We had a little bit of a lazy morning on Saturday. There had been some thought about taking a hike, but the weather was gloomy and threatening rain, so we decided to just take it easy. Erin tried out a new recipe for paleo chocolate donuts that turned out delicious, even if some of them lacked somewhat in structural integrity.
So she improvised and took the more fally-aparty ones and made them into donut cups. With some drizzled glaze and sprinkles in there, I have to say this might be my new preferred donut format. It was pretty great.
In the afternoon, the boys and girls split up for a little shopping. Erin took Amelia to Target to get some summer clothes, and Henry came along with me to do some grocery shopping, also with a stop at Target to get some new clothes for him. He was a little hesitant to come at first, but I bribed him with McDonald’s fries and away we went.
He was in really good spirits, and we had a great time at Trader Joe’s. He loves to help out, asks what’s next on the list, and gets a big kick out of putting things into the cart. He also made sure to remind me (at least 10 times) to remember potato chips. And that I did.
I was enjoying have a fun little adventure with Henry, and looked forward to picking out some new pajamas with him. We got to Target, and here’s where things went in another direction. Henry can shift pretty quickly, and unfortunately this was one of those moments where he just suddenly and aggressively decided he didn’t want any part of picking out clothes.
Trying to turn things around, I excitedly pointed out all the fun characters…Mickey Mouse, Blue’s Clues, PJ Mask and others. He started yelling about wanting a toy, about wanting to see Mom and Amelia, about wanting a snack…about anything other than clothes.
And then when I was trying one last ditch to get him to pick something out, I turned around and he was gone. It was a pretty maze-like area of Target, and took me a few seconds to find him, which as any parent knows, feels like an eternity.
By now, Henry was really spun up and in total avoidance mode. When he gets into this state, he laughs and elopes (runs away) and long story short, I wound up chasing him around Target for a few minutes.
I finally caught up with him, held his hand, and threw a few pajamas into the cart I had a few other things to quick grab before leaving, and he was yelling and melting down as I did it. Screaming child in hand, I struggled through the store and out to the checkout and back to the car.
Once back in the car, Henry eventually settled back down. He wanted to listen to music from the movie Rio, so I gave him my phone and let him be the DJ. Within minutes, he was back to his good mood self. Me, I was feeling pretty rattled and down. You can probably even see it in my shoulder, snapped here in a random picture Henry took from the backseat.
When we got back home, Henry burst into the house, happy as a clam, saying what a great time he had. I was frayed to say the least. Yes, I am certainly used to working through Henry’s meltdowns, but that doesn’t make it easy by any stretch. And secondly, as silly as it may sound, I was sad. I was having fun with him, and was actually looking forward to picking out some clothes and having a little boys’ outing.
And looking back, maybe I shouldn’t have put that on Henry. Yes, I’m human and it was OK for me to be disappointed for having a planned fun time with my son not work out. But on the other hand, I know the winds can change quickly with him, and I wish I would have been a little more flexible in that moment. I kept thinking I could turn it around, but it could have been that the best idea would have been to just get those jammies another time.
I share this both to relate the goings on of the day, and also to say that as much as I’ve learned in my journey with Henry since his autism diagnosis, I am absolutely still learning. There are days I don’t feel like I get it quite right, and one of the biggest things I have come to understand in the past year is that it’s OK that I don’t always get it quite right.
After I got settled back home and got to making dinner, I was feeling better. Erin helped walk me through things. It was one of those moments where I felt bad about how bad I was feeling, but she reminded me it was OK to walk through those emotions.
The rest of the evening went swimmingly. We had some dinner, then watched a really fun new movie on Netflix called The Mitchells Vs. the Machines. It was really fun and funny and I definitely recommend it to families out there. It’s been getting some praise in neurodiversity circles because, without coming out and naming anyone as being on the spectrum, most of the characters could easily be seen as being on the spectrum. Most importantly, it’s just a clever, well done movie with a great cast. Check it out.