Saturday, 18 April 2015

A Side of Autism: Strangers Being Nice

I'm a huge fan of "Autism Daddy"'s blog and I remember reading once that someone tried to help him and Autism Mommy out with Kyle and it was kind of worse than being ignored or stared at.

I read it thinking, "I don't get it but I sort of do."

Now, after our recent trip to the hospital (7 14+ days ago), I get it.

V-Man despises hospitals, clinics, doctors and it doesn't matter if you're touching him, trying to listen to his heart/lungs, stabbing him with a vaccine or checking his ears - he hates you.
He hates the environment of hospitals and clinics and it doesn't matter that your scrubs are colourful or the standard sea also doesn't matter how many times you offer him a bucket of stickers either.

The only way to keep him relatively close for any amount of time and not having him try to bolt out the doors while we wait, is to have a phone fully charged and ready with his favourite Youtube videos.  They are indeed bookmarked on my phone.

I try to remember to bring a snack or two, a bottle of water and some item for him to fiddle with and keep him calm.
I'm lucky to remember his social security ID card for check in.

As was the situation last week couple of weeks ago - I dragged him out the door so fast - I forgot his card, forgot his snack, forgot everything and my phone was at 50%.

Not so smart.

After nearly drowning himself in water - based on how much he was drinking from the cooler in the wait room - and realizing I didn't have diapers for him (should he have an overflowing moment) - I played "mean Mommy" and said no.
"Sorry bud - you can't have more water because I forgot your diaper and who knows how long we have to wait for."

That's okay.  He decided he doesn't want water anymore but WOW check out the buttons on the vending machine beside the cooler for all those different kinds of pop!
  1. He doesn't drink pop - he's 5.
  2. He's tried it and doesn't like the fizzy feeling usually.
  3. He's never asked for vending machine drinks before.
  4. I didn't have any coins on me anyway.
I hate to sound like an un-grateful person - however this other patient happened to have a 2€ coin in his pocket and he sidled over and popped it into the machine and asked V-Man which one he wanted.
I didn't bother telling him he was autistic and doesn't drink pop and that he's only 5 and his mother forgot diapers and so on.

So I just tried to appreciate the fact that a complete stranger was treating V-Man like any other child and getting him a soda for the sake of making him happy.

V-Man got a bottle of Pepsi Next and was thrilled.  I was hoping HE would be happy with just having a bottle to shake and lick and drop repeatedly and so on.
But no.  Of course not - he wanted me to open it and let him drink it.

I thanked the stranger with the 2€ in his pocket and tried to calm V-Man who began a massive tantrum/melt-down over me not giving him pop.
Wow was I thrilled for the doctor to call his name 30 seconds (longest 30 seconds ever other than while in labour) later!

I guess my ideal outcome for this kind of situation is if the polite stranger had asked me if he could help by giving V-Man the 2€ to buy a bottle of pop - then it would have opened up the oppourtunity for me to politely and firmly decline it.
Not because I want to be a mean mom but because:
  • I don't want my kids thinking that if they cry and scream and fight long enough - they'll get what they want.
  • He's 5 and doesn't even like pop.  He would've had one little sip (had I let him) and made a face then pushed it away.
  • V-Man has to somehow learn that mommy doesn't always (hardly ever!) carry coins for these machines - sorry kiddo.
Never mind the fact that I've been cutting back greatly on my consumption of fizzy drinks!
I gave that Pepsi Next to SH when I got home.  

Well, once the doctor looked over his blood work to confirm NO infection and that the nose is most likely broken but nothing can be done until the swelling goes down - he was thrilled to leave.  And I can't blame him.

Anyway I'm off to bed - busy week coming up!

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