Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Or the day shit just didn't work out right.

When I had originally set up my alphabet post ideas, I had E tagged for elevators and escalators.  Like most kids with Autism, my kid loves 'em. He's not super obsessed with them (yet) but he loves him a good button to push.  I had planned to spend a few paragraphs delighting in this strange fascination with moving boxes and stairs with some sort of analogy of being transported to a new place in life and development.  It would have been lovely, I'm sure.  But that's not what this post is going to be about.

Sunday was a bad day for Ben.  I mean a BAD. DAY.  He's been having some anxiety problems lately--his usual cycle of anxiety and frustration usually in response to growing, constipation or the cancelling of the Kennedy miniseries.  I get it.  We try to work with him. Usually a trip to the park or mall or just somewhere OUT OF THE HOUSE helps him burn a little energy and some of his stimming energy.

So, after a morning of whining, screaming, throwing scissors at my blade-paranoid husband and a general need for a STFU button, I declared that we would go to the park post-haste.  So we piled into the hybrid (thank god i made THAT purchase 4 years ago!) and peeled out to the park. Where there was much swinging (his other obsession) sliding, sand sifting and general mayhem.  It was good.  Mama got to rest her tootsies for a moment while the Old Man took on slide duties.  And then the weather turned brisk and sans sweater, I called an end to all park frivolities.

And like most toddlers,  little man didn't want to go. And in an effort to get him to listen and follow instructions, we let him bawl it out a bit.  Which didn't work and we had to haul him out of the sand pit anyway--only now he was crying AND being manhandled.  Awesome.

And in my sheer brilliance, I decided that we should continue with our original plan to go to the grocery.  How awesome am I?

It started out ok.  I parked on the lower level ("thru tunnel" according to Ben) to appease him, and so that he could ride the elevator.  Had you asked anyone else, they would have said, yeah!  that's a great idea.

And it was, until we were 10 feet away.

Before we were at the "sidewalk" and out of harms way--I forgot to mention that i call this particular parking lot "lose your mind lot" because people forget all propriety and their California Driving manual rules.  Anyway, before we stepped up to the curb that would somehow shelter us from inevitable Shriner-like driving patterns, Ben began to pull away from me and  like anyone with a conscience, I wouldn't let go.  In classic mommy mode, I stepped us up onto the sidewalk and got down to his level, trying to tell him that he had to hold my hand until we were safe.  THEN I would let him go to push the elevator button--the only goddamn thing he really wanted to do.  He didn't hear a word, pulled and bawled, and then I let him go.

But as he approached the elevators, one of them opened, negating the button-pushing.  And Ben lost it.


So I tried to calm him down while gawking grocers stepped by us wondering what kind of abuse was taking place, with CPS pre-dialed on their phones for safe measure.  And when the door closed i told him to push the button to light it up.  He did, only to have the other door open--which Ben was having none of.  He wanted the elevator on the RIGHT, and that was all that was acceptable.

And then the screaming began.  The blood curdling, terror ridden screams.  The kind that grab the attention of all who are near to ogle and wonder.

I believe at that point the Old MAn tried to get into the open elevator to negate the button again, but by that time it was too late.  Knowing it could only go downhill from here, I sounded the retreat and we headed toward the car.

At this point, Ben seemed calm--he actually stopped crying, and was taking deep breaths.  Ok.  A trip home, the ubiquitous pb&j and then a well deserved nap.   I'll hit the grocery later.

And then the mantra started:  "more grocery!  More Grocery!"  and it didn't stop, gentle readers, until @ a 1/2 hour AFTER we got home.

Worst. Elevator story.  Ever.

Ok, not EVER, but it was pretty fucked up.

Now, some Autie parents are sayin' "yeah?  big whoop!"--and they'd be right.  This kind of meltdown is typical and prevelent with kids with autism--and it isn't as if we hadn't been through this before.  But Ben had lulled us into complacency.  He hasn't had a meltdown like this in AGES, and, cocky, we figured it would have to be something HUGE to set him off.

And we'd be right.  Only our definition of huge and his would be vastly different.

This even may not have seemed huge to the rest of the free world, but it was HUGE just the same. So huge in fact,  Trump wanted to put his name on this elevator fiasco.

So, lesson learned.  That pesky meltdown can occur anywhere, anytime for any reason, and complacency is for the weak.

Oh, and to the old lady who tried to bring levity to the whole situation by shouting "stop beating that child!" as a gag, you can eat it.