Caitlin’s First WisCon

All in all, it went pretty well. Caitlin was decidedly chill the whole weekend.

We drove up on Thursday afternoon, after a lovely couple of days hanging out with Shira, who had flown out a couple of days before.

Caitlin *really* enjoyed the Gathering, which is the entry period into WisCon, with tea, shenanigans, a clothing swap, and other neat things to do and see. She also enjoyed John Scalzi’s reading on the Thursday afternoon. As the excerpt from The Human Division included churros, 8 year olds, and poop jokes, I can see how it was relevant to her interests.  

Her enjoyment of hanging out at large group meals was clear as well. 

She scored a leftover tiara from the Genderfloomp dance, which was *definitely* a highlight (she wore it the whole way home).

She was not as keen on some of the other readings, but I think that she just got peopled out.  A couple of times, we had to take her out of the room as she got a bit disruptive. Some down time in the room with Adventure Time seemed to do the trick.

I had purposely lightly scheduled myself, so that Michael could focus on launching Queers Dig Time Lords while I cared for Caitlin. This was a good choice, I think. I was pretty relaxed, on the whole, and got to chat with just about everyone I was hoping to see, which was lovely. I also got my dress for the Hugos, which I will blog about in a different post. My single panel went okay. 

WisCon is set up really, really well for managing Caitlin. There are designated wheelchair areas in every panel room. There is signage throughout the convention reminding folks to give priority to people using mobility aids for elevators and to take the stairs if they could. Time after time, people (including us) using chairs and scooters and canes were given preference for elevator access.  There are designated travel areas, so that people using chairs and scooters won’t be stuck behind groups socializing in public spaces.

In short, WisCon has done a pretty darned good job of thinking about accessibility, and implementing steps that make the convention easier to navigate for families like us.

I’m pointing this out because it doesn’t happen at every convention.

We could not have done this convention without the kind help of a large group of friends. Shira, Kelly, Mary, Mary Anne, Sigrid, Julia, Isabel and Sondra all pitched in an hour or two of their time, hanging out in the room while Caitlin slept, or taking her for a stroll around the dealer room, or watching her at the Gathering so that we could shop for the QDTL party more efficiently. We set up an evening rotation schedule, and thus had three hours of babysitting Cait each night, which allowed me to attend evening social time. 

Their generosity meant that I could attend the launch party for Michael’s book. And karaoke. and Genderfloomp. None of which would have been possible without their pitching in.

Thank you, all of you, for this WisCon. You made it possible. I cannot express my gratitude enough.


About Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas is a nine time Hugo Award winning editor and podcaster. In her day job, she is Head of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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