Sometimes I think I should give up writing/blogging. It seems that each time I write something either just before or after Fate and the goddess gives me a huge lesson in it. To keep me humble, maybe?
And so yesterday that lesson was in what RESPECTing my #neurodivergent little human looks like in our #HomeCrazzyHome.
The Winter Wonderland here opened on Friday. It is one of PanKwake’s favorite things. And yesterday we took her…for the first of many times in the next six weeks. It was also the Christmas parade and lighting ceremony. We got a bit of a late start as I was waiting for a grocery delivery that never came.
But once it was time…she got washed up and dressed…without a single reminder or ‘argument’. We collected all the things that we needed…gloves, socks, fidget cube, sleeping bag. And we walked down. We ran into some of our ‘adult’ friends. People that Cookie Monster and his wife had known for a quarter of a century. It was the first time that I saw PanKwake really carry on a conversation with them. Still a bit one-sided but pretty darned close to ‘interactive’. That back and forth volley…and waiting your turn to speak that so many see as manners and RESPECT.
Then we finished walking down to the parade route. We bought her a lighted spiny thing…she has dozens. After a couple of moments, she asked when the parade would start. I told her probably in 15 or 20 minutes…we were at the end of the route. She said there were too many people and noise and she did not think she could handle it.
This is the first time we showed her RESPECT. We did not try to change her mind or cajole her. We took her at her word and headed over towards the fun fair.
We walked through the mall portion of town because I had discovered this really good little food cart there earlier while I was out shopping and I did not want to cook when we got home. But PanKwake could not wait. So Cookie Monster waited in line while PanKwake and I walked on slowly. Second time we RESPECTed her needs.
When we did get there, the fun fair was busier than we are used to…much more so. Honestly, a year ago PanKwake could not have handled it at all. But yesterday she managed to ride the scariest, fastest, worse rides. We bought her a couple more sensory toys type things. And she went ice skating.
The whole time to the casual observer my little human looked ‘normal’. Of course, Cookie and I could both see the stress rising in her.
We had a near miss meltdown at the end. She wanted one final ride on this truly nasty spiny thing but the line was long. She and I both knew she could not wait in the line that long. But the fun fair…unlike most theme parks…does not have a set queue skipping policy for the disabled. It is left up to the individual ride operators. We were lucky…this one let her skip it. Honestly, she had probably waited just as long…just off to the side where there were less people.
When she got off, we started walking home. And then it came…
All that stress has to go somewhere.
And once we were away from the crowd…it was just the three of us…PanKwake felt safe enough to…
I always think that is the all-time best meltdown song ever.
Her legs were tired. She could not walk any further. Which is why we have a Maclaren Major special needs buggy. Except it had started to rain earlier…and despite having the rain hood, it had gotten a bit damp. I offered the sleeping bag but she would have felt it. She was ‘starving’.
We waited on a bench in front of a closed store for half an hour. We just talked while she played with the lighted, vibrating ball we had bought her at the fair. Then I pointed to the Domino’s just up the road. After a bit more time, she was ready to walk it.
Let me paint this picture a bit more…it is raining…it is cold. And it has taken us close to an hour to walk 1000 meters.
The pizza shop was meant for take-away and delivery so there was not room for her buggy in there. So together, Cookie and I took turns waiting inside with PanKwake and watching the buggy. She got her pepperoni pizza and Dr Pepper. After it cooled off, she ate the toppings off of it and we finished the base.
Then it was back to the buggy. Of course, with even more rain, it was NOT any drier. A bit damper in fact despite our best efforts. But with time to calm herself, those sensory toys, and food (never forget that one…it is more important than most people realize), reason had returned. I pointed to the taxi station across the road and explained…two minutes. Just two minutes in a dry, warm cab…and we would be #HomeCrazzyHome.
It was a wild shoot…but one that was doomed to failure. We did have a good laugh (we get to that one tomorrow) when after she told me NO emphatically, Cookie asked…
Would you rather…spend the day in a car…or go to school?
PanKwake choose the car/cab.
But the laughter broke the ice more and realized the worst of the remaining tension. We spread the sleeping bag, which had a damp corner itself now, as best we could…and off we went. Cookie Monster pushing PanKwake. It was a twenty minute walk with lots of ‘would you rathers’ and laughter. My back and hips were hurting from the cold (I really must get back to diet and exercise).
At one point, the hardest, steepest hill Cookie was pushing the buggy and I was behind him pushing him. I am sure that we looked every bit as Crazzy as we are.
At 9:15 PM, about five hours after we left the house and a good two and a half hours after leaving the fun fair, we finally made it home.
Then it was…water…and hot dogs. PanKwake has not eaten hot dogs since summer…but the fun fair or maybe the food cart made her think of them. So I take some from the freezer and make them up. She ate ONE bite. We joke and laugh about it.
I am hurting by then. Oh and just as I am drifting off to sleep…that vibrating, noisy, lighting ball comes rolling into the bedroom…
Prank you very much…PanKwake style.
I admit…I lost it a bit…and Cookie pointed out that might have been a bit over the top. But life goes on…
Hear me now…I am NOT complaining. I love PanKwake. I love #autism/#neurodivergence. I would not change her for the world. I actually am exceedingly proud Mama right now.
You see yesterday despite ALL that anxiety, stress, and sensory overload happening inside her young brain and body…she was the epitome of kindness and politeness to the world. She tried to help people up who fell on the ice. She waited in most of the queues. She spoke to workers and shop keepers as well as our friends with true #RESPECT. She gave due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.
Even as that pressure built inside of her. I do not encourage her to mask those feelings for the sake of others. Nonetheless, she choose to do so. So when she finally let them out, we were privileged and honored that she felt comfortable enough with us to do so. And that is WHY we are…
#HappilyAutistic and #ProudlyPDA at our #HomeCrazzyHome.
The thing is once you have…
Deep Understanding of the sensory challenges of #neurodivergence…
Accept that those are just the reality for your little human…
Then Unconditional Love and Respecting those differences just comes naturally.
Especially when you spice your life with a liberal dose of…