Sometimes I look at autism and just want to scream "WHY ARE YOU SUCH A FREAKING PRODUCTION?" I know, parenting in general is hard. Quit your bitching Mama Fry but for once I would like to do a simple event without planning for it. No social stories. No video modeling. No endless talks about what's going to happen. I just want to say "Tuesday after school you are going for a haircut." and be done with it.
But it's never that simple in our world is it?
So I will spend fifteen minutes on the phone trying to get my kiddo an appointment with the one hair stylist that we haven't scared away in eight years. I will reschedule things in order to get him to see this woman because it's her or it's the kiddo being a long hair hippie. And did I mention her shop is located a good twenty five minutes away on a good traffic day from us? I love counting all the other hair salons I see of my drive over there, where my son is kiddo non grata.
I will then calculate the timing. He likes to have a few minutes in the waiting area to settle into all the whole sensory upheaval of it all. There is an awesome train table. For about a minute I can actually feel like he is calm and we're just doing a run of the mill hair cut.
Until she calls his name.
First start the indecision of where he wants to sit. She's pretty flexible and quite accommodating to him. I will give her that. Then it's a to long discussion of "cape or no cape". (If you can't wear it like Batman what's the point? I can get that.)
And so it begins. I'm poised ready to keep him in one place by any means short of duct tape and glue. Sometimes I'm practically smashed against him, holding him like life raft in a stormy sea. Then there are better days where he just clutches me fingers and arms. Either way this part is far from quiet. Begging, pleading and crying are all the norm. Sometimes all three of these come from me. I plead in my head on the drive over to just once make this okay. Make it less scary. Make it less confusing for him. Yes selfishly I would love an easy haircut but I'm a mom. I don't want to see my kid upset, crying great big blubbering tears complete with snotty nose. Who wants that? The little hairs stick even more then.
Finally he will be done and she will go for the hair dryer to blow off the loose bits like she always does with every other child's hair she cuts. I know this is her habit. I don't expect her to always remember that the mere sound of the dryer sends my kiddo running in fear. If I'm on it that day, I will block her reach to it and just sweetly request "no dryer just the brush please". He will rip the cape off and run across to the counter for his lollipop. The one he will never eat but because it's part of the routine, always take. I will settle the bill and tip this girl well. I will force a smile on my face even if I don't feel like it and say thank you and have a good day. I will try beam positive vibes to the other parents who are there waiting and have just witness this. I will pretend I don't care that they gave each other that "look". Cause I don't have the energy to worry about what they think. I will hope maybe next time will be better or maybe his hair won't grow as fast.
Either way, Mama is picking up a side of fries on the way home.