A lollipop made me cry on Thursday.
I took the kiddo for a hair cut. Most ASD parents right now cringe at the very idea of such run of the mill event. Yeah, hair cuts were dicey for a very, very, oh what the hell let's just let him be a hippie, long time. We found through the autism parent grapevine, a hairstylist who's specialty was "moving targets". She also sports the most warm and laid back personality and doesn't blanch when said client is screaming bloody murder in her face. She was the one that encouraged me to keep coming with him often. That he would get used to it the more we did it. Don't put it off. Don't have the kiddo look like Justin Bieber. (She was really right about that one. Even Justin Bieber doesn't sport that floppy mop top anymore. Plus, he's kind of a tool.)
So between this hair stylist with a heart of gold and the good sense NOT to use the blow dryer to clean off the strays because she knows it scares him, lots of OT work, a couple of social stories and the kiddo's teachers last year who arranged for the principal of the school to have a hair cut in front of them by a barber (I know right? Epic!), the kiddo now takes his buzz cut like a champ. It's become a pretty standard non event for us until last week. When the tiniest moment just seemed to hit me like a ton of weighted blankets. (Autism humor! I slay me!)
He hops off the seat and does a quick lap around the shop to regulate himself. Eventually he meets me up at the register as I pay and generously over tip his stylist. (She's worth every freaking penny and dammit I will keep her happy. Shut up and take my money!) She offers the big jar full of Dum Dum lollipops to the boy. He takes one. I prompt him to say thank you. He does. End scene.
Once we are in the car I text Daddy Fry with a message of that the deed is done. Even though they have been really good lately, well, I guess you could say I have hair cutting PTSD. I'm still a little dumbfounded when they go well and feel the need to report this to someone who can truly marvel at such a thing. By now the kiddo is buckled in his seat and unwrapping his lollipop. I turn around and ask him "What flavor did you get?" but I'm not really expecting an answer because the kiddo doesn't care. He NEVER eats them. It would mean putting it in and out of his mouth or sticking his tongue out to lick it, which never happens. He usually just holds it in his hand like some sort of small trophy and usually drops it on the ride home. I've cleaned up a ton of lollipops never eaten, covered in carpet lint and dog hair on the floor of my car.
He then rocked my world. The kiddo, who's oral motor tactile defensiveness is the stuff of speech pathology legend, put that mutha trucking lollipop in his mouth! I actually gasped out loud, which caused him to yank it back out in fear and confusion. I quickly said "Oh no honey. That's OK. Go right ahead! Give it a kiss. Lick it. It's yummy!" and gently prompted his hand back to his mouth. I saw the tiny tip of tongue come out and lick it. He smiled and I cried. Not just tears in my eyes. We are talking the ugly, snot bubble in your nose cry, right in the parking lot of a kid's hair cutting place. Then he gave me an annoyed sigh and rolled his eyes. Oh my god, he's so age appropriate at this moment! I even took a picture of him eating it and uploaded it on Instagram. I sent a text to his magic speech therapist that gets him to try ALL THE FOODS!! That's how excited I was in that moment. Tiny victories like that get me through the day. He finished it by the time we got home and handed me the stick. I still have it in the cup holder of my car. I look at it like a holy relic. I still can't believe it happened.
You know what this means? That all this stuff we do is working. That all this therapy is paying off. You know what also this means? He might actually eat his Halloween candy this year!!! Trick or treating won't just be an exercise of trying to catch him before he barges into some one's house. He might be excited to get some candy!
Kiddo, I will not touch your lollipop stash but I make no promises that you will have the same number of peanut butter cups when you wake up in the morning of November first as you did the night before. Candy Tax kiddo. We buy your costume. We pay your bills. You can spot Mama some chocolate.
Maybe it's ridiculous to get emotionally wrecked by my kiddo eating a lollipop but to me it represents just how far we have come. I'm going to enjoy our tiny victory and now try to figure out a way to explain to the kiddo to never take the "Mystery Flavor" Dum Dum. Cause I'm not sure what the Hell flavor that is.