This afternoon is record-breakingly hot – when just last week it snowed! – so my next door neighbor Sheri asked if I wanted to join her and her 6-year old son at the park at nearby Westland Hills.
I said “sure” and lured Jonah into the car. When we got there he saw the pool area, and of course it’s not open yet, but he remembered going there from last year – and it certainly is hot enough to swim – so he ran right over and when he saw the empty concrete area instead of the deliciously inviting blue of water, he threw himself down on the ground and cried.
I was tired and hot, but tried to coax him. “C’mon, honey!” I said cheerfully, “Let’s go play!” I signed as I was talking, which is my indirect way of letting surrounding strangers know that my kid has a disability, but Jonah was having none of it.
I barely even saw Sheri. I gave up after 5 minutes or so of trying to lift him to his feet and show him the playground – it was dusty and windy and the hair-dryer heat only drove me into an angry place: Why can’t I just have a simple fucking park experience with my kid, like all these other mothers?
All around me were mothers/caregivers, some with two or three kids, all of them chatting with other mothers, or chatting on cell phones, whilst the youngsters, every one of them, played happily on the swings or slides or in the goddamn sandbox.
Then there was me. And screaming, kicking, pissed off Jonah.
I am encouraged my professionals to tell Jonah a “social story” – which is a book with pictures of where we are going and what we will be doing there. But autism likes to throw you curve balls, and I couldn’t anticipate this problem. Now, of course, I can – but only at this particular park.
There is one park we can’t go to because he will perseverate on the water fountain and have himself soaking wet in 5 minutes, obsessed with the knobs on the fountain and the way they shine in the sun.
There is another park with a pond and a slippery slope of grass he always tries to slide down, dangerously, so we’ve nixed that one too.
Then there is another park, a really super nice one, that’s in a rich area with snobby mothers who never fail to glare at us. I won’t take him there anymore. Andy does.
I have been praying for nice weather so I can take him to the park, and here it is, the nice weather, and we can’t even go.
I brought him home and turned our outside water spigot on and filled up his baby pool. Luckily Andy had just gotten home and was ready to take over for a while so I could come in here and type out a little pity party.
Sorry for that.
He has been doing very well in school since vacation, last week and then again today, and I am very happy and grateful for it.
But I am bitchy about our situation today.