family to document our daily events and was looking forward to having access to his water-proof camera for beach trips this summer. I think I'm going to have to start working on convincing him to save his money for a new camera.

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