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Friday, August 17, 2012

Shopping Hell

Janey has had a tough last few days, including her birthday. There's been periods of time each of the days where she has been crying non-stop, like in the bad old days. I mean completely non-stop hysterical crying, for hours and hours and hours. There are have been periods each day where she was fairly happy, but the crying has been big parts of the days, and it's been awful. She doesn't like to feel that way, and I know she doesn't know why she is crying. She does pathetically sad things to try to comfort herself, like telling herself to take a deep breath, or humming lullabies to herself. It breaks my heart. Today Tony took William to visit colleges, and I decided to do absolutely nothing but try to keep Janey happy and active, and to do whatever she wanted, sort of a second birthday that was just hers (she shares her real one with Freddy). It worked pretty much until 3pm, which has become the Hour of Evil where she starts to lose it every day. I took her to the splash park in the morning, to McDonalds for lunch, we snuggled a lot, I played with her, watched Yo Gabba Gabba with her a lot---and I was hoping it would all break the crying trend. I took her at 3 to Sears to ride the escalator there, the closest one to us. She had been asking and asking for that. Something about the store set her off badly. At the top of the escalator, she started screaming, crying so loudly that literally the whole big store was looking at us. I grabbed a dress I had been wanting to get her, on a huge sale, and ran to the register. Dumb move. As we waited less than 2 minutes for a cashier (you get quick service with a screamer, they opened a new register), the woman behind me in line felt the need to tell me that Janey needed to go home, and then started loudly saying "SHHHH" to her. I felt like punching her, or at least explaining to her we had been in the store literally 3 minutes at that point. But concentrated on just getting out. Then the cashier felt the need to roll her eyes to another cashier and sigh loudly as she waited on us. At that point, I lost it. I am not a yeller. I do anything to avoid seeming rude or being confrontational. But I couldn't stop myself. When I am REALLY upset, something takes over. I said in a very loud voice (maybe yelling) to the cashier "She is autistic. I am shopping as quickly as humanly possible. She needs school clothes just like anyone else, and I do not have any babysitters. Therefore, I must bring her with me. I'm sorry she is bothering you" The cashier, taken aback I am sure, said nothing but a sarcastic "Have a nice day!" as we left, with the eyes of every person in the store on us. If you know me in person, you know this was my nightmare. Literally, one of the worst moments of my life. And you know that when I got to the car, I started doubting myself. Why did I take Janey to the store? Why did I try to buy anything? And then, still mad, I started answering myself. What else am I supposed to do? What I said to the lady was true. Should I just keep Janey at home at all times, to avoid bothering anyone? Isn't that what people used to want people with kids in wheelchairs or kids with Down Syndrome to do? Why doesn't Janey have a right to be in public? Of course her crying is tough. But you would think that people would realize I am doing everything I can to minimize their exposure to it. That sometimes, I have to try anything, and I thought the escalator shopping might work. That there are many kinds of people in this world, and although Janey is loud when she is crying, she isn't a spoiled brat or a mean kid. She is autistic.

Well....that was a long rant. Obviously I'm tired and upset. I know these weeks without school are tough for Janey as well as me. In fact, the day before her birthday, when I asked her to guess what the next day was, trying to hype her up, she said "A school day?" very hopefully. So we will make it through, someone. But I won't forget today anytime soon.

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