Saturday, November 29, 2008

Reality check on aisle 7

It's been a while since we've had a full-blown meltdown in public. Now we know why. I hadn't even realized it, but we hardly ever go anywhere with all the boys anymore other than the park. Grocery store? Maybe a quick stop here or there, but dh does the grocery shopping while they are all in school. Mall? Ha! I can't even remember the last time we went to the mall. We used to take our twins to the play area at the mall but we gave up on that a long time ago. Restaurants? If we're eating out, we get take-out and eat in the car.

So there you have it, the real reason we don't have meltdowns in public much anymore. Until Wednesday night anyway. We decided to take the boys to the toy store so they could show us what they'd like for Christmas. We've pretty much finished our Christmas shopping, but we really just wanted to get out of the house for a while (and maybe confirm that they'd like what we already got, lol).

Things were going fine until Bitty saw this:

I managed to pull him away for a second, but then he saw this:

...and then he was back to the first one. He tried to pick it up and put it in our cart. After all, he had just gotten through tossing 5 different play-doh sets into the cart on another aisle (guess we'll be getting him some play-doh for Christmas, I can take a hint). He knows how this works, anything you want to take home needs to go into the cart (keeping it in the cart is tricky as mom and dad have gotten pretty good at "disappearing" things before reaching the checkout, haha).

The box was pretty big and heavy though, and he was struggling to even pick it up, much less attempt to get it into the cart. I tried to humor him by carrying it and moving on, but he wasn't having it. Maybe he is wise to the toy-bermuda-triangle effect that seems to haunt our carts. Maybe he is just impatient. He decided he preferred to open the box right then and there.

By this point, dh and our older boys were well ahead of us. Cuddlebug was busy following the curious blue arrows of tape that had been placed all over the floor.

He was more interested in the arrows than the toys, and insisted that we follow to "see where they lead." I heard this in the background as I struggled to cajole Bitty into moving along so we could catch up. Mr. Bitty is nothing if not persistent, and I could see that the time for gentle diversion was over, now it was time for The Last Resort.

By this time, dh was headed back toward us with Bearhug and Cuddlebug. I picked Bitty up and carried him (while pushing the cart - quite a feat, eh?) kicking and screaming over to the train table. The reason this is The Last Resort is because although all of our boys love to play with the trains, it is almost impossible to get Bitty to leave them again without a major meltdown. But since we were already in meltdown mode, we really had nothing to lose at that point.

Bitty calmed down as soon as he saw the train table (yay!) but got upset again as soon as he realized it was just the table and no trains (ugh!). Typically, the toy store has a few engines and train cars on the train table for kids to play with while their parents shop for overpriced valuable trains and train accessories. What kind of Toys'R'Us puts out the train table with no trains?!? Not only that, they had a separate table, under a clear plastic cover that was fully stocked with out-of-reach trains. Nice.

Bitty was understandably upset. Dh tried to distract him, and I tried to calm Cuddlebug who was very agitated that we were no longer following the blue arrows. He found some nearby and was bouncing up and down wanting to start following them again. Bearhug wanted to go look at video games.

Dh took CB and BH to the video game section (luckily, the blue arrows were pointing that way) and I stayed with Bitty. He didn't understand why there were no trains, so he kept pulling trains off the hooks wanting me to open them. Each time I told him I couldn't. Then I pretended to try to open them and told him they were "stuck." I tried to distract him with other things, and I tried to get him to leave the train table to go "look for" Dada and his brothers. Not happening.

Finally I gave up. I made one last attempt to get him to come with me willingly, with no luck, and then I picked him up and started moving. He started screaming and yelling "ehp! ehp!" *groan* that's his version of "help! help!" Lovely. I didn't make it far carrying him b/c he is so heavy now, and when he's squirming around screaming like that it's almost impossible to hold him w/o dropping him. So I put him down and started pushing the cart. Lucky for me, he didn't run back to the trains. Instead, he started screaming and trying to pull the cart back.

He was hanging from the cart's handlebar, screaming at the top of his lungs, and people were staring (guess I can't blame them). I was thinking to myself, "gee, it's been a while, can't say I missed this," as I kept walking, trying to keep Bitty on his feet instead of hanging on the cart. He realized that wasn't working and dropped to the floor. He started pulling the cart over his legs (by pulling on the bottom part of the cart) and I wanted to let go so it didn't look like I was trying to run him over with the cart, but I had to hold on to try to push it the other way to keep him from hurting himself.

I managed to pick him up again and that time I was able to make it all the way to electronics before I had to put him down. I found BH and CB pinging off the walls and pushing each other, while dh tried to keep them calm. We gave each other "the look," yep, time to get out of here NOW.

Thankfully, as soon as he realized we were leaving, Bitty started to calm down. He was apparently ready to go home. We got everyone out to the car and as we have done so many times before, asked each other, "what were we thinking coming here in the first place?!"

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Rebecca on November 30, 2008 at 11:57 AM said...


I can so relate.

Kim on November 30, 2008 at 1:22 PM said...

I have a hard time taking one out in public. I can't imagine trying to do it with three. I swear there are times I don't leave the house for a week.

I am thinking maybe there were trains on that table at one point and some other kid might have pocketed them. Or maybe they didn't put any on the table thinking someone would do that.

Kim at Life With Meechi

CC on November 30, 2008 at 2:30 PM said...

Oh boy. That would cause a tantrum for most kids! My son saw those pics on my computer when I read this post and immediately recognized the Polar Express.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reality check...not that I was happy to hear about it, but it's nice to know that we aren't the only ones who don't have issues in public because we often stay home. x3??? I can't imagine!

Debbie Yost on November 30, 2008 at 9:04 PM said...

Oh you poor thing. Bless you! That must have been so miserable for all of you. ((HUGS!))

Meg on November 30, 2008 at 9:18 PM said...

My goodness. What a day you had! Our ToysRUs does that with their train tables, too, I hate it! But, like you, we really limit where we go.

My guy can sometimes handle the toy aisle in a store like Walmart or Target (though we can't go into those stores and NOT go to those aisles), but not a full toy store, no way! I've carried him out of more than one store, kicking and screaming. SOoooo much fun!

hellokittiemama on December 1, 2008 at 1:03 AM said...

Ah yes... I can fully relate.

I take it you went to Toys R Us, eh? The arrow looked like the ones that they taped down to map out for the CHECK OUT line for black friday. I went (without kids) and waited in line for 5am opening to get deals.... when I was ready to check out 30 minutes later the line went all the way back past the babygear department and I got to play follow the arrows also....

Anonymous said...

OOOhhhh, thank you for that post.

I've so been there. Still there.
The part where Bitty's upset about the trains, Cuddlebug is agitated about the blue arrows, and Bearhug wanted to look at video games -- that's the part where I laughed... and then cried.

Goldie on December 2, 2008 at 7:35 AM said...

What a scene! Ohhh, i had to laugh in amusement and shared pain. I have had days like that, too! (which is why we also try to avoid going out w the kids much)

People steal the trains at Toys R Us. It's so so so sad. Ruins it for the other kids. Just the train-less table alone was enough to produce a meltdown for us once.

rickismom on December 3, 2008 at 5:19 PM said...

Yes, reality checks are hard sometimes. Although my daughter (Ricki, age 14 , DS+ADHD)) is not on the spectrum, we have our own set of melt-downs and behavior issues. It is getting better as she gets older (and with behavior work), but I still think twice before going into big stores....

Genevieve Hinson on December 3, 2008 at 6:34 PM said...

Oh I remember these days -- I just didn't understand the cause of the tantrums at the time. (Son wasn't dx until 13). I'll never forget the one in the parking lot. Oh boy!

Glad you all made it home okay :)

TestKing on March 11, 2009 at 3:02 AM said...

Just I'm thinking maybe there were trains on that table at one point and some other kid might have pocketed them. Or maybe they didn't put any on the table thinking someone would do that.


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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.


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