Our Day On The Town Part I can be read here, it gives the precursor to the rest of the day. Something needs to be shared here about the dog parade time incident. My Mom had believed that the parade was to start at 10am, however, after beginning to freak out a bit and be quite confused we finally discovered that it actually was to begin at 11am. I note this information because a huge thing happened, in the past if this were to happen to my Mom, the day was over. She would have piled us all up in the car, had a meltdown, dropped us off and then spent the day at home alone beating herself up because she couldn’t believe she got the time wrong.
She started to do this in the car.
I was having my own issues, which I will talk about in a few, but I saw that I needed to stop this so I shared with her how it turned out better because, had we come when the dogs were already walking the strip, we do not know how Daniel would have responded. Since we arrived early we were able to do our normal script that we do when we go downtown, the kids were able to walk the strip, Daniel could count all of the ceiling fans in each store and restaurant, we could look at the boats and the pirate statues and then head back.It worked out better because we would not have been able to do that while the parade was going and if Daniel was afraid of the all the dogs and the sounds were getting to him there would have been double trouble, not fulfilling the script. She felt comforted after that and we went on our way ready to tackle the rest of the day.
I really don’t know what were thinking.
I know that both of us were determined to have our day since we only do it once a year and Ariel looks forward to it so much. I had to try to calm down from my own sensory overload, from the weather, the wind, (Which I absolutely hate cold wind, it tears through my bones and hurts me very much.) there were smells, the constant staying on guard with all of the kids, especially Daniel, the not knowing what was going on about the parade and then the last bit with Daniel running almost head on into a car pretty much caused me to be done. But I had to snap out of it and help my Mom recover. I knew that Daniel was going to have a rough time when we left him and Joshua at home so that added anxiety weighed on me and I told David how to help Daniel because he was having auditory processing issues and he had just gotten scared with the dogs. I proceeded to give a detail description to David of everything that Daniel may do because of this “so please do not get upset with him and he is not misbehaving”, were the words that escaped my lips.
David being the great guy he is just nodded his head and said “Ok, it will be fine.”
So us girls headed out and the question that my Mom and I both hate, despise, detest, abhor “Where should we eat?”. We left it up to Ariel. We drove about 20 minutes to civilization, during which time my Mother decided to take a route that she never takes but it is the route that I always take. I was confused because she hates this route and when she made a wrong turn I thought that she knew what she was doing. Well she did not know what she was doing and then got frustrated because she thought I knew what she was doing, I stayed calm and told her to just turn around. We did and we got to the correct turn but in the mean time I was explaining to her that I had no idea why she would go that way when she doesn’t know it and she was explaining to me that she took it because she didn’t want to hear me ask why she was taking such a long way to get there. Neither of us had shared what the other was thinking, we just assumed the other knew until the turn. I explained to her that I had already had it in my head that she would take her normal route because that is the way she goes.
We were trying to help each other have more peace for the day in our own way and figured the other knew what was going on.
Finally we made it to our destination, Ariel decided on burgers and we got out to go to the restaurant. We walked in and were assaulted with acoustics from hell! The place was so incredibly loud that my brain went black and fuzzy. I couldn’t think, I started getting nauseous and felt as if I was going to faint. My Mom saw my face and said “Should we go?” I looked at Ariel and she had her hands covering her ears saying “It’s too loud!” We high tailed it out of there and then got frustrated again because we had to find a new food source. I decided on something quick and easy, but my Mom didn’t know where it was and I told her it was right down by the light, two minutes away but she was flustered, I can’t even remember what was going on at this point but it was so bad that I said “Should we just go home? I am almost in tears and I don’t know.” My Mom was not yelling or being mean which would have been what happened in the past and I wasn’t being rude or hateful to her which would have been what happened in the past.
My question actually made my Mom laugh.
Which in turn made me laugh and we decided to give it a try to keep going, we had to for Ariel. We had to make this into a good day for her! It HAD to happen. We went in and for some strange reason people were standing in one line, I saw two other cashiers with no one, in the middle (we were at Chick-fil-a) I then said out loud without realizing it until my Mom laughed, “This is silly, come on, no one is over there.” as I excused (plowed nicely) through the line with Ariel. We ordered in two seconds, the heavens parted, it’s ray of light shown down on a booth (which my Mom loves booths) in a fully packed restaurant and we were guided by angelic beings to our safe place of solitude. After we ate we felt much better, all of us had low blood sugar and were cranky because of that, then we laughed at ourselves for how silly we can be. At this moment we said that this is the part of the Asperger’s traits that gets to us sometimes, we just want to be able to go out and not be so overloaded that it can ruin our day. It’s the sensory stuff that really sucks sometimes. We like our Asperger’s traits. (I hope this came out right, I am not sure how to word it properly.)
After all of that we headed out.
As we were trying to leave though, there was a trash loiterer, ripping small pieces of paper off of his ice cream cone hovering over the trash so no one could use it. It went on for quite a while, I just went across the place to the other one that had no one. As I walked over a person cut in front of me to get to the trash. I was taken back wondering if this was at all odd or was it just me. I think it was odd, I was finally able to throw the trash away and we could leave. THEN we went to Micheal’s craft store, very crowded chaotic but a store my Mom loves so we went and I was so out of it I was saying all kinds of ridiculous things. One time Ariel asked me about this 3D chalk stuff, I couldn’t explain how it worked, my brain was fried, my Mom jumped in and tried and then I said without thinking and rather loudly “It doesn’t matter it never works anyway.” My Mom lost it and started laughing really hard, I didn’t know what she was laughing at, at first, then I started laughing at my comment.
After Micheal’s we went to Wal-Mart, we are quite insane, I admit.
By the time we got to Wal-Mart we had already prepared ourselves to be completely overloaded but we had to go because we told Ariel that we would. While in that place, the TV’s hanging from the ceiling bombarding us with ads made me dizzy, the lights made me sick, the sounds and smells were causing me some serious pain and while in the produce section I say to my Mom “Oh, I need potatoes, I wonder if they have any here?” I was standing in the middle of them! That is how disoriented I was, this too made my Mom laugh and helped me snap back a bit. She had her fair share of sayings as well but I can’t remember them now. We were quite the comic relief and even though all of this stuff was going on Ariel was pretty happy. She too was hit with all of this stuff and needed to sit in the cart the whole time, while in the car on the way she stared off and on and when we got home she collapsed on the couch, needing to just stim on Scooby-Doo. I will add here that Joshua was having a hard time too but David helped him to focus on Lego’s when he got home and that seemed to helped him quite a bit. When he gets overloaded he shuts down and that is what he was doing right before we came home from the parade.
We started at 9:30am and got home at 3:30pm, it was a very long day.
There were a lot of rough patches and when I got home I heard about Daniel’s as well. Then Daniel and I had our share for the evening because he was upset that I was gone so long. But all in all the day turned out great. Great in the sense, that my Mom and I understood each other, we were able to communicate what we felt and if we couldn’t we understood that we couldn’t and that it had nothing to do with each other. The last part of the day turned out to be fun, all three of us were exhausted but happy. Despite all of the rudeness of other shoppers that I didn’t even go into. Daniel communicated what he was feeling and later when I came home he told me why he was upset with me. The very good news is that neither my Mom, Ariel or myself had any meltdowns. That is HUGE! The other very good news is that Daniel’s didn’t last long at home, he had his moments, I told him he couldn’t hit or push or scream and that he needed to tell me how to help him, he told me and we fixed it. Each year is getting a bit better, we are able to do a bit more and actually have fun. The stress of the holidays is a lot but we are learning how to deal with them much better. Our work in progress.
I am very surprised at me, normally I have had at least three major meltdowns by this time into the holiday stretch and I haven’t yet…..knock on wood.