As parents of a special needs child, or any child for that matter, it is easy to let your decisions be affected by fears; some real, most not. And fear seems to grow bigger with time. It is like it bulks up on our What if’s.
We faced this recently when we were thinking about taking Madison to get a haircut. It has been a while and we just knew that we would not be able to get him in, he would not sit down, he would holler, he would turn into a tornado and destroy the place, he would go ninja on the people…you get the idea.
Vickie has been cutting his hair and hates to do it. In the mean time, he started looking like a red-headed Ringo Starr.
Madison and I rode with Vickie to do her errands. We stopped at Chic-Fil-A for lunch. Madison looked like a big boy walking in, sitting with his I-pads, and eating his chicken. I hope the people around us appreciated the concert from Newsong.
When we left, Madison and I went to Countryboys. It is a nursery and gardening center. I like to walk around and see their greenhouse in the back.
The last time we went they had a Christmas store attached with trees and ornaments. He and I walked in once and he became mesmerized with the trees and lights. He sat down in the middle of the floor and called for “Black.” He wanted the lights out. (He is kind of bossy. I don’t know where he gets that from.) He had a point; it would have been cool to see the decorations in the dark. But we couldn’t turn off the lights.
I sat down beside him and talked to him about the lights and the colors. I can’t imagine what the clerk was thinking but I am sure she was watching us very carefully.
When we went in this time, the decorations were gone. Well, it is February.
This time we walked all through the store and he stayed right with me. He did great. So I thought, let’s try a haircut.
When I got my haircut last week, I spoke to Christian about coming to our house to do Madison’s. She said she could but why don’t we try to bring him on a day that they are not so busy. She said that we are customers and they would work with us and don’t be worried about causing a scene. Now, she has not seen a Madison scene. But I thought okay.
I always want Madison to succeed and have fun so he will want to go back. We will just try it and if he doesn’t go in, we will know.
When you work with someone with autism, it is important to get them out. They will quickly get into their own world and routine. And as parents, it is easy to get into that habit. And fall prey to those fears we build.
With Madison, I try to keep doing different things. Find new ways to go home. Take him to new places. Now, he will be wearing a blue T-shirt. And carrying one or two I-pads. And probably have Tinky-Winky as his entourage. And that is okay. As long as I don’t have to buy Tinky-Winky a ticket.
We got to Great Clips and there was no waiting. Madison walked right in, sat down and got up when he was called. He went straight to the chair and sat down. I was a little concern that the stylist came to my shoulder, but she went right to work. He didn’t squirm. Vickie and I looked at each other in shock, then relief.
No tornadoes, just a boy getting a haircut.
You never know. You have to be on your guard, but don’t give up.
Madison ended up with a great haircut. Now he looks like a red-headed grown-up Brad from Home Improvement.
On the way out, Madison wanted to check out the bathroom––a normal thing for kids, right? But then he wanted to turn off the lights, “Black!”
So, we still aren’t there. We never will be there. But we will make a point to enjoy the victories, big and small. And we will never quit the battle against our fears.
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