I love this picture... I wish I could tattoo it on my forehead! Not just for moms with kids who have autism, but for every mom. The worst part is that I'm sure I was that person at some point in time, before I realized that raising kids was nowhere near as easy as I thought!
I think every mom feels this way at some point in life - when you're in a store, restaurant, walking into daycare - and your kid throws a tantrum and there you are, feeling the STARES coming from all around.... Deep Breath Now! I hate that feeling and when you have a child on the autism spectrum you get it any time you go any where.
I made the decision to take the kids to a fall festival at work last week. I knew it wasn't going to go well, but I figured it couldn't be too bad... LOL. The day started with JD not having ANYTHING to do with his pirate costume, it's that rayon material so I'm sure it totally freaked him out when it touched his skin. Strike 1 - it's ok - I've got Plan B - Halloween shirt with a skull on the front - good thing mommy is always prepared! :)
We get to the festival and there's a guy twisting balloons. JD waited in line patiently and I was impressed. Then came the carnival games... oh lord, I laughed as the nice lady volunteering tried to explain to my three year old son that he had to stand on the taped line to throw the little baggies into the hole two feet away. I let her make the effort, hoping he would somewhat listen, but he just did his own thing, running them up and throwing them directly into the hole... she was fine with it - we're still going strong!
Then comes the face painters... let the fun begin. We ask JD if he wants to get his face painted and he says yes, but when he gets in the chair he FREAKS out as the lady starts putting paint on him. The screaming and crying begins and the poor lady looked at me like, "I'm SO SORRY - I swear I didn't hurt him!" I explained to her that he has sensory issues so he probably hated the feeling of the paint on his face. We moved on... ok Strike 2... no worries, I can handle this.
Next stop was walking through the different "haunted houses" on each floor. Of course I pre-walked them before he got there to make sure he'd be ok and not terrified, that there were no loud noises or people jumping out. We were good to go on four out of five, so off we went. Now - I work on a five story building and each of the haunted houses started when you got off the elevator. JD HATES elevators, so as we got in he cried a little, but as we went up each floor it got worse and worse. Finally at the top floor a lady turned around and asked me, "What did you do to him?" REALLY???? ARE YOU SERIOUS??? That's when I want to hand her a big sign that says, "dumbass - my child has autism - get over it." But I nicely smiled and walked away, saying he doesn't like elevators. Strike 3... ok, mommy is ready to go home.
I feel like this happens in some shape or form every day. But you know what, it doesn't make me mad, it makes me realize just how oblivious people are to the reality that not everyone in this world fits into the perfect little box. I'm just glad that I'm no longer that person. If I see a child having a tough time, or even an adult needing help, I don't judge them for being different. I'm just happy that they're here because our world would be a really boring place if we were all the same!