LEGOLAND Weekend | Kiddo turned 6! ♥

by - 6:34:00 PM

Last November, we went to LEGOLAND to spend kiddo's birthday. It has been something on his mind for quite some time. He has seen all the Youtube videos, all the billboard ads on the highways and even pictures in leaflets handed out in malls or such. With autism, you never really know what to expect. We try to prepare him, plan ahead as much as we can. Organize, plan and then go for it.
As parents - mostly my husband - we try to push our little man to do things, to experience everything even if there was a possibility of some public display of tantrums happening or sticky situations we needed to take care of (also in public). We have learned to manage it and divert his attention at a faster speed. You need to be witty, quick and most importantly comforting and calm. You want your little one to sense positive vibes, nothing else.
That takes a generous amount of focus and unconditional love and everything!

Although kiddo may not know dates or the notion of days, months and years, I had to come up with a way to explain to him that the 25th November was his birthday and that we were going to spend it at Legoland. I wanted him to feel the excitement of waiting, waiting for something he truly likes!
So I figured out a way. I decided to enter the below on his iPad's calendar, under 25th November 2016:

We actually typed and saved it on his calendar almost 10 days before.
Every day he would open the calendar, point at 25 November and read it. We would tell him for example: "Today we are 21. On 25...." and we read on. We were so happy to see that he understood our little trick. It was only in the course of this year that Ahmad became more verbal, more expressive and more aware of his surrounding. His progress blows our mind!
From the age of 2, he has been super sensitive towards birthdays and anything related to them. We spent his 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th birthday in agony! As parents, it is devastating to see that a common birthday get-together, or a birthday cake or even a balloon could cause so much pain and frustration to a toddler.

On his 3rd birthday onward, we decided to do things he liked. We skipped the traditional cake, music and birthday games, and simply spent it as a trio at his favorite play area. My husband even went the extra mile and planned a family escape to Istanbul in November 2013 and November 2014. We were so thrilled the first time that we went again the next year.
Ahmad loves traveling! He is fascinated by planes, trains, anything that goes. I remember I even researched Transport museums in Istanbul and we did take him there. We found a museum called Rahmi M. Koç Museum; it is a private industrial museum in Istanbul, dedicated to the history of transport, industry and communications.
From old cars to WWII planes, steam engines and trains, kiddo's eyes lit up!
Unconventional way to spend a birthday maybe, but as long as he is happy - that's all that really matters.

Now that he turned 6, my husband wanted to test the waters and brought "Thomas the Train" (his favorite!) balloons to the house and a huge blue number "6" balloon. We wanted to see his tolerance towards birthdays.  He took it very well. Saying and seeing the word "birthday" in front of him was no longer an issue! My husband and I were thrilled.
It is the smallest things that make a difference in the quality of our kiddo's life and well-being.

We get all excited over the tiniest milestones, ones that don't always line up with any 'normal' kid's development and growth.
My husband also got Ahmad a pin that says "I am 6". We had spent all year working on speech and learning basic answers to "How are you?" and "How old are you?".
It was now time to replace "5" by "6". And that was almost automatic! We were truly surprised.

This year, we really celebrate! "LET'S GO OUT TO LEGOLAAAAND!" he says with so much joy

The car trip was filled with anticipation! Music is on, balloons in the back, me with my giant pink sunglasses. Snapchat, instagram and taking selfies, that's how we roll.
Ahmad was jumping and excited. He knew exactly where we were going...

As we arrive to Dubai Parks and Resorts parking lot, Ahmad's signature "WA-OUW" with amazement is the best and funniest silence breaker. We are finally here!
We see the buses lining up. Dubai Parks and Resorts is the region's largest integrated theme park resort comprising three theme parks and one water park. One of the parks included is LEGOLAND® Park. Because it is such a large complex, you need to get on a bus to reach the desired zone.
Upon arrival, we picked up our pre-reserved tickets (a gift from my family), then we received Legoland "Happy Birthday" stickers and to top it all off, the team there starting singing for Ahmad! I am guessing it is ritual and it went surprisingly well. We were afraid he wouldn't adjust to it, but he did!

Mini photoshoot for our birthday boy at the entrance! All is so massive, colorful and inviting.

We discovered every single bit of the park. I was on pictures and videos duty and Baba Big Hass was on "your child must be accompanied by an adult" on the rides duty lol
Ahmad had his heart set on a green dragon rollercoaster ride (suitable for his age) so all three of us jumped right in. We went through all the different zones: Factory, Lego City, Kingdoms and Imagination, Adventure and Miniland. We tried as many rides as we could, anything Ahmad pointed at. With over 40 LEGO® themed rides, shows, building experiences and LEGOLAND® attractions, it is a perfect day out for families with children aged 2-12. Even walking through the park makes you zone out from reality.

I would say that bottom line, his favorite spot was Miniland, the first ever indoor air-conditioned interactive area made up of 20 million LEGO® bricks featuring Dubai’s iconic skyline and key landmarks from around the Middle East. As kiddo has become very familiar with Dubai and its landmarks, it was simply a treat for him running around this Lego-made mini-Dubai!
"Burj Khalifa!" "Mall of Emirates!" "SkiDUBAI!" "Dubai Airport!" "METROOO!"
Hehe some of the things you might have heard him say for at least 20 min (if not more)

It was a bit of an exhausting day but 100% fun! We had to deal with tiny hints of meltdowns but nothing we couldn't set aside.
A visit to Legoland can never be complete before stopping at the Lego Store.
From the smallest keychains to complex Lego build plans! We got a couple of souvenirs and we were on our way back home. I must admit, we were also super lucky that we had breezy good weather.
As the sun went down, it started to get a little chilly. We exited Legoland and took a little walk around the resort, for a sneak peak. So much more to see, for another day...

A special day celebrating Ahmad, our little ray of sunshine!
Love my boys! Love our trio!
I wouldn't have it any other way...

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