One word: NOPE!
Once you have kids, you no longer have the ability to browse. That new ability turns into anxiety, which turns into a panic attack.
Let’s reminisce on the past for a second. Remember when you could spend half the day walking through a store, reading books, and smelling each fragrance of a candle available? Do you remember that? Can you still do that when you’re shopping with kids? How about kids with special needs? How are my trips different than any other parent with kids?
Before we get into that, do you know the difference between a meltdown and a tantrum? Check this out before you continue.
Imagine pulling into the parking lot of your favorite grocery store, thinking the day couldn’t get any better. The entrance you normally go in doesn’t have parking spaces with feasible walking distance with kids. You find a close enough park, to where you don’t have to walk too far with the kids, at a different entrance.
Let me remind you that this is a wonderful day….
You get the kids out of the car and begin to walk towards the door. As you become closer, you notice the attitude of one of your kids is shifting in the wrong direction. You start to walk slower to the door, but not to slow.
When you finally get to the entrance, one of your kiddos is having a full blown meltdown/tantrum-at the entrance. The doors can no longer close because your kid is lying on the ground at the entrance and people are starting to stare.
Not only is he lying on the ground in the fetal position, but he is screaming at the top of his lungs. This behavior only triggers your second kid to begin to cry. Now, you have two crying kids at the entrance of this grocery store. Clearly, one is feeding off of the other…..
What do you do? Why is this happening? How do you keep others from staring and whispering about how you needing to have better control of your kids? (Clearly it’s not a whisper if you can hear them saying this.) How do you keep control over YOURSELF from crying or punching someone in the throat for making a comment on something they don’t know anything about?
Individuals with autism do not like change. Once they experience something in a certain way, they expect it to be that way every time they encounter it and going to the grocery store was no different.
Hayden was used to going through a certain entrance of that grocery store and when we were unable to, he panicked. The entrances may be the same to us, but to him it was a different experience that messed with his overall senses. With him having a sensory processing disorder, I can see how he would react as such.
So, how did I get him up? Eventually, employees came to see what was going on and after explaining to them about autism they understood and kind of steered traffic until Hayden got himself together, which wasn’t too long afterwards. I was always told to have snacks with me when we go out, which I did but neither kid wanted them at that time. Go figure…
How do I keep my emotions together? I take deep breaths, laugh it off or look as mean as possible until I get home and then I cry. This is one of the many experiences that many cannot possible understand unless you are physically in my shoes. . .