Monday, March 1, 2010

Barnes and Noble is on my bad list

When you have an autistic kid, every outing has to be planned in advance. You basically have to pack for the mission: you need a sippy cup with juice in it, a snack, diapers and wipes, two or more hotwheels, a blankie for the return trip, and extra juice if you plan on being on said trip for longer than an hour. If the trip is occurring at a meal time, you'll need to microwave a chicken patty, cut it into strips, and put it in a cup for the road. Or you can take the easy way out, and go to BK for some chicken fries. This is usually what I opt for. ; )

I have NEVER been on a trip with Hayden without these items. I think once I forgot a sippy cup, and had to resort to buying a juice box. It didn't work.

So today I needed (ok, wanted) to take the recycles to the center, because they were taking over my kitchen. I put the recycles in the car before work, collected Hayden's trip essentials, and went to work. The plan was that after work, I'd pick up Hayden, we'd go to the recycle center on the south side of Indy, pick him up some chicken fries, and go to the bookstore. Good short trip, and he likes to play with the Thomas set up at the bookstore.

When I picked up Hayden from daycare, the first thing I noticed was that he had a different outfit on from this morning. "Did he have an accident?" I asked. "He's having a rough day," they tell me. "He messed up his outfit at Waverly, though." So I open his bookbag and read the note from his Waverly teacher, which says that he spilled juice everywhere because he didn't like the snack they were serving today. He will need another spare outfit. He also hit the new student because there was too much change in his day. Lovely.

As I finish reading, Hayden is wandering the room saying, "CAR CAR CAR CAR. MOMMY. CAR. CAR. Mommy..." This means he brought a car to daycare today, and we need to locate it. His teachers locate the car, he agrees to put on his coat ("No, jacket!" he argues. Ok, it's a jacket. Whatever. Put it on please.) "ZIP!" Yes, I'll zip it, please ask nicely. As we leave I notice he needs a kleenex. His sniffles are still going strong.

So, at this point, a smart mom would head straight home. Nope, not Sheila Damron, she had an idea in her head, and has a car full of recyclables.

The trip to the recycle center was mildly interesting, since there was a detour and I couldn't take the normal road. I guessed, and essentially was lost for about three minutes. I knew I needed to head east, but other than that I didn't really know where I was. So now I had cranky kid, car of recyclables, and was mildly lost in a not-great area of Indy. Got a little bit scared.

There it is! Shoo! K, dropped of the recycles. Hayden asks for Gymboree. "No, how about the book store?" Silence. Well, better than screaming. We get near the bookstore, I look in the rearview, and guess who's asleep. He doesn't fall asleep in the car that often, unless he's really tired. Well, let's let him sleep a half hour-- I went through the McD's drivethrough, parked in the bookstore parking lot, and ate dinner while listening to NPR. Woke Hayden, ask if he still wants to go see Thomas, he does, we go in. (No, I couldn't have cheated and driven all the way home with him asleep, after promising to visit Thomas. That result would be VERY bad when he remembered what I'd promised!)

We walk in, see the kid section, and head over. We near the Thomas area. We arrive in the Thomas area, and suddenly I feel the same fear as I did when we were momentarily 'lost' in Indy: There is no Thomas. No train table. Just plain wooden floor space. Oh No! I had promised the cranky autistic kid that if he went on this long, pointless trip with me, he could play with the Thomas table. Nevermind that he has one at home just like it. For some reason the B&N one is better. Except that it's not there.

I ask a worker, and she says, "well, they're probably just building a new one in the back. We go through them pretty quickly. They get a lot of use."

No, see, the most raggedy, old, sorry Thomas table you can dream up would be better than NO Thomas table! What genius without kids thought up this plan?

I tried distraction with Chicka chicka boom boom. That worked for the duration of the book. Then he was back to asking for Thomas, and he was getting upset. Now, about a year and a half ago I had to physically remove Hayden from B&N because I wouldn't let him steal the Bertie the Bus toy on the train table. He loves buses, and they didn't have one for sale. So his option was to just steal the floor model. I had to carry him out, kicking and screaming. I had to carry him sideways, with our two winter coats in my hands, because he was writhing so much that I was getting injured. I'm sure everyone stared, but I just looked straight ahead and got out. It took me a good 5 minutes (which is a long time!) to get out, because he kept writhing and kicking out of my arms, and I'd have to set him down and pick him up again. Yes, I quietly asked him to behave. Yes, I tried to reason with him. These things didn't work. They never do once the meltdowns start. What works is quiet time in his bed, with his blankie, and no one around.

So today, the thought of that glorious experience went through my head, as Hayden got more and more anxious. I didn't feel I had the energy for that experience today. So, I did something bad.

I showed him a James train off the shelf, and asked if he wanted to buy it.

Hayden, James, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom made it home without incident.

I hope all my parenting 'good days' make up for this one!! I'll try harder tomorrow! : )


April said...

Shelia you are an amazing mother. Do not let this incident make you think your not. I enjoyed all your blogs and the pictures of Hayden are adorable.


Rosie said...

Call me a spoiling Grandma, but I see nothing wrong with offering a James train when you were unable to provide the promised play time with the Thomas train. You never could have predicted it would not be there, and he never could have understood why Mom did not keep her promise. Seemed like a very smart thinking on Momma's part to help keep peace and solitude in the family!

Bethany said...

Oh my gosh I totally relate! I am so glad I found your blog tonight! I will try not to flood you with comments ;) I agree 100% with Rosie! You did a great job!