I really don’t know why I do it to myself.
Maybe it’s my sense of adventure seeking out a new challenge, or maybe I like pushing my luck as far as I possibly can to find out exactly where the limits lie or maybe it’s just because I’ve gone completely stark raving mad?
But whatever the reason – I surely didn’t have my sanity hat on when I decided to take all the kids to the shops after school to buy a fathers day gift for their Dad this afternoon.
Ugh! I really should know better.
Shopping and Harley just do not mix. They are a lethal combination and should only be attempted if the conditions are right.
Clearly they weren’t this afternoon.
And the stupidest part is that I have an unwritten list of rules permanently etched into my brain about this exact scenario but for some ridiculous reason – I decided to ignore it all and go for broke today!
Stupid stoopid girl Fiona!
And for those wondering about the abovementioned list – if I had had actually taken the time to write it down on paper – it would look something like this:
Rule number one: Don’t ever spring things on Harley without pre-preparing him first.
No exceptions. It’s ALWAYS a bad idea.
Rule number two: Don’t take him somewhere that he’s not familiar with.
Rule number three: Don’t take him somewhere unfamiliar when it’s unplanned and he’s hungry!
Rule number four: If you break all the above rules – be prepared for a kicking, screaming, hitting, punching child in the middle of the shopping centre.
The duration and location may vary but the meltdown whether large or small, loud or silent is inevitable.
This is because he is not wired to handle unexpected surprises that involve a massive onslaught on his sensory system. I know this yet I was selfish today and tried to squish my square peg child into the round hole that was my schedule.
But….we live and learn. There was a part of me that thought that I’d read him well after school this afternoon. I saw an agreeable, obedient happy child and I honestly thought that today would be different. He came out of school in a brilliant mood and I honestly thought I was on a winner.
So now that you’ve all giggled at the sheer ridiculous-ness of my misguided efforts – you have to stick around and read the rest of this rant and offer me your most heartfelt condolences in the comments even though I brought it all on myself
Just to set the scene – we were in the car park at school this afternoon and I let the boys run around on the grassed area at the front of the school for about ten minutes to burn off some energy. They climbed into the car and I announced that I thought it would be a great idea if we went together and bought the last part of Daddy’s Father’s Day gift since I have so much on over the next few days and wouldn’t have any other chance.
I told them that I would buy them something special for afternoon tea as a treat and that we only had to go to 2 shops. There was a little bit of moaning but not enough to make me pull the plug on the idea so off towards the centre I drove.
We arrived at the shopping centre and walked straight towards the food court so I could fill their bellies first in the hope that it would pacify them somewhat.
Ella decided that she wanted a caramel sundae from McDonalds and Lucas did too so we went and lined up.
Harley started flapping his arms with a frightened look on his face so I asked him what was wrong and he said that he didn’t know what to choose. He was quite upset and frazzled by the choices on the board so I narrowed them down and gave him the choice of only 2 things.
I asked him if he would rather fries or a sundae and if he wanted something sweet or something salty and he burst into tears. I had obviously overloaded him with the two-part question.
He slumped to the floor of the restaurant and gripped my leg crying and rocking back and forth saying “I can’t know…..it’s too hard, I can’t know……”
He had one hand clapped over his right ear and his other one was intermittently punching me in the leg. His face was stained with tears so I got down to his level and hugged him close for what seemed like an eternity.
This is one part of autism that I hate.
I hate what it steals from him and I hate that it renders him unable to function in even the most simplest of tasks.
People were starting to stare and I’m not ashamed to admit that I glared back at them protectively. My face dared any of them to come closer and be subjected to the wrath of the Mama tiger that was growling inside of me.
I heard the music blaring over the P.A.system and for the first time noticed that the group of teenagers over on our right were singing loudly along to it. No wonder Harley was melting down. This must have been agony for him.
I handed Ella some money and asked her to go and order hers while I sorted Harley out so she went and rejoined the line.
Lucas came and grabbed my other leg and asked me what a sundae was? (Can you tell we don’t get out much lol!)
Thankfully Ella was served quickly and she soon walked over with her ice-cream and I asked her if the boy’s could taste it and because she’s such a beautiful girl – she happily obliged and spoon fed them both a taste.
Lucas instantly decided that he wanted the same thing and I asked Harley if he liked it.
Great. We were making progress.
Then my brain vacated me for a split second and I asked my already overtaxed, undecided, frantic child if he wanted chocolate, strawberry or caramel topping?
Cue another session of flapping, crying and confusion.
“I don’t know what to pick Mummy, it’s too hard”
Oh Crap. I’d done it again.
My brain had DEFINITELY taken leave by now.
Why the hell did I tell him that there were 3 flavours? He like the caramel – why oh why didn’t I just buy him that and get it over with?
So guess what I did?
That’s right…I bought a plain, a caramel, a strawberry AND a chocolate sundae and placed them all in front of the kids and told them to have a try of them all.
Yep, I filled them to the brim with a heap of sugar and preservatives and hoped for the best!
I also reminded myself that I had to remember this when they refused dinner tonight and put the whole damn thing down to a learning experience.
And the father’s day gift?
The one that I could only get at THIS particular shopping centre?
Yeah, well….it didn’t happen.
I guess I’ll have to go back first thing tomorrow morning after the school and pre-school drop off.
And when you fill out the nomination for Mother Of The Year…..It’s spelt: