I looked at my boys on Friday when they got home from school and realised that they were both long overdue for haircuts. I decided that it would be a good idea to get them done over the weekend because then I would have Mr Patient around to help me. But yesterday he had to go into work, and what was supposed to only be a few hours turned into 13 so he obviously wasn’t able to come with us.
Now, I’m not totally stupid – I wasn’t going to take all 3 kids out to a crowded shopping centre by myself so I wisely waited until today (Sunday) instead. I figured that the boys would be fine with the change of plans. And yes, I know what all you autism parents are thinking right now!
Silly SILLY girl!
Normally I would have written a social story or talked them through this minor change at the very least. And I should have learned from the numerous times that I have done silly things like this before – that changing plans without prior notice NEVER goes well.
We pulled up in the car park and before our seatbelts were even undone, the tears started.
It took Mr Patient almost ten minutes to coax the already-past-it Harley out of the car.
But getting him to walk wasn’t going to happen, So he had no choice but to carry him.
We arrived at the hairdressers and she asked the boys who was going to go first. And before they could answer: Harley took off. He literally ran for the hills as fast as he could go. As you do when you have sensory processing disorder and you are confronted with being stuck in the middle of a crowded centre with strange noises, smells and bright lights.
So Mr Patient took Lucas and walked over to the hairdressers chair while I hot-footed it after Harley through the centre.
I eventually caught up to him and took my sobbing shaky little boy over down a quiet alleyway and stroked his head until he calmed. There was clearly no point talking to him. So I devised a quick plan in my head and we walked over to the nearby $2 shop where I bought him a squishy angry birds toy to squeeze. It seemed to do the trick and we managed to walk back and I was finally able to talk to him and ask him what kind of cool haircut he wanted. My distraction worked and we seemed to be right back on track again.
And finally he gave us a smile.
Not long from then, his turn came and he sat down in the special seat and (sort-of) let the hairdresser cut his hair whilst he squeezed Mr piggy vigorously. He stayed put to our delight and came out looking gorgeous.
We all realised that we were hungry so we decided to go and grab some lunch and started walking towards the food court congratulating ourselves on surviving so far.
Until we heard that tell-tale moan that we’ve come to know that means that trouble is looming. We turned around to see Harley crying and flapping furiously.
We sighed and I picked him up and carried him down ANOTHER side alley and it took a while but I finally managed to get to the bottom of this episode….It tuned out that some pieces of freshly cut hair had fallen down underneath his collar and was itching him madly. I could see that he was close to another meltdown and I knew I had to act quickly and I also knew that I had come unprepared so had to duck into a nearby shop and buy him another shirt. I knew we’d never make it through lunch while he was in such enormous sensory overload.
So in ten minutes – with two of us holding him down and sprinkling baby powder on his neck and removing the old shirt and replacing it with the new one later – we finally made our way to the food court crossing our fingers, toes and anything else that we could think of!
But look at this:
It was short lived because soon he started to obsess about having ‘dirty’ hands and wiped them vigorously with baby wipes whilst demanding that we take him to a restroom so that he could wash them properly.
But it was a smile nonetheless.
So, we gave in – took him to wash his hands and then again after he’d eaten and started to walk back to the car.
I saw this and grabbed my phone to take another snap – moments like this are precious.
And here’s the bit where I admit that I got home and burst into tears of complete exhaustion and got down on my knees and yelled at God.
Not because I’m mad at Him. Not because I think He gave us a bad deal in life but because I can’t for the life of me figure out why on earth he believes in me as much as He does.
Why does He trust me so much?
I know He will continue to give me the grace that I need to keep on keeping on but honestly, after today….I think I might go to bed for about a hundred years! It’s all too bloody hard!