Friday, July 2, 2010

Adventures in autism: balloon edition

A nice man at the store offered Bitty a balloon.

What could possibly go wrong? Let me count the ways...

I wanted to run screaming from the store. "Nnnooooooooo!!"

But that would probably be perceived as less than polite, so I didn't.

Instead, I repeated the question to Bitty, "would you like a balloon?"

"You wan' pink bawwoon?"

I looked at the man. Pleaselettherebeapinkballoonpleasepleaseplease.

He shook his head, "Sorry, we don't have any pink ones. How about orange?"

"You don' wan' da oweng one?"

"We have yellow, would he like a yellow one?" the man is probably regretting ever bringing up balloons by now, but this is just the beginning.

To my surprise, Bitty deems yellow an acceptable balloon color, so the man goes to get it for him.

When he brought it back, he offered to put it onto Bitty's wrist so it wouldn't fly away.

Strike 2. Bitty HATES tying anything on his wrist and squirmed away, refusing to take the balloon.

I offered to carry it for him, and peace was restored. Temporarily.

Yellow was not so acceptable once the balloon was in hand (or in mom's hand).

Bitty started getting agitated.

"Yewwow iss not good one. You don' wan' da yewwow one. You wan' to make it goner? Yeh, yewwow iss not good one. Iss time to keep it goner. You don' wan' da yewwow one. Da yewwow iss for goners!!"

And on and on. So I offered to "keep it goner" and went and found the man to give it back. Yeah, a little embarrassing but it was worth the look of relief on Bitty's face.

Things went ok from there, until we were checking out and Bitty saw the box of balloons behind the counter. He ran back there and started helping himself, sifting through them to see what colors they had.

Another guy was there and offered to blow one up for him.

Oh yeah, the whole color fiasco again. We were about to leave with no balloon when Bitty decided a white one would be better than nothing, so he ran back to ask for a white one.

He smiled and said thank you.

But then he decided white wasn't so great either.

He was getting more and more frustrated by this point.

"You don' wan' da WHITE one!!! Da WHITE-EEEEE iss not good!!"

We were finally done with what we needed, so I took the white balloon and started guiding Bitty toward the door.

He wanted to go back for an orange one. And a yellow one. I told him no and kept walking. I could see we were headed for a meltdown no matter what color he got, and wanted to get OUT of the store before that happened.

On the sidewalk outside, he started crying. "You wan' two bawwoons?... (counting on his fingers) ... you wan' seben bawwoons?"

Oh yeah, first the colors and now the numbers. Everything has to be seven. Or seventeen. Or twenty-seven. There is NO WAY I'm going back into that store.

As we got to the car, I put the balloon in first so it wouldn't fly away and he started screeching.

"If I don't put it in the car it's going to fly up to the sky. Do you want to let it go up to the sky?"

He immediately calmed down and nodded, "yes!"

So I handed him the string and he promptly let it go flying.

Not two seconds later he was crying again, "Nnoooooo!! Get da bawwoon!! No to da sky!!"

Ugh. I got him into the car and there we sat waiting while the meltdown ran its course.

He really wanted a pink balloon. And I really didn't want to deal with what was likely to be an evening-long cranky episode on a Friday night. I know the grocery store near our house sells balloons in their flower shop, because I've gotten them for birthdays before. I'm pretty sure they have all colors, so we should be able to find a pink one there. I offered to take him to get one if he'd calm down and buckle his seatbelt so we could leave.

Before we went in, I made him repeat several times, "ONE pink balloon. Just one. ONE pink balloon."

He repeated it the whole time we were there. "ONE pink bawwoon. Juss one! You ca' hab ONE pink bawwoon."

And whadd'ya know, we found out that the grocery store actually offer free balloons for kids (I would have paid whatever they asked at that point), and not only that, but they had the free ones available in PINK.

You know I was totally doing a little happy dance in my head when I found that out.

One happy Bitty... PRICELESS!! :)

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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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