Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympic Guilt.

This tea time, as I was watching the build up to the Olympics Opening Ceremony, Sasha surprised me by noticing the 5 Olympic rings on the TV. She stated the colours and then nodded when I explained it was for the Olympics.

Of course she would know that, they've been taught about it in school. The thing is, Sasha doesn't necessarily take everything in that she's told, as she rarely stops long enough to listen or show an interest. If it isn't about numbers or counting from 1 to 10 in Spanish, it's not high on her list of activities.

After I mentioned the Olympics, she immediately asked if she could go. I said probably not as she wouldn't enjoy it, and she asked if it was for grown-ups only. At that point I had to admit no, it was for big girls too - without actually directly mentioning Tamsin would be going. She insisted she was a big girl, so she could go.

And therein lies today's problem and pang of guilt. 

Back when tickets were released, we did apply for (and get, although only in the second ballot) two lots of four tickets for some events. We hoped to go as a family, but didn't really give it much thought in the intense excitement of applying for tickets.

As the time has grown closer though, we've passed by other events such as the Jubilee - street parties, flotilla, Olympic torch viewing etc - and realised that they're not really Sasha's 'bag'. I vetoed the idea then of taking her into London where there would be thousands of others crushed together, on the streets and on public transport, where she would have to wait around, walk some distance and not get to see very much. Even when I took her to an all-girls' birthday party recently, she couldn't step inside the party room whilst the other girls who she knew were running around laughing and shouting - all too much noise for her.

So it was with some certainty that I finally decided a few weeks ago that there was no point in taking Sasha to an Olympic event. Even if she could cope with all the 'palaver' of actually getting to the venues, it was highly unlikely that she would be happy to sit still and watch what was going on when she didn't really understand it (and no-one was counting in Spanish to her). I gave her 5 minutes tops before she would have wanted to leave the stadium. 

We exchanged our 4 synchro tickets for two lots of two tickets, for gymnastics and diving, so that Chris and I could each take Tamsin to an Olympic event. We held on to the four athletics tickets, still thinking it was the chance of a lifetime, and trying to decide what to do for the best. I think we were putting off the inevitable, rather than hoping for a miracle improvement.

Just last week though, we decided to sell two of them. Sasha not going to the athletics means me not going to the Olympic park at all, and on a selfish front I am slightly sad about that of course. On the flipside, I'm glad Tamsin will now get to experience the event with Chris and one of her school friends and her mum - I'm sure they will talk about it in years to come.

But was it the right decision?

Maybe other parents will think I'm crazy for not letting Sasha have this experience. Was it worth the try? I know Sasha better than anyone, and so I am 99.9% sure it wasn't, but that doesn't stop me from feeling bad about it. Will she realise she has missed out? Maybe. But somehow I don't think my angel will hold a grudge.


  1. No guilt. You made the right decision. You are looking at it through her eyes - and seeing if she would enjoy it. And you know she would not. It is not worth taking her and having her suffer and you other daughter not enjoying it. Just because we think our kids should do these things - like Disney - it doesn't mean that they want to. The best parents think about what it would mean to and for the child. That's what you are doing. Enjoy the Olympics and let both girls enjoy what makes them happy in their own ways.

    1. Thanks Eileen, you definitely helped me feel better. You're right of course. She sadly doesn't really know what would be good for her or not, which makes it harder - but then I guess most 5 year olds are the same about that, ASD or not!

  2. I hate those types of decisions we've been caught out by this on several occasions either because we've made a choice not to do something because we think b won't like it & then he gets upset when he realises he might have missed out. & then at other times when we decided b might b upset if we didn't & then he doesn't like

    You might be able to do a compromise. It might still be possible to get tickets just for the park. We are are thinking of this as an option. You'd still have the transport issues but you would get to the park & sasha wld go to the Olympics. Also from what I have read there are some quiet. Areas in the park & you wouldnt be restricted to sitting still or concentrating on one thing & could leave when you've had enough

    Just an idea as we are thinking about it. Good luck & I'm sure that you will make the best decision you can.

    1. Great idea, I'm off to look into park tickets now! The only sad thing about that is that I know she won't actually realise she's missed out on the 'main event' as it were, so I will feel like I've cheated her a bit. Was a bit sad today seeing whole families at the event too - but then again, there are many more families who won't even get to be there at all, so I can't be too sad, realise I am v lucky x

  3. Oh gosh Steph, that is such a tough one. You do know your daughter best though so ultimately you have in all likelihood made the right choice. My guy is 12 and at this stage well able for anything but still, every year, I baulk at the idea of braving Dublin city centre for the St Patrick's Day parade. He has NEVER been in to see it and I worry that it's something he's missing out on. But like you say, no point if we have to leave after 5 minutes!

    Maybe violetsdiary's suggestion would work? You could do a big social story for the traveling part?

    Good luck whatever you decide to do :-)

    xx Jazzy

    1. great, thanks Jazzy. think going to see 'it' (i.e. the venue)rather than paying hundreds for a ticket is great idea! Am pretty sure I'll not be taking Sasha to a big parade like the one you mentioned any time soon... but then again, I am considering Disney Florida - am I crazy or what?! Got to see if I can get her on the plane to Spain this summer first (although she has been flying twice before, she is adamant she is not going again :( !)

    2. Bless you, it definitely sounds like the right thing to do but I totally understand the guilt. It's what we do best. Maybe you can make your own Olympics when your OH is away w/ Tamsin? Congrats on getting tickets tho, that's fab!

    3. I know, we were lucky to get any - didn't get anything in the first round so almost didn't bother trying in round 2!

  4. Steph, all too often we do things for our son without fully considering his capabilities. And then we regret it. You, on the other hand, gave this a lot of thought, and came to a decision that you know in your heart is the right one. Super kudos to you for putting your daughter ahead of yourself here! (And ultimately, it was better for all of you).

    I'm glad that you, Chris, and Tamsin will each get to experience a part of the Olympics live. I'll be thinking of you as we watch on TV here.

    1. Ah Yuji, but I know so many others who would say we should try things as we never know.... I hink there's a happy medium there somewhere, I'm just pretty sure it wasn't the olympics!!
      Happy watchng - sure Team USA will be doing a fab job :-)


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