A blog to myself really.
On Wednesday I collected R, my ds1 from his boarding school for the Easter holidays. I travelled with my eldest dd, and the 2 youngest. After a lovely Easter service at the school we then headed down the road to Strathclyde University for dd1 to attend an open day. R was extremely uptight about this as I could not seem to find anyone at the university who was able to tell me of somewhere quiet that R would be able to wait while we schlepped about in dd1’s wake. We do live “in the sticks” so to him, Glasgow is the epitome of the big bad city, with all it’s attendant noise and smells, to say nothing of the sheer numbers of people.
I had noticed a car park next to the hall we were starting at, and luckily we were able to park there. Little M went straight into her special needs buggy as a) she was highly anxious and b) I couldn’t risk her bolting. Poor R, aged 15, has no such safe place. He did accompany us into the hall, which luckily again wasn’t too crowded, but after 2 minutes he was starting to really twitch and I knew I had to do something. In desperation I asked him if he’d like to sit in the car. He jumped at the chance, and after making him promise he would lock himself in, I handed him the keys and he ran out the door.
I kept texting him to make sure he was happy every time we moved somewhere else, and he assured me he was perfectly fine. He had snacks, a drink, and he was plenty warm enough.
In the end we got back to the car 1 hour and 45 minutes after initially parking. R was totally immersed in a game on his Nintendo DS and was astounded we had been gone so long. He was safe, warm, quiet, in familiar surroundings and completely relaxed. But all I had felt was guilt I had “abandoned” him.
We chatted a bit on the way back up the road and he was truly surprised that I had been feeling like that. His view was that if I had dragged him round with the rest of us then I should have a right to feel guilty as he would have been subject to numerous sensory problems and high anxiety. I had been “the best mum” for leaving him in the peace of the car. I was projecting my 15 year old self onto the situation, where I would have been extremely upset to have been left behind, thereby missing out on all the new and exciting discoveries. Of course, all the “new and exciting” to R is a form of torture, too many changes and would, without massive amounts of preparation, have been his worst nightmare.
So although I consider myself quite the expert on my children, and no novice at the parenting of ASD children, I learned a valuable lesson. One I won’t forget in a hurry.