Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hot and Bothered (The Mother of ALL Melt Downs)

Wednesday is the day we go to the Sensory Gym.  I leave work early, run to pick up The Boy and take the bus up to Riverdale.  (catch up on our Wednesday routine on AW 5/23/11 post - Guilt is Inevitable)

Anyway, today (Wednesday) has got to be the HOTTEST day yet.  And HUMID.  I mean - sticky, icky, sweaty, I want to be naked and run into an open fire hydrant hot and humid.

Today.  The MTA gods are against us.  We wait forever for our bus - we have to let six pass before the one we need comes.  We get off by Lehman College to transfer to the BX10 - but wait!  They changed the bus stop location due to construction.  So I run halfway down a street, dragging The Boy behind me.  

This time only one passes before the one we need arrives.  And even with these little hiccups, we are almost on schedule.  We still have time to sit for a quick slice of pizza before therapy.  But wait!

We're about seven stops away from the sensory gym and we get a call from the therapist; he has to cancel our session.  And we have to get off the bus and take another bus back home.  That's when it begins.  The Mother of ALL Melt Downs. 

meltdown on kingsbridge
The Boy starts to cry as soon as we get on the next bus going home.  I explain to him that there is a change in plans and that we have to go home.  But there is no consoling him.  People stare, shake their heads.  One man gets up from his seat and moves further back.  The Boy cries from 231st all the way to Kingsbridge (about 15 - 20 minutes).  When we get off (to transfer to another bus) I knew people were thinking "Thank God!" 

When the 2nd bus finally arrives (10 minutes later), The Boy is still crying.  Loudly.  And he's stimming (verbally).  "First home.  Then Donuts.  Then when Dad comes, in the car.  We go to Sensory Gym."  (we usually have pizza and donuts on Wednesdays) And repeating lines from the Little Critter book he loves I Was So Mad.  (He repeats lines from this book when he's mad or upset.)

I sat all the way in the back, not wanting to bother anyone.  But The Boy was so loud, everyone heard - even those in the front (of the double bus).  One girl kept looking back at me, shaking her head every single time.  The third time she does it, I prop up my sunglasses on my head and raise my arms as if to say, "What? Say something?"

And the whole time The Boy is crying, I'm trying to comfort him, console him.  Talking to him quietly in his ear, trying to explain that sometimes plans change.  But nothing matters.  Finally, I give up.  And just sit beside him, my face stoic, every so often I rub his back, his arms, trying to soothe him.  The Boy stops - eventually.  When he is ready (after a little over an hour of screaming and sobbing and stimming). 

Then after we get home and settle in.  After I cook and we eat.  And before I type up this post.  I cry.  And stop when I am ready.  (I'm much quicker - only 5 minutes.)  

So...if you're ever on the bus/train and you hear a kid screaming - DO NOT break your neck or shake your head in judgement of the parent or child. Unless of course, you are willing to get up and assist.  Because looking and judging (a) doesn't make the parent feel good and (b) isn't going to make the child stop.   

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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.