For Now, Bike Trail over the Beach
In Which We Drive to the Beach But That Is All

No Kung Fu Panda 2 For Us

Hot and fast ride

As the above photo attests, the bike trail won over the beach yesterday. The temperature was into the low 90s degrees Fahrenheit so a dip in the ocean would have been welcome, but it was not to be.

On the other hand, driving out to New Jersey horse country where the bike trail is and, later on Sunday, in central Jersey and then (even later) just across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan (you would not believe how many miles the white car has on it), we noted how light the traffic was. If everyone was elsewhere -- i.e., down the shore or en route down the shore -- better we were not on the road, sitting in traffic.

Indeed, Jim started crafting plans to go to the beach on weekdays, when the traffic will be lighter. He and Charlie both share a deep-set love of being in motion. (This post, by the way, describes some of how Jim taught Charlie to ride his bike.)

As we drove, I noted a couple of billboards with big greenish eyes tested into a fierce expression: Ads for Kung Fu Panda 2. I felt a bit wistful as that was the last movie Charlie and I saw in a theater. He got through the whole thing and then, on the way home, got sick in the car.

The movie's many video game-like scenes may have made him queasy, not to mention the very loud sound effects and the whole over-loaded sensory experience of being in a movie theater packed with children (some little ones crying -- there were some frightening moments in Kung Fu Panda the first). Charlie likes motion, but not seeing all kinds of colored images flash and pass in front of him on a movie screen; he likes to be moving himself. I've kept all this in mind and Charlie himself has not said a firm 'no' when we've driven past movie theaters. 

When he was younger, we felt that 'seeing movies in a theater' was something we had to teach Charlie to do. But doing so must have always been not simply trying for him, but just overwhelming; some adults on the autism spectrum have since said to me that being in a movie theater is just too much, with the heightened sounds, the smells, the huge screen and all. I guess Charlie has somewhat joined the trend of people who, thanks to DVDs and (for sure) iPads and Netflix and the like can just watch what he wants, when he wants, anywhere.

That would be either the back seat of the white car or home in his room for Charlie. After 20 miles over two bike rides -- nice and cool by the river around noon, hot and wearisome in our neighborhood in the later afternoon -- Charlie and Jim were in need of 'down time.' There's not the need we used to have to constantly check in on Charlie as when he was little; yesterday afternoon, I did catch a quick glimpse into his room: Charlie was relaxing, unwinding, with some jazz music ('Blues and the Abstract Truth') playing. After a few minutes, I heard another jazz musician, Sugarcane Harris.

Bike rides on a lovely verdant nature trail and listening to good music (and eating quite a bit, a given for Our Growing Boy): Not a bad way to spend a holiday weekend.

And, no traffic jams.



Mars, too, says, "no thanks" to Panda at the mall. And "No thanks" to buying a TV for our home. For comfort, he prefers laptop-size drama.

I, too, "taught" Mars to sit through movies in theaters. I would buy rolls of nickels and quarters and press coins into his palm for every minute he stayed calm. It ONLY took me and Mars 14 years to figure out big movies just aren't fun for him! Is this a common feature of Autistic experience, or just Charlie and Mars and the folks Kristina talks to?


It's time to discover scientifically how much, if anything, the past 14 years has taught families like us about the experience of Autism.


Instead of movies... which I am not a fan... I've been teaching my 9yr old about theatre. His class saw Disney on Ice earlier this winter and Fri we're taking him to see Cirque du Soleil.

He's been watching the previews on the computer. He had a blast at Disney and it's at the same place.

Kristina Chew

I don't know how Charlie might do at those shows--he might like the idea but then want to leave after a very short time! I'd love to know how your 9 year old does.

Sometimes (oftentimes) I think the researchers are on Mars or Uranus if you know what I mean!

No TV here. The iPad has become sort of a personalized media center for Charlie; a good size for him, not like some 50 inch -- or 50 foot -- screen.

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