Autism Watch: 2007

Posts Tagged ‘tantrum

My son likes music. His music, the style he likes at the pace he likes and at the volume he likes. He’ll beat the drums when he’s up for it, and he likes the guitar. But music class? Not so much.

He’s got a beautiful voice. I sing, my sister sings, and both my daughters sing; we aren’t athletes, but we can belt a song and stay perfectly on pitch, so it’s not a surprise that he’s got this gift. I want to encourage it, but without overwhelming. After all, he’s got music class at school to do that for him.

I’m big on music being offered to all children. Music and art help the brain process other information more properly, and it’s also a stress-reliever. I want BB to take music class and come away feeling he’s learned something, and to look forward to it next week. So far though? Not so much.

Apparently the music teacher is not aware of his IEP, or “his issues,” for lack of a better word. That’s a problem we’ve run into frequently at schools throughout the years — people not being kept in the loop. They treat him like anyone else because they don’t know, and if they aren’t a patient person, he tests what patience they do have and it’s even worse.

BB wasn’t happy with music last year. He’d tell me then that he didn’t think she liked him and she was meaner than anyone else, which puzzled him. She’s still there this year, and I haven’t met her, but I also haven’t met a mean soul at this school, so it surprises me. However, his story doesn’t change, week after week, so I don’t think he’s embellishing. The drums in the class hurt his ears, and in his words, she “snapped.” BB had a headache and an earache when he came home, said his “tubes popped out” (impossible since they fell out in ’04) and he went at his sister (though she may have deserved it) like I’ve not seen him swing at anyone in a few weeks, so I know he’s on edge, and it’s likely the music class that generated it. Sigh.

I’m not sure what all transpired, but the Dh called and spoke with administration. All is good, I’ve been told, but I am looking forward to hearing the whole story. I want BB to look forward to music, and not dread the one day a week where he has it — which will ruin the whole day and take away from anything he tries.

What’s your thoughts on autism and music? Any special accommodations you’ve found that work or don’t work? Tips?

I’m back on the horse…I think.

BB goes back to school on Monday. We’ve been in the house almost two months now, and we’re done unpacking. Renovation projects aren’t a daily thing (though we’re still working on a few smaller things, all cosmetic) and errands take half as long now that I don’t have to pull out my GPS every time I want to go somewhere. The garden’s still producing but not to the point where I’m canning or chopping endlessly. I’m back to my studies and workout routines, and I have hopes of school helping BB stay in more of a routine. Hopes.

As a result, I hope to be back to blogging more normally. If you ever plan a cross-country move, where your husband quits his job and has to find a new one, and you have to get your kids and pets and belongings from one coast to another, plan on things taking longer than you thought they would to calm down. A lot longer. Looking back, it’s only been a little less than four months but on the other hand, wow, it feels like a whole new world.

Today I have no titillating stories to share, no sarcasm and no areas where I can speak out against something…imagine that! 😉  I do want to share though that I took BB out to lunch yesterday with a friend and children, and he did AMAZING. The most polite little man, the sweetest, and social though it was a little loud at times and his eye contact wasn’t so hot. But I was SO impressed, so proud and so encouraged.

Other than that, on with some recent autism news:

The Utah News reports: Quality of Life for Autistic Adults Subject of New Study. This is a longterm study of 400 children and not entirely inclusive or surprising, but interesting nonetheless.

Age of Autism: New Study Shows Vaccines Cause Changes Found in Autism. I’m sure the only news play this will get is people ripping it apart.

MyFoxDC.com reports: Autistic Teen Jailed for Officer Assault. This one just proves that the authorities need more training so that they remain safe while also working more appropriately with disabled people. (Though the question of how they know an adult is disabled in an ‘invisible’ way is always going to be difficult.)

DisabilityScoop.com’s got another interesting one: Advocates Urge Congress to Address Growing Needs of Adults with Autism. So true.

There are so many good blogs out there about autism, I would be hard-pressed to choose some to highlight, but I think once a week, I’m going to try to do that. (Now I just have to remember in the rush of the first week of school that I said that!)

Have a good weekend….

Throughout the years, I’ve run into a few people who equate autism with a child being “slow.” It’s one of the most irritating myths about autism, right up there with “but he doesn’t look like Rainman…

Like so many others with autism, my son could teach people a thing or two. He’s got a sharper wit than most adults I know, and even when he’s testing my patience, he still makes us laugh.

Take this morning, for example. He didn’t want to brush his teeth, so I had to remind him to get moving so he wasn’t late for school.

“Super Mario has been looking for a place to shoot fireballs. I think I’ll message him.” Then he looked at me.

A few minutes later? “I need a tissue. STAT.”

And his parting shot, as he heads out the door with me trying to tie his shoes for him. “Mom, I GOT this. I’m the leader. Kids are generals. Moms are medics.”

Alrighty then. Life may not be the easiest for him, but he’s going to get along just fine. Just don’t expect him to do it quietly.

…days ago, and I didn’t do it. I didn’t lie, I promise. I just forgot.

Long story short, it’s going well. The foundation of everything, according to the school (and without any prompting from us at all), is social skills. Let me hear an AMEN.

He’s got a one-on-one still, a social skills aide, and several other social skills programs going on. His teacher is awesome, and she fills me in on how he does eating lunch even. We are thrilled.

As for BB, he likes his class, enjoys his teacher and finds the homework within reasonable amounts. He has a “girlfriend” with sparkly eyes, and he makes it through each day without a problem. He is happy.

So we’re happy.

…and we just happened to end up here in the south.

Finally, it happened. We sold our house and closed escrow on 3/24. We had three days to pack it up and get outta Dodge. Gladly. We ended up at a KOA for a couple of days, ensuring our 53′ trailer full of way too many things was picked up by the transportation company hired to drive it out for us. (And at a significantly decreased cost over using a professional moving company, even with the cost of the trailer factored in we saved over $12k. And now we have storage for our belongings until our house is built.)

The drive went well. At the time, it was on/off boring, exhausting, exciting, interesting, tedious, and expensive. Our caravan consisted of our SUV pulling our 32′ travel trailer, otherwise known as the RV, driven by DH and navigated by our 15 yod, carrying the 14-year-old Husky. I followed behind in my sporty sports car, carrying the 90-pound service dog in the back seat (and I do mean the WHOLE back seat), the little Yorkshire Terrier on my lap, and BB in his handmade seatbelt covers to my right. Following me was my son in my husband’s car, with the backseat/floor full of cages for our guinea pig, turtle and bearded dragon. BB was usually carrying his DS, covered in his blue blankie because the sun made it hard for him to see the DS. We drove to the Grand Canyon right before sunset, and ended up in a comfortable KOA in Arizona, resting with a bottle of wine and homemade burritos. Ahhh, sounds nice for a long roadtrip, right?

Let’s see, what did I leave out. Oh yes, the truck inexplicably died at the top of the highest pass outside of Scottsdale, Arizona. Poof. No smoke, no sound, no power. Fifteen minutes later, we re-started, it worked, we drove. Leaving Gallup, New Mexico on Tuesday, a tire on the SUV went flat…in the midst of an hour-long delay due to a bad rockslide, where we ended up going 2-3mph. We made it to an offramp, where very nice Arizona transportation workers allowed us to change the tire on the onramp on the other side, as it was closed to traffic because too many special people were trying to utilize the ramps as shortcuts around the traffic. (Arizona, what a great idea you have! Other states, listen up…implement this practice! Stop the special people!!) Back to my story…we get back on the freeway, make it another hour and we see the SUV/RV start to fishtail. Scary stuff. My baby! My baby’s in there! (DH tells me later “I see where I stand. The dog wants to know why you didn’t worry about him either.”) He gets it safely to the side of the road, where we learn the back left tire had shredded, and the rim was shot. Because of the aforementioned flat tire, being in the midst of nowhere, and being stuck in a one-hour delay for the rockslide, we’d not been able to reach a service station to repair the spare. So we had to buckle down and call AAA.

I will spare you all the tired eyeballs that will result from reading that saga, but suffice it to say, AAA stunk. Big time. After an hour-plus alongside a very busy freeway in high winds — three cars, a disabled vehicle, a windblown RV and an autistic child — the SUV was rescued…but ended up with it and DH (and the dog!) stuck on the other side of the freeway, 30 miles west of me, out of gas..then they couldn’t figure out how to get it started. Three hours later, me and the RV were rescued, but DH was still stranded..cold and hungry. Long story short, we were literally dropped by a rude towtruck company owner at another KOA, off-center and unable to open our slideout or use all our hookups, around 630pm. DH was still stuck until around 7pm, and he made it to our KOA spot around 800pm, four new tires and spare. AAA, still waiting on the reimbursements and admittance you won’t hold these two, ahem, “tows” on our record since I hardly think they qualify. We ended up backwards and a day behind, but oh the stories we can tell now! (How I renew our auto club membership will NOT  be a story I’ll be able to tell. Pay on our own sounds like a good plan.)

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful. We made it to our destination on Saturday instead of Friday, but saw a lot of hilarious things and really could say it was a good time after all was said and done. We did have a few meltdowns, the scariest of which was at the Grand Canyon, but that was resolved after, hmmm, 40 minutes or so? People still stare at kids with meltdowns, even if they’re faced with literally one of the most gorgeous distractions in the world. Go figure. Kid in tantrum, Grand Canyon…hmmmm, I’d look at the Grand Canyon, but that’s just me.

BB’s doing really well. Settling in here has been easy, he’s surrounded by family and a relaxing environment. He’s got his dog, and a lot of room to run. Couldn’t ask for more.

I’ll update tomorrow on the school situation. Too much for one entry already!

I was recently lent this book by someone in the education field, someone who I was really pleased to meet and am very thankful for, and I’ve only known her a couple of days. She lent me this book within minutes of meeting me, a Southern sense of generosity I am quickly growing to love and appreciate, and hoping to emulate.  Not only am I excited because I haven’t had a good book to read in months (due to the move) but I love Jodi Picoult books, and this book is right down my alley of interest because its focus is on a family dealing with Aspergers, a mild form of autism. (Though I hate to use the word “mild,” because even the mildest of autism labels on a bad day can be devastating.)

Since the move, my back has been acting up — I guess herniated and bulging discs tend to not improve when you sit in a car driving for ten hours a day — and I’ve had to take pain meds for my migraines twice. Not a great track record for being here less than two weeks, and I hate to look like a wimp to people who haven’t been around me 24/7 for long. I’m also plain out tired much more frequently than normal. (I had high hopes of staying up till 10pm at least, get things done, just hang out with my husband, blog, you know, all that romantic stuff. Ha.) A book is the perfect thing to add in when I’m not as agile as I’d like to be and I’m tired, though I hate to be tired. It wastes my time. Then again, maybe it’s a sign to chill out, slow down, and enjoy what’s happening right now, this process of starting over, to remember it, to live it, and to enjoy it. To be philosophical when I’m normally not, by remembering life isn’t just about achieving your goals, but the steps you take to get there.

While I’m only about ten pages into the book, I am sucked in. Jodi does an amazing job of portraying real-life Aspergers/autism — she gets it. She thanks a large group of people for helping her, and I thank them for sharing their very personal details, but I also thank Jodi moreso for wording it in a way that’s believable and will help the general public understand what we go through. The meltdowns in public for tiny things. The stares that burn you despite years of practice ignoring them. The need for routine and the critical effort we parents put forward to focus on the big issues and let the little ones slide as necessary. Within the first two pages of text, I found so many of the little things that we deal with daily, put in print where I could read to my husband and say “WOW. Someone GETS it. Now others will GET it.”

I have to admit to some guilt when I read a chapter from the brother’s perspective. I’ve always felt my other children get short shrift at times, but what do you do? You have only two arms and can only be in one place at a time. When one child’s huddled on the floor shrieking, you can’t lift him up and throw him into a car, buckle him in, and safely drive to a DMV driver’s license appointment. You want to listen to your other child and give them the time they need and deserve, but you’re mentally drained from forcing your ASD child to go to school. You feel guilty that you can’t do it all, but you feel guilty for thinking anything that even slightly, and only to yourself, implies that you would begrudge your ASD child every ounce of energy needed to improve or even just get by. Guilt, it’s all around if you let it in.

I hope to read some from Jacob’s perspective soon. The autistic mind fascinates me, and any little bit of understanding I can gain will only benefit us, even if I don’t like what I hear. I am thankful I am not going this alone, as the mom in “House Rules” is, but I am impressed with her outlook and her realistic struggle to do it all, and do it all right, while accepting that she can’t.

I hope to dive in and read another 100 pages or so this evening, though I don’t want to be rude and hide in the bedroom again, as I’ve had to do a few times for either a backache or a headache. Me, the runner, avid exercise enthusiast, wannabe personal trainer and health nut, dealing with health issues when I least have the time for them. There’s work, my son, my other kids, my husband, the animals, and so many other things I want to do — we gardened (planted potatoes, a variety of peppers, beans, etc.), we swung at some golf balls, we talk, and we just plain out live. In California, we ran from one thing to another, only really kicking back to watched Tivo’d shows together, a Nascar race, or visit friends. Then there were the innumerable errands to Target, Kohl’s, Gamestop, and of course, Starbucks. Relaxing and ‘living’ occurred between all the ‘have to’ events. Strangely enough, I don’t miss any of that. I have replaced the extra expenditures with a cup of coffee enjoyed while watching BB chase his dog around the backyard. I have replaced the need for more clothes by wearing the same tank top twice in 10 days — gasp! It’s possible! Only the family sees me anyway, and there’s a strange joy in saving money. Who knew. (And having an unemployed husband will also make that easier…though that’s not for long. He’s having a really hard time not working, he’s the kind who can’t sit still and must be productive and active all day, every day, but he’s enjoying handling school issues and dropoffs/pickups. He found he enjoys mowing and tilling a garden, and bringing me another cup of coffee. And I’m enjoying having him around more.)

To the family of Nadia, the little girl with autism who was recently found after being missing for 4-5 days, God bless you. We breathed a sigh of relief when we heard you were safe and surrounded by those who love you. May your family and you get the privacy you need to recoup. Another miracle occurred, and she’s home.

Did you know that there’s no such thing as a penicillin allergy? Or a peanut allergy? Isn’t it amazing?

I know, you’re thinking, what? She’s cracked..the move has pushed her over the edge. But I assure you, I’m not.

After all, if we follow the “vaccines are fine, you anti-vaccine people are bringing back diseases and you’re harming society” theory of late, if vaccines are safe for everyone, penicillin, peanuts, you name it,  must be okay for everyone, right?

If vaccines can’t cause adverse reactions in anyone — you know, that conglomeration of preservatives, aluminum and aborted fetal cells — then penicillin, peanuts and anything else that results in rashes, hives or anaphylactic shock can’t cause adverse reactions either. I mean, really, if they’re good for ‘most’ people, then they must be okay for everyone, right?

Now we know this isn’t true. We know allergies exist — some mild, some deathly. We don’t go around telling them that the side-effects of ingesting an allergen are really something else. No, of course not. Instead, we created epi-pens and we adapt our environments. Most importantly, we don’t scoff at those who suffer and tell them they’re wrong, that peanut really didn’t just make them swell up to the point of needing an injection or an ER trip. We don’t tell the person covered in itchy hives that he’s wrong, after all, that penicillin doesn’t make everyone sick, so therefore it can’t make anyone sick.

Not everyone who gets vaccinated has autism; not every person who takes penicillin breaks out in hives or has to be hospitalized. One’s accepted, the other isn’t.

Someday, a study will be done that compares the physical attributes of babies/small children about to be injected with a long list of things that are illegal in mascara and dog vaccines and food. It will take into consideration their immune system and the possibility that their bodies have something wrong genetically that doesn’t allow the vaccine ingredients to be processed properly. You know, like those with allergies experience when they ingest an allergen. It won’t just study the vaccines, but the effect those vaccines have on compromised immune systems or otherwise physically-strained young bodies. There’s a vast difference between studying the effects of vaccines and the effects of vaccines in conjunction with the bodies in which they’re being injected.

Someday this will make sense to those who are willing to listen. In the meantime, if you don’t believe vaccines are a problem, you’re welcome to your opinion, as long as I’m welcome to mine. I just want no more children and families to have to go through the nightmare of an autism diagnosis.

And if this is your first time reading my blog, I’m not a reactionary who talks about nothing but vaccines. I usually focus on the day-to-day life of dealing with a disorder that’s vastly misunderstood, and my amazing child who is a gift to my husband and I, a blessing that words can’t describe. I don’t go on rants a lot, but the “anti-vaccine” commentary gets on your nerves after a while. They just need to get the terms right — we aren’t “anti-vaccine,” we are “pro-safe vaccine.” Vast difference. (I don’t know a single “anti-vaccine” person, just people who want vaccines that we feel safe putting in our kids’ bodies.)

BB’s been on independent study for several weeks now. While I have absolutely no freedom..zip, zilch, nada…as he’s home with me 24/7, he’s happier. His anxiety levels are way down, and his anger issues are much better. But, he is at the point where getting him to leave the house takes some work. He doesn’t want to leave for just anything. He never really has, but it’s worse now. Errands? Heck no, mom, I don’t want to go there. Take my service dog for a walk? Mom, it’ s cold out there, and I’d have to get fully dressed! (I may have to give him that one. It’s been cold and rainy for weeks now.) But, I told him today that we were taking a break from the house — it was sunny and bright, although still chilly. Snow is so shiny in the local mountains/foothills, you can practically see the cold, but it’s gorgeous, so I was bent on a trip to the park.

Fast-forward to 1pm. He gets dressed, and is fine with it. We had a good talk about zombies and their weaponry on the three-minute drive, and then we climb out of the car, walk halfway through the field to the play area and realize it’s flooded. Good one, Mom. Good plan. Where’s the sidewalk???

His face falls as he realizes we’ re not alone. There are other kids playing. Worse yet, other kids playing together. He climbs for two minutes, then runs away and hides in an empty picnic kiosk a bit away. I follow him, only to find out he wanted to be alone. Sigh. I move to the sun to drive off my dripping flip-flops (I know, I know, but it IS still California) and attempt to talk him into swinging with me. No, Mom, there are kids on some of the swings. Yes, honey, but some swings are empty. He marinates that thought for a bit, then jets away. I pick up my dripping poor choice of footwear and follow. We climb on swings, which were blessedly ALL empty by that point. I get on one end…he gets on the other. We swing…for three minutes. He gets up, runs off, I hop off and for a split second can’t see him. Where’d he go?

Oh yes, silly me. What mother doesn’t look under the slide to see if her child is laying behind it, prostrate on the ground? Sigh. “Want to go home, Honey?” Yes, Mom. Autism somehow had snuck along for the ride with my adorable, loving, super-intelligent son who has major social skills issues. And sadness over a serious lack of friends.

We climb in the car. Park trip=not a success. But, he did agree it was nice to get out in the fresh air. Since he’s communicative and willing, we stop at the Rite-Aid for a double-scoop of ice cream..him, not me. (The scale told me yesterday that I need to take a few days away from extracurricular snacking.)  Ice cream makes it home, and he’s a happy child all over again. Autism, you aren’t invited to our next park trip.

As I’ve bemoaned about recently, we’re in the midst of a move. We’re excited about moving but the move itself, not so much. It’s work. A lot of it. It’s chaos. As I type this, I have a bottle of barbecue sauce next to me on the table, because I was packing up our Nascar cabinet and I am not moving a bottle of barbecue sauce, even if it has a picture of our favorite Nascar race car on it. We love our driver, but barbecue sauce sitting in a box for six months…no, thank you. Past the barbecue sauce is a stack of boxes, and an empty hutch that once held our Nascar collectibles. Tons of it. Wow, I could sponsor a race if I sold it all. It was no easy feat packing up the autographed memorabilia, the occasional lug nut and odd items collected from race tracks for the last six years. Beyond that, empty boxes, calling my name, screaming “Pack pictures in me! Wrap the rest of your wine glasses and put them in me too!” Then there’s my couch, nestled amongst those boxes and a pile of displaced items that had a home on a wall unit until my husband moved it to put it in the 53′ trailer we now own in the morning. And that’s just one room, so you get the idea. (I’ll spare you what my bedroom looks like, devoid of half its furniture and items, leaving me wondering how I’ll peacefully sleep in there for the next 2-3 weeks.)

Last night, I had to go through BB’s toy cabinets. He has two huge ones, and there was overflow under his foozball/air hockey table, and in his sister’s closet. It took me quite some time to sort out the things I knew he wouldn’t want, and then to ask him over and over, “Do you want this? What about this?” “Mom, I’m too old for Hungry, Hungry Hippos..” and “Mom, we played Guess Who so much at therapy, I don’t want it anymore.” On one hand, I was repeatedly thinking how great it was that we only had to pack half of his stuff. But on the other hand? My baby is growing up!

There was some sadness as I stacked Chutes ‘n Ladders in the garage sale pile. We’d played that game over and over. It didn’t require him to speak or maintain eye contact, and he’d win almost every time. The cards that he’d sort out and lay out perfectly in order, side by side, not off by a hair went, too. I almost kept them, but what in the world would I do with them? They were a good memory, because we’d spent hours upon hours working and playing together, but they were bittersweet — they were such a sign that he had autism, and I never picked up on it.

I was so happy when he chose to pack his Ratatouille chef’s hat and apron. He looks so darn cute when he puts them on and makes his famous Club Cracker, mustard and deli meat sandwiches. He decided to keep all his dinosaurs and his pirate swords, but I was sad when he put the “little kid” pirate costume in the go pile. Sniff. Then we got to things I was sure he’d keep, all his Hot Wheels and Matchbox buildings and garages. “Mom, I’m not a little kid anymore.” Then my husband just had to chime in, “His interests have changed, it’s okay.” I think he knew my ambivalence about seeing some other kid run away with Rocket Park playset, something he’d play with for hours, even if he played with it a bit weirdly. When the entire Little People world goes, for not a cheap price, I may cry.

He’s got a new interest in drawing this week, and it’s one that fits right in with his computer animation and gaming interests. We’ll definitely be encouraging it and getting him whatever training he wants, as long as it remains fun for him. He drew an eagle that easily rivals something a much older child would do, and Dad was amazed at how fast he did it. (Dare I say that part of me is thinking a-ha, I passed something down! I was an art freak and an art major. It’s still a love of mine, though now I mainly view art instead of creating it. Who has time and the kind of focus it needs?)

Now we’re at the phase of the move where he just wants it over with. The disruption of his bedroom and routine is getting on his nerves. When he asks for a new subscription for a month to Club Penguin or wants to go see a movie on a certain day, I have to remind him that we’ll be on the road for five days, and in transition a few days before and after that. Online time may be at a premium. (Then again, we are staying at KOAs with wi-fi all the way through our drive.) He wants to move, but doesn’t hesitate to remind me, frequently, how much it’s getting in the way of his normal things. Sigh. Please, Lord, let the rest of escrow go smoothly and let it all come together so we can really be out of here soon.

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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