A couple of days ago was my son’s last Soccer game for the Spring Season. After the game, we decided to grab something special for dinner. For some reason Elijah LOVES Subway, so that’s where we decided to go! While there, he began to exhibit all the signs of a classic meltdown once he realized that we were not going to get Chips on this trip; since we chose to take the subs home.
The problem? Autism and its Routine
Routine dictates that a trip to Subway always equals a Black Forest Ham Sub with extra meat, lettuce, cucumbers, and Spinach, a Cookie, a bag of Chips and Water! That is what he gets, every time we go!
Except this time. Elijah didn’t seem to understand that I only wanted to get the subs and Cookies for us; nothing else, since we had Chips and drinks at home. I even tried to tell him BEFOREHAND that we would only get subs and cookies. Well, needless to say, that did not work out too well for me or him! Right before we walk out the door to head to the truck, he goes into full-blown meltdown mode! He is stomping his feet, yelling he wants his Chips “because he ALWAYS” gets them, clenches his fists, while his face turns red out of frustration and tears start to roll down his cheeks. He has lost all control of his surroundings and awareness! By now I am trying to grab the bag with the subs plus the bag filled with a dozen cookies without dropping them as I am wrestling with a 7-year-old who simply doesn’t understand WHY his routine was interrupted; and at the same time try to stay calm while maneuvering him, myself, the two bags with our dinner and my purse out the door without anyone getting hurt!
Right before we walk through the door, I glance over my right shoulder (I’m still not sure why I did that, but I did) and there it was: the LOOK!
A Couple sitting in the corner of the restaurant, trying to eat their dinner in peace while I and my son are obviously interrupting it, is giving me the LOOK!
The LOOK I dread so much!
The LOOK that says a thousand words and none of them are positive or encouraging for a mother with a child on the Spectrum; or ANY mother for that matter.
The LOOK that says:
- “That child is spoiled rotten!”
- “She obviously doesn’t discipline her child!”
- “MY children (would) never act like that (in public)!”
- “She doesn’t have her kid under control.”
- “You can’t sweet-talk a kid that acts like that!”
- “Parents these days!”
- “Why have kids if you don’t know how to raise them?”
The list goes on and on!
I dread that LOOK so much! It makes me feel as though I have failed my son. I feel as though I should do better by him. I should be able to ‘take away’ the Asperger’s and make him, dare I say it, normal!
But when the storm is over, he’s calmed down and he can see the logical reason mommy chose to only get subs and cookies I ask myself: Why would I even think that way? Why would I want to make him normal? Why would I want to ‘take away’ the Asperger’s? What is normal anyway? Why are people so quick to judge? What if it wasn’t the LOOK?
NO, it most definitely was the LOOK; however, it’s fine!
It’s fine, because this couple doesn’t know my son!
I wish the Couple only knew this about my son:
My son has High-Functioning Autism (formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome)
He isn’t the most coordinated (as many children with Autism) and he doesn’t necessarily enjoy sports as much as society thinks a young man his age probably should. He is on the Spectrum. It has been a trial-and-error journey when it comes to sports. He’s played Baseball for three seasons and he was quite the Batter, but after being hit in the face by a ball he’s had it with Baseball! Plus, he gets bored easily! So Baseball is a no-go (for now).
We moved to this area last year and he’s had to make all new friends; which isn’t the easiest for a child with Autism.
His thinking and reasoning is so logical that he could probably out-debate the most seasoned politician.
He loves with all of his heart! He cherishes the small things like the “Snowman blanket” he got from his Oma (German for grandmother) and G-Dad or the stuffed animal Turtle his Nanny and Pawpaw got him at the San Antonio Zoo. He adores his Tia (aunt) and gets super excited when he gets to talk to her on the phone. He can hardly keep it together when he realizes that either one of his uncles is on the phone and jumps all over his father just to grab the phone so he can say hi.
He has my grandfather’s ears and every time I look at Elijah I see a little bit of my Opa (German for grandfather), who’s passed away a couple of years ago, in him.
He has his father’s eyes. Those big blue eyes will steal your heart if you’re not careful.
He laughs with a full heart. When he understands a joke, he laughs with all his might and is unapologetic about it. I find that so beautiful.
He is extremely bright. He reads almost on the third-grade level and is only in first grade. He can spell most words he’s encountered correctly after only reading them once or twice. He knows his math and loves it!
He can build anything his imagination allows him to with Legos!
He is polite, says “Yes/No ma’am and Yes/No sir.” (For the most part anyway.) 🙂
He adores our puppies and misses our old dog who’s passed away a couple of years ago.
He LOVES dinosaurs and is quite serious about them, too!
He LOVES science!
He LOVES nature and animals!
He LOVES music! His taste in music is quite eclectic, too.
He LOVES taking pictures.
He LOVES to help; especially when he gets to do things with his father.
He is curious and constantly asks questions; which can get a bit overwhelming to say the least, but his curiosity and wits stuns us every day.
He is an amazing young man!
If you only knew.
Do you know the look? How do you handle the looks and stares?
Disclaimer: Everything I share is solely based on my personal experience and is for informational purposes only. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please view my disclosure policy.