A Tale of a Special Needs Parent

Take one

Kids can be embarrassing, am I right?!

Nothing gets you over embarrassment than being a parent, especially of a special needs child.

Let me explain.

Yesterday began just fine. Nothing out of the norm.

We did have a blissful weekend of lazy mornings, so maybe being back in the swing of things made for a rough transition. After all, transitions and autism don’t always mix. They rarely do.

School mornings are very routine. I won’t bore you with the details, but they consist of lots of singing and dancing. LOTS. OF. SINGING. I’m basically a Disney freaking princess at this point.

For those who don’t know, Brynn, our daughter, takes A LOT of comfort in music. But, she’s also very particular (aren’t we all?).

Anyway, after all the singing and dancing and getting ready for school, we wait for the bus.

Oh, the bus.

That’s a whole other routine.

Routine. Routine. Routine. One with autism takes routines to a whole other level.

As we wait, I play a highly preferred song (by Brynn) on my phone.

Then, as we approach the bus, I get her amped to swipe her bus card. I think she feels pretty important, as we all would as a kid getting to swipe a card to enter and exit a bus. Right?

Then. Then…either she sweetly sits in her seat OR a fight ensues. I never know what we’ll get, it just depends on her mood.

Luckily, the bus driver and I have a good routine now.

We quickly sense what kind of experience it will be. Will we get sugar or spice?  If she’s sweet, she receives over enthused praises, because we want to reinforce any and all positive behavior. If she’s spicy, the bus driver jumps up and holds her arms for me to keep her from pulling my hair or scratching me. At the beginning of the school year, he voiced how much he hated “restraining” her, but I reminded him I gave him permission to and it only helps me while I make sure she’s safely secured. He has succumbed to my ways.

You’re probably wondering why I even bother with the bus? Well, want to hear something crazy? She WANTS to be on the bus!!! Do you want to pull your hair out, like I do? She wants to be on the bus but hates the transition away from me. Therefore, her emotions are all over the place. Poor kid.

Did I mention transitions are rough?

Yesterday was an okay day getting her on. It wasn’t the worst but wasn’t great either. She did calm herself down and asked for a hug, so I thought maybe things would turn around and she wouldn’t scream the whole bus ride.

*fingers crossed*

I usually feel a little guilty as the bus drives away, because there’s a sense of relief as I get to face the day without all the stressors that come with parenting Brynn. Yes, I said it, but I warned you on our intro page, I’m transparent…possibly, to a fault.

Yesterday morning, I was more eager for the reprieve than usual. Why? Pace and I were headed to Target after Brynn was off. That’s right, I’m as cliché as it gets when it comes to be a full-time mom.

I. Love. Target.

Pace loves Target.

We all love Target.

Also, Costco.

*beginning to feel faint from a dopamine high*

After a potty trip and smoothie making we proceeded towards our happy place.

Just as I was about to turn into the Target parking lot, my phone rang. Reaching for the decline button I realized I knew the number. It was a call from the school district. I’m very familiar with getting calls from the school. They’re typically from the nurse informing me Brynn tipped back in her chair and hit her head.

“I’ve been observing her and icing her head and she seems okay, but just keep an eye out for vomiting or if she’s overly tired…yada, yada, yada,” says the nurse.

I know, I know, I seem insensitive, but I know my daughter well. Most of what she does is attention seeking. She’s a bit melodramatic, as well, so I’m certain her trips to the nurse are very welcomed by Brynn.

Back to the call. It was only 8:22 a.m. School hadn’t even started yet.

“Hello, is this the parent or guardian of Brynn,” the voice on the other line greeted.

Awaiting my fate, I answered cautiously, “Yes.”

“Hi, this is so and so from [enter school district name here] transportation department…”

“Shit,” I thought to myself.

She continued, “We need you to meet Brynn’s bus at [enter cross streets here]. They are pulled over because Brynn is not being safe on the bus.”

Cool, cool, cool. My nightmare is coming to fruition.

Of course, they were just blocks from our house, and I was across town yearning for my Target fix.

*guilt sets in*

“I didn’t even ask if she’s okay. I’m a terrible mother. Stop it, Melissa. Don’t beat yourself up. Just get to her,” I thought as I drove.

Pace sat in the back confused why we weren’t at Target.

“Mommy, we go to Target store?” he asked.

“Not right now, I have to find Brynn,” I explained.

With a perplexed look on his face he replied, “Brynn at school, mommy.”

I love toddler logic.

By some miracle, I was able to follow the directions given by the woman on the phone by memory and found the bus. I say miracle, because after our recent move I’m still familiarizing myself to our new area.

I pull on the street to see her bus, along with 2 others transferring kids from her bus onto theirs.

I ran. As I stepped in, I saw her stuff scattered everywhere. Including her clothes.

Yep, you heard right. Her clothes. All of them. Shoes too.

Girl was busy.

She was sobbing in her seat, covered in an adult’s coat while being comforted by a fellow female bus driver.

Bless these people. I’m pretty sure her bus driver is traumatized for life.

I get her dressed and in the car. She, then, realized she wasn’t going back on the bus to go to school and she. was. pissed.

Have I mentioned I feel like pulling my hair out sometimes?! Trying to understand my girl is one of my biggest struggles.

She calmed herself and I got her to school and apparently, she had a great rest of the day. Who’d a thought?!

Admittedly, this is not the first time she has stripped down. It’s something she does when she’s highly, I mean highly, agitated.

Thus, embarrassment isn’t a thing in our household anymore. Maybe a day will come when she surprises me, but at this point, nothing shocks me anymore.

Needless to say, after THAT Monday morning, I needed Target more than ever…and chocolate.

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