In light of the fact that I have spent the past three days scouring post-holiday clearance sales I thought it was a good time to revisit an old post I wrote several years ago. Even though my kids are older and not into as many of the Easter toys I still find enough good deals to make me feel like a winner. I am way too excited about the bag of Goldfish snack-packs I got for 30% off yesterday. Like, ridiculously excited. I may have had a horrible day otherwise, but at least I achieved victory over the Goldfish! I mean, come on, 30% off! But I must confess, even though he stopped being a member of our immediate family years ago it still seems wrong, very wrong, to walk past a 50% off Easter Thomas and not snatch it up. Oh, and for the record, he’s a Tank Engine. Thomas the Tank Engine, NOT Thomas the Train. He IS a Tank Engine, he PULLS a train. You gotta get these crucial details of life right, people! Anyway, let us embark on a clearance-shopping adventure from years past, but please keep in mind that it is intended to be tongue-in-cheek and MAY be exaggerated… a BIT…
We waited so long, with so much anticipation, that’s it’s a bit of a letdown when it’s over so fast. I was so excited, and lay awake at night dreaming about it, and jumped out of bed eager to experience… the post-holiday clearance sale.
Let me begin by explaining to you that over the past few years I have become VERY compulsive about saving money. Because, SAVINGS! Clipping coupons has become one of my hobbies, and I have to resist some hoarding urges when items are on sale. Not a crazy coupon lady by any means, BUT I confess I get a little too worked up and even tremble a bit when I debate how many to buy when something is on sale. I need to make sure I have enough to get me through until the next sale, because it would clearly be a tragedy if I had to pay FULL PRICE! Clearly. Oh, and those sales where you have to get TEN items to get the discount? They make me feel SO neurotic, constantly counting and counting again. Did I accidentally get 11? And HOW MANY SETS OF TEN WILL I NEED? And you would not believe the annoyance I feel when my $2.99 box of cereal goes on sale right after I bought it (even if I DID use a coupon). So just take my word for it that I take my clearance shopping VERY SERIOUSLY. So of course I get VERY excited when items are discounted the day after a holiday. Ridiculously excited. Because these savings are VERY IMPORTANT.
(Flashback to Toddler days)
When you are parenting a toddler with special needs simple little things somehow have the ability to turn into ridiculous struggles. For example, the diaper change. Toddler could have a full diaper that is leaking and sagging and cold and visibly uncomfortable but HEAVEN FORBID I try to slow him down to change that nasty thing. I suddenly become WORSTMOMEVERRRR. I have been known to pin him down with my feet to keep him still (taking great care of course to ensure he remains uninjured). Gotta get the job done somehow, right? The whole scene gets even uglier when there is poop involved, but leaving him in a soiled diaper is not an option. I have to remove any possibility that he might be inspired to engage in creative finger painting, if you get my meaning.
Toddler was especially angry during a recent diaper change and kicked and screamed and squirmed and flailed the entire time. You would have thought from his behavior that I had just told him that he could NEVEREVERGOOUTISDETOPLAYAGAIN. EVER. That’s how upset he was. I got creative in my desperation, and had to drape the entire length of my legs across his body to help keep Hurricane Toddler contained. My thighs pinned his feet and my feet held down his arms. It was an epic battle, one for the history books, but I fought valiantly. Significant progress had been made for Team Mom when Toddler suddenly was able to wrench his arms free. His wrath poured out in all its glory as he furiously began to push the diaper off his body. I continued to fight against him, and finally yelled in exasperation, “I…WILL…WIN!!!”
My preschool-age child had been nearby the whole time, calmly watching the whole chaotic episode. When the diapering was finally complete Toddler was rolling around on the floor, tears streaming down his face, still howling his protests, still without pants. And I sat in silence, exhausted.
Gazing at a screaming Toddler who was by now foaming at the mouth, Preschooler soberly asked me, ”Did you win?”
“What do YOU think?” I responded wearily.
After thinking for a moment, his response was simple, “I want juice!”
(This is a revised version of a post that appeared on my first blog many years ago. There are times as an Autism parent that we have to laugh, because if we don’t laugh we just might cry. This was one of those times. )
My toddler made a big scene in public yesterday. I LOVE it when he does that (insert sarcasm font). This time it was in front of his older brother’s ENTIRE preschool assembly. This meant that a large group of people trained in early childhood education got to witness my epic failure as a Mom. Totally not a boring morning.
Toddler has a hard time when we drop Preschooler off at school. Due to his developmental delays and sensory issues he has trouble with the chaos and quick transition of running in and out of the church building. He also finds it incredibly frustrating when he is not allowed to stay and play with the older children and all the wonderful toys. Many a day it has triggered a meltdown, and I have several choices as to how to handle it. Sometimes I simply sit in the lobby and hold him tight, trying to remain calm while we let his emotion run its course. Other days I have the energy to get him back to the car, but it is a struggle. He kicks, screams, and drags his feet the whole way, and then I have to physically force him into his car seat. When I don’t have time to wait it out I usually use the stroller because letting him walk or carrying him is too risky. You see, if carry him I run the risk of droppage (yes, I know, not a real word) when he starts kicking and squirming. And if there is droppage not only is there the possibility of injury, there could also be escapage, and if there is escapage then there would be runnage. And if there is runnage he could get hurt or disappear, and we can’t have that. Have you even seen a small child with Autism try to get away? They are FAST! I worry about it all the time. Unfortunately there are some inherent risks to using the stroller, because Toddler has grown and can now reach his feet down to the floor. Trying to push a resistant passenger in one direction while he is trying to scoot in another is no easy task. He is a tough kid, and has been known to knock the stroller over during one of his escape attempts. It’s just what he does.
A repost of something I wrote many years ago on another blog, when I was first facing the reality of having a child with undetermined special needs (he was later diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder). It still speaks to me now as I face difficult situations… or emerge from them and wonder how I survived. I think we are stronger than we give ourselves credit for!
One of my favorite authors is Corrie ten Boom. She was a Christian who truly lived by God’s command that we love one another. That was tested by the fact that she also lived in Holland during the time of Nazi occupation. She and her family helped hide Jews in their home and were instrumental in organizing the Haarlem underground that saved the lives of countless people. What an amazing, inspiring woman. She makes me want to be stronger, to try harder. I wish I could have met her.
In her book, “The Hiding Place”, she tells a story from her youth. While this tale is about strength in the face of death I think it is also applicable on a broader scale. As a teenager Corrie had witnessed the aftermath of grief after a small baby in her neighborhood had succumbed to illness. It left her young mind feeling deeply upset, confused and afraid. All those feelings tumbled out at the end of the day when her father came to tuck her into bed: