Our mission was simple: hit four stores and one fast food joint, all in the same general vicinity. In attendance: two well-rested children, two never-rested adults and one wild-card: autism.
We’ve known about M’s diagnosis for almost a year now, but his sensory and behavioral issues have really only amped up in the past 6 or 7 months. This necessitates a lot of planning for outings and even more patience. I’m trying to learn the language of autism and therefore anticipate what my son will need, but it’s hard and many days I feel like I’m failing miserably at it.
Saturday our first stop is to Kohls. Almost immediately M begins to whimper “All done, all done.” He alternates between running through aisles and hiding under the clothes racks.
Dinner, another store, no problem. Maybe he’s over whatever was bothering him.
Come to Babies R Us. All I want to do was find a vibrating teether, which M’s occupational therapist thought might be useful for some of his feeding issues. It’s too much for M. He wants to run and put things in his mouth. I can hear him screaming clear on the other side of the store. Everyone’s staring. Not for the first time, I wish for a t-shirt that read “I can assure you, I’m enjoying the screaming even more than you are” or “My kid is awesome, it’s the autism that sucks.” I end up sitting on the floor in the checkout line with M on my lap, giving him joint compressions to try to calm him down.
All that’s left is the grocery store. Now, M is stimming…alternating between making loud noises with his hand in his mouth, rocking, and saying “I want poo” over and over and over. His diaper is not dirty. I’m failing at staying patient because hearing “Poo. POOOOO. I want poo. I want poo,” for over an hour makes it really hard to think.
When he finally DOES have a dirty diaper, we have the new challenge of dealing with the bathroom. M is afraid of public bathrooms. The entire time I’m changing him, he cries “Nooo Mommy. All done! All done! All done!” Even after we’re out of the bathroom he continues to say “I want poo” in a frightened voice.
Do you know what it’s like to understand something is bothering your son but have no idea what it is to fix it because he can’t tell you?
Some days M loves going on errands. Other days are like this. We have no idea how to predict what kind of a day it will be for him.
The only bright spot of the evening is when I find the vibrating teether at the grocery store. I do a victory dance in the aisle….pumping my arms like Craig Ferguson and shaking my hips. “I found it, oh yah, I found it! For half off the therapy store price! Who’s good? I’m good! Oooh yaaaah!”
I never would have pictured myself dancing in public over a teething toy, let alone any of the hoops we’ve jumped through for autism thus far. But really, do any of us envision the struggles we’ll have in the journey to and through motherhood?