With our kids, we quickly figured out where we could take them and where we couldn’t.
What would set them off and what could be tweaked to make for a better experience.
So, for a long time, we haven’t done anything that was different. Anything that would push the boundaries or that we didn’t already know the outcome to. Which put us in a false sense of ease. Now, don’t get me wrong. The fact that we can go ANYWHERE without a meltdown is awesome. And we have worked REALLY hard to get the that point. But because of that, it made me think I didn’t have to be extra cautious about going somewhere new. Or because it was Tyler, that it would be easier, since he’s the one who isn’t so persistent on strict schedules or gets upset about going someplace new.
We had to go to the mall today. We hadn’t ever taken the kids to this one since the move. Justin was still in school, and Jaxson was in a good mood. Perfect timing right? We got a small diaper bag ready, with very little essentials since we were only going to be there for a few minutes. We walk in and there’s an escalator. OH! How exciting! Tyler has never been on one! We stop so I can take him up on it, and although he’s very stiff and nervous, he loves it! Even skips to the other side so we can go back down. 🙂
We do it once and go on our way. Sure, he wanted to keep doing it, but with some insistence, we kept walking. Well the security guy who asked if we needed help sent us in the complete opposite direction. Where we walked in at, it was like 10 feet from there… instead we walk a least 5 minutes in the opposite direction until we decide this isn’t getting us anywhere and after we had to walk by a fountain (which we didn’t know was there). We were able to get away from the water fountain… turned around and went back.
Had to ride the escalators again.
And again, he wasn’t TOO upset that he had to stop playing on them. One trip up and one trip down.
Talk to the guy… nope… it’s upstairs. UGH… at this point I’m getting pretty annoyed. There are so many people, lights, toys and things to play with that Tyler is having a hard time staying focused on just walking. He’s way too excited about all the new things to look at. I took him up on the escalator… and I’m not sure if it was the fact he “needed” to go back down, since that’s how we did it the first two times, but after we got to the top, he started SCREAMING bloody murder. Kicking his feet, flopping all over the place. We had to pick him up, kicking and screaming… he wasn’t making it easy to carry him. Everyone was looking at us.
I tried sitting him down, trying to calm him down… I thought the fact that it wasn’t the same set him off… he eventually got away from us and ran ALL THE WAY BACK to the escalators when we were feet from the place we needed to go. It was a nightmare. We finally split up, I took Ty and Tom took Jax… and found out that they don’t do what we needed them to do any more. So this whole half an hour chaos was literally…. for nothing.
He was fine going down the escalator… but as soon as he realized he wasn’t going back up he started again. Screaming, thrashing, rolling around, kicking, trying to get away from me. We haven’t had a day like that for a while.
Finally we got to the car and everything was calm again. I was so wiped out I had to lay down when I got home.
I did learn a few things though.
1: No matter how much I wish for Tyler to be… he’s not “normal”. If he could talk and understand me, that situation probably wouldn’t have been as bad as it was. Or if he wasn’t so over stimulated…
2: I really need to go back to being better prepared and over analyze things again. A few months ago me, would have known that Escalator was a bad idea. But Tyler has been doing such a great job with listening when we leave the house or being able to adapt to situations better.
3: My son didn’t have a meltdown. That was a tantrum. A few things I noticed… he didn’t scream the WHOLE time. He would stop randomly to check to see if I was looking at him, (sure he was still upset, but when they have a meltdown, they don’t look at me at all) to see that he was upset and to allow him to keep playing. It was goal driven. He might have been overstimulated and overwhelmed… making the situation worse. BUT… it was not just a meltdown. It wasn’t even mostly a meltdown.
Tantrums don’t happen too often with my kids when we leave the house. I couldn’t even tell you the last time either of them threw a tantrum rather than having a meltdown when we were out and about. Usually those happen at home.
None the less… it was a learned experience.
I am proud of Tyler for trying something new that he had never even seen before though. 🙂