A little piece of my heart broke Saturday while we were downtown shopping.
Johnny needed to get new pants for school and I took him into H&M so that I could surprise him with a summer T-shirt vest with Lightening McQueen on the front. H&M is one of those trendsetting fashion conscious stores where people go to gobble up the latest trendy fashion complete with loud pulsing music to increase the shopping tempo.
My little girl “Princess” was not impressed with the crush of people but her brother was a man on mission to get new pants since his others were bothering him. While I’m worrying about keeping her interested and happy I momentarily forgot how hard it would be for him to be in a store like this for too long of a period. Loud music, lots of people talking and moving around, many different colours of clothes and all with different patterns all creating a cornacopia of interests that he would need to somehow be able to process.
I was still looking for the navy pants and pointing out “Lightening McQueen” when he calls out “Mommy pants” and held a pair up. How did you find those so fast Johnny? He always finds things so fast 😉 I am trying to find his size when I noticed he started reaching and touching the displays looking for things to feel. Daddy was trying hard to “do containment” for both children and then Johnny said the words “Mommy too loud” over and over again. I told him that these stores are loud to cover his ears while we find fitting rooms. He was trying but as he became more physically clumsy we started to realise that he was having trouble processing all the informatimo and stimuli coming in and his body and mind were tiring over the summult. He actually nearly feel into a rack of clothes.
I decided I wouldn’t wait in the long lineup for the changing rooms and then a line up to pay and instead I made a judgement call and picked what I thought would fit him. By then Johnny just needed to get out of there badly. The thing is we tried to get him out of the store but Johnny seemed to think he knew where the exit was and he literally insisited that he knew they way. He was wrong. In his elevated state that was making him more anxious as the minutes clicked away he was heading deeper into the store and deeper into sensory overload. His Daddy tried to get him to go a different way while I paid but he still inssisted and thought we were making the wrong decision and he began to cry.
It was then that I made the decision that I had to get him out of the store no matter what and I put the clothes down and stepped out of line. I went down on my knees in front of him and said into his ear that I was going to get him out of the store really fast and to trust me. He kept saying “too loud” over and over again while I turned him around and grabbed both of his hands from behind and pushed him forward fast through the store. He was really crying now and probablly looked to the many concerned people in the store that he was having a trantrum. No he wasn’t and I didn’t care that they were looking at us. My baby boy needed my help as his anxiety went sky high and Mommy got him out of the store and into the mall. I quickly went down and held him in my arms and he cuddled and kissesd me. He setttled down really quickly. He was okay. I promised to go back and get his navy pants for him which made him really happy.
Daddy took Johnny and Princess to the big indoor fountain at the mall while a frazzled Mommy tried again to get his pants and top. Everything was going to be okay even if we now had to park ousselves at the fountain so that he would feel better. We did.
Edit: When shots ring out ~
Normally if we are at the mall around dinner time and we are tired we go to the enormous food court that has just opened at the mall. Today because Johnny was so senstive and having trouble processing we let him stay at the fountain and let the water relax him. The food court would be too noisy in the busy mall so we would take him outside for a hotdog near dinner time as a treat.
Later that evening we learned that 10 minutes after we left the mall downtown shots were fired in the food court and one person is dead and 7 people are hurt.
Thank you Johnny.