Autism Watch: 2007

Meltdowns and Wanted Posters

Posted on: February 12, 2010

I love loved Dickeys Barbecue. It’s the closest to real Southern food I can get here in California. The melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork, the soft bun, the hot sauce with the chunks of peppers…I digress. Anyway, I was excited when our local franchise reopened after a temporary closure. We ordered their catering for our New Year’s Eve party, and it was gone in minutes.  We got take-out from there last week, and BB downed a roast turkey sandwich in under two minutes. Every last bite of the bun even, a world record. So last night, the fourth night that I was on my own for dinner with just the younger two kids, since dh is traveling for work all week out-of-state (in the cold, cold, snowy South, to be exact) it seemed the natural choice for our takeout.

It had been one heck of a day. Tired from a busy week on my own with the kids and home-sale business, I’d gotten the house clean for a late-evening showing and got the call about another one at lunchtime. 1:30 came and went before I learned, by making a phonecall instead of receiving one, that the agent was a no-show for technical reasons. Sigh. I know, it happens, but I’d eaten an early lunch and rearranged my schedule so I could quietly sit at my desk (aka the dining-room table these last few months) and be as inconspicuous as possible. The cranky notch went up quite a bit, because home showings all seem to focus on the buyer — while I understand that it IS about the buyer, because we want them to like the house and want to buy it, but the seller isn’t inconsequential. We’re not sitting around with nothing to do; we’re putting off other appointments, we’ve cleaned our house and don’t want to mess it up, and we may have business phone calls we have to make. We’re also trying to keep autistic children from having meltdowns because yet another person is “snooping” in their room or “looking” at them and interrupting the daily schedule. We’re trying to keep our routine as normal as possible and get to school to pick them up on time. We’re doing the best we can and would love a phone call if you’re running late — we are as important as the buyer.

Now that I’m off that rant…phew, I feel better…we got ready to go pick up dinner. BB had experienced a complete and total hysterical fit the night before upon hugging his biggest sister goodbye, when she left for the evening to go back to her apartment, he saw a picture of him and daddy, sitting on the piano. The sobs ensued. Big, hairy, sad, body-shaking, tears falling to the floor sobs. It took an hour of me, then daddy via speakerphone, calming him before he was any semblance of normal…his brand of normal. On the way to dinner, he was a bit “off.” After seeing the hysterics the night before, I knew it was a possibility, especially since I took him out of his domain, but I figured “we run in, pay, grab our drinks, and run out. How bad could it be?”

Ha ha ha ha, famous last words.

It was pretty bad.

It all started, after waiting wayyyyyyyyyyy too long for the one couple of men in front of me to place their orders. Like five minutes just for them to decide how to qualify for a free pulled pork sandwich. I kid you not. I was about to hand him $5 and say there, now you have a free pulled pork sandwich. He was handed his cup, and that was the beginning of the end. “This?? I get THIS sized cup? I want a BIG CUP!”

Sigh.

Ten minutes later, I was towing him to the car by holding onto his jacket zipper with my left hand, my drink and bag of sandwiches in my right hand. I’d already been kicked in the shins, yelled at and called some choice words. The couple sitting next to the drink machines? Thanks for trying hard not to stare, but I could still see the “Oh my gosh, did you SEE???” happening between the two of you. And manager’s wife? I think you were about to pick up the phone, you looked astounded to see a misbehaving child..though I will give it to you, the kick in the shins probably was a bit over the top. However, I still think you should get off the counter if you’re not working there, and plant it at a table rather than looking but pretending not to every time I glanced your way. My husband says I should ignore you all, but it’s easier said than done, because your stares don’t just mean you’re watching, but they mean you’re judging. Otherwise, you’d have totally not looked or you’d have asked if you could help me carry my food. Why does the help never come, though the stares and comments are fast and furious?? I’ll have to ponder that one.

Halfway to the car, in the lot, I got another kick in the shins so hard it about knocked me over. I’d already left his cup behind, and I almost lost mine. That was not going to happen. By then, I really really wanted and needed my special mix of Lite Lemonade and Diet Coke. If anyone ever deserved their drink of choice, it was me, right then. I listened to him rage at me all the way home, and when I got inside, after putting down the little bit of food that was left, I took his laptop and all its accessories and hid them away. Far, far away.

I’d like to say that was the end of it, but I’d be lying. It’s still going on, and it’s been over 24 hours. He finally fell asleep last night around 8:45, and why oh why do they look so cute when they’re sleeping? He woke up foul, and while there have been glimmers of my sweetie here and there, the anger still lurks oh so closely beneath the surface. Walking on eggshells was coined by the mom of an autistic kid, I’m sure of it. (Okay, not sure, please don’t google the phrase and prove me wrong, I couldn’t take it.)

Oh, I almost forgot the best part, where he grabbed his turkey sandwich, hidden in the fridge until the next day since he didn’t get the yummy food after that behavior. (I was about to make him something healthy but boring instead.) He decided to run off with it, me trying to get him to agree to hand it back to me, when both hands came up, like slow motion…smash, twist, pull..THROW. Turkey sandwich all.over.my.kitchen. Turkey on the walls. Turkey on the floor. Turkey on my Cuisinart and in my Kitchenaid. Turkey on all six of my kitchen table chairs. Turkey on the sliding glass door. Turkey on the floor in the hallway 10′ away. And people 15 minutes away from coming to see my house. Get away, puppies, no eating the turkey. Grab the broom, sweep what is dry enough and wet-rag wipe up the rest. Windex the slider and appliances, wipe down the chairs..doorbell rings. That was close.

So, that was my last visit to Dickey’s. Love the food, though last night’s po’ boy was the driest food I’ve ever paid for. Not sure if they made it the second they hung up the phone from me placing the order, but the entire thing was colder than it should have been for a 10-minute interim. Anyway, off the food, lady, off the food…I won’t go back because I’m sure that they printed our photos off of surveillance footage and posted them to the wall. “Wanted: lady with bruised shins and an extra $5. Do now allow inside.” I was on the new Target’s wall a few years ago, I just know it…but I’ll save that similar story for another day.

Meltdowns suck. Autism sucks. Kicks in the shin suck.

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1 Response to "Meltdowns and Wanted Posters"

Aw-so sorry, that had to be so stressful. I know how it feels to be stared at knowing that it’s full of judgment. Hope you have a good weekend!

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