And the grocery store.
Jack has been doing pretty well lately. It “feels” like the meltdowns have been a bit less frequent and maybe shorter in duration. This of course makes a huge difference for our family and really gives a sense of calm to the household (relatively speaking). I feel like I have been able to discuss things with Jack to a certain extent, actually reason with him at times. It’s amazing. As parents, the smallest things can make a huge difference right? Like Jack is finally confident in opening his car door by himself. Just having that one task taken off my plate when getting both boys situated in the car is awesome. So something like a more relaxed atmosphere in our home has a huge impact. Jack is also doing very well socially at camp. There are several other little boys who he plays with every day and he looks forward to going.
Is it the medication? Is he maturing? The differences are subtle enough at this point that I really can’t answer that. I still believe that he is likely on a sub therapeutic dose of his medication, and since he has been holding steady at 19.5kg since May, I don’t think that’s changing anytime soon (once he hits 20kg, the dose will be doubled). All I know for sure is that there have been some differences.
In typical, comfortable situations.
Today brought that all home faster than you can say lobster.
It has been raining all day, and on days like this, I love having breakfast for dinner. And Jack likes making pancakes with me. So when I went to pick Jack up from camp I decided we would run by the grocery store and pick up a few things so we could make it tonight. I should have known the minute we stepped outside and Jack saw that it was raining that this was not a good idea. Little adaptations that we all make to changing circumstances are so difficult for children on the spectrum or really any child with sensory processing issues. If you tell him to run for the car because it’s raining he stands stock still and screams about it. When we drove through a puddle he screamed at me to stop. The sound of it and the different feeling of it really bothered him. He kept telling me he was going to turn the rain into fire. Why he thinks this would be better is beyond me, but that was his plan. He couldn’t bear to leave the paper airplane he made at camp in the car when we got to the store but then he had a meltdown because it got rain drops on it.
It all went further downhill when we went into the store. He is obsessed with the lobsters, like that is all he can talk about from the minute we go through the door. I made him wait to go see them until we reached that point in the store. He yelled when I picked up mushrooms (for me), he cried for gluten free chocolate covered pretzels, (which I gave in to) and then he ran for the tank. Nothing too bad so far….but then he flipped out because one of the lobsters was missing its claw. Freaked. Out! I reminded him that it will grow back (not that there will be any time for that, but in theory it’s true), but then he spotted a lobster with barnacles which also upset him. Then he saw that one had managed to get out of those little rubber bands they wrap around their claws. I jokingly said he’s going to escape and that did it. He started screaming “save the lobsters! Save the lobsters!” When I say screaming, it’s not an expression, he was literally screaming. People were staring. My face was turning bright red as I took deep breaths and tried to pretend this was perfectly normal. I am a good mom, I am a good mom. He knows right from wrong, he just can’t handle this atmosphere. This is what I say to myself at times like these, and repeat, and repeat and repeat.
He was pretty amped up after this, but did ok through most of the store. He begged for things, but that’s to be expected. A lady told us she wanted sausage too when we were on that aisle and Jack yelled at her that she couldn’t have it- he thought she was taking ours.
The culmination of this lovely excursion had to be when I opted to go to the self-checkout lane. The other lanes were swamped and frankly I wanted to get the hell out of there. Jack was very distressed by this situation. “There’s no one in a yellow shirt, where’s the yellow shirt guy??” He didn’t like me scanning things (apparently when I make the beep it’s offensive), and he tried to grab everything off of the belt. If you’ll recall, these belts are extremely sensitive to weight, so consequently, I kept hearing that annoying robot voice telling me to “please return all items to the scanner scale”. He didn’t like that either. Lastly, apparently it is also offensive when I bag the groceries- “I’m gonna eat those bags!!!”
He totally lost it on the way home- blaming it on his wet paper airplane again, but the truth is he was sensory overloaded. Not his fault.
I rarely take Jack to the grocery store, even with preparation. For a child that is a sensory avoider, there are just too many unknowns. Too many things that can set him off. Nate loves the grocery store. He is a seeker. Another good example of this is Jack’s hatred of the rain, walking in the rain, etc. Meanwhile, I tried to get Nate to stay near the umbrella today and instead he stood away from it, head tilted toward the sky, laughing like a little hyena when the rain hit his face.
Clearly I let the last week or so of improved behavior go to my head. It’s easy to forget how sensitive Jack is to sensory input, and thus, changes to his environment. This was a good reminder. It’s important to continue taking him places or this will never improve, but planning is needed, and rain OR store would be good, but not both.