Mischief or Peace.

It’s Saturday morning. I’ve made it through the line with the fidgety kid.  We sit down at the only cafe table left unoccupied, and I hope for just two minutes to savor my tea.  I hand my iPhone to my son to keep him seated and occupied.  He starts to play PacMan.  He lets out a little yell.  Not anything excessively, fire drill loud.  An older couple, probably in their 60s, keeps glancing at us when he gets excited and yells “Yay!” or “Whoa!”.   If the volume gets louder during play, they make sure to give me a dirty look.

It’s the middle of the mall people.  On a Saturday.  Give me a break.  I’m not  apologizing.  I’m not moving.  If you don’t like it, you can leave.  I look back at them but without expression of any kind.  They give up.  When I am good and done with my tea, we get up and leave.


We walk into Williams Sonoma, because I like to live dangerously.  He picks up one of those old fashioned egg beaters and cranks the handle.  It was located on the bottom shelf of a number of kitchen gadgets stuck in wooden bins along the wall.  Then he stares at the beaters and touches them with one hand.  I’m nervous he will put one or more fingers in between the beaters and pull back a bloody stump.  I take it away.

No. I didn't buy them.

We walk a little further and he sees some brightly colored cookie cutters, designed like Marvel Comics.  They have buttons to push to punch out the cookie dough.  The display is conveniently located right next to the fine crystal and glassware – I kid you not.  My son is going wild on the buttons for the cookie cutters, smashing them with his hand.  They are set out on display on a Silpat and cookie sheet.   I imagine him flipping one in the air and it landing like a bowling ball hitting the glasses nearby.  I steer him away again and decide it’s time to leave.

These are mercury glass votives...

Next, we walk into Pottery Barn because I see ornaments in the window and, like a deer in the headlights, I’m drawn to the shiny displays.  As soon as we walk through the door, he heads straight to a table filled with breakable candle holders.  I steer him away from that. He next heads directly to a dining table display, set for the holidays with lots of wine glasses.  He leans forward.  I pull him back.  We leave.

Innocent-looking luggage? Au contraire...

Well, let’s try Pottery Barn for kids.  That has to be fairly childproof, right?  He heads straight to a display of children’s luggage. The suitcases have buttons that allow the handles to extend and retract.  As displayed, they are on a shelf, just about my son’s height.  He lifts the handle, retracts, reaches for the next suitcase behind and does the same only he now has his arm stuck through the hole he created in extending the first one.  He cannot get the second one to extend, so we are headed for meltdown.  I get him out of his predicament and we leave the mall altogether.

Always mischievous at the mall...

I keep thinking that someday, I’ll get time to shop with him with me someday, peacefully.  Even if it’s only window shopping.  I must need to learn appreciation for peace, since I wish for it so often and it is always outside my grasp.

Eventually, we make our way to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for him.  As I talk to the pharmacist, my son is circling, running back and forth the length of the counter, trying to reach around and run the cash register and touching nearly everything around him.  Each instance yields discussion by me to stop.  Each instance I place him next to me and, no sooner is he there, than he wanders away and starts up again.  He breaks a pen attached to a coil and the counter.  A woman who is getting her own prescription informs me my son has broken the pen.  I apologize to the pharmacist who is very kind and tells me not to worry.

I have discovered, with my son’s new found awareness of his surroundings, his curiosity has increased.  It’s like he is now in his terrible two’s at age five.  Of course, I’m grateful for his interest, awareness and energy for all things.  It’s just hard to keep up, keep my patience, and discipline him in public settings.

I guess I’ll just have to find a boring spot, wherever we happen to be, in which to administer a public time out, but I have not yet done this yet.  It must be time to learn.  And maybe that will be the key to finding my little bit of peace.


About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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10 Responses to Mischief or Peace.

  1. Welcome to life with Little Miss! The only way I can get ANY shopping done is with a stroller or shopping cart — and then I still have to worry about her ever-increasing reach. I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten the stink eye in the grocery store for parking my cart in the middle of the aisle… but if I don’t, well, I’m sure you can imagine! I rue the day she grows out of the cart/stroller, LOL.

    The funny part about it all is that in a place like the mall — with so many people and things to see — there IS no boring spot. Even the hallway to the bathroom is filled with people to watch, lockers to try, and stuff to get into. I wish you luck on your quest and I’ll definitely be watching to see if you have any tips!

  2. P.S. LOVE the picture of T in the blue monster shirt. I just want to hug him!

  3. Yes, that sweater is *almost* as cute as your boy. This also sounds like life with Pudding. A weighted vest helps a little, ADHD medication helps a lot. There is still a little left over that I think of as exuberance. On the plus side, I spend way less while I’m out shopping these days!

  4. Lana Rush says:

    I’m with you – so many people seem to thing being out in public should be a relaxing event. Unless you’re at the library or a 5 star adult-only restaurant (what are those??), it’s going to be noisy. And not just from kiddos, either – adults with cell phones can be just as loud!

    But you’re braver than I am – I just avoid all shopping when Lily’s with me. Thank goodness I have an 18 year old driver who can go get us milk when we run out. 🙂

    And like “Mummy” said, I just try to think of how much money I save since I shop less now!

    I agree – that picture of T? Too, too cute! 🙂

  5. blogginglily says:

    Lily’s hand speed rivals a rattlesnake strike. She’s always faster than I give her credit for, and I know that she’s like ‘low developed’ strength-wise, but sometimes it’s a damn feat to wrest some object of affection away from her kung-fu grip.

    That stuff exhausts me. . . moving from no to no ad infinitum.

  6. Broot says:

    And honestly, I think shop keepers could be a bit smarter about how and where they display things. I remember working for a Hallmark store at one point and we were always careful to put the breakables up as high as we could, because the older kids are often a lot worse than the toddlers at breaking things. (Actually, the worst are the adults – especially the ones telling their children off in one breath “Stop touching everything!!” and doing the exact opposite themselves!!)

  7. Lizbeth says:

    Really, someone had the stones to tell you your kid broke the pen at Walgreen’s or CVS??? Seriously? Back the bus up. Send me your address, I’ll mail them a pen. Geesh!

  8. Teresa says:

    I was going to sit back and sagely tell you how important it is to continue to take your son out to different environments…Then I remembered (just one incident) where Matthew was in the basket while we were grocery shopping (easier to keep him in the cart than chase after) and I got distracted. Before I realized what was happening he had tossed out all the groceries from the cart, including the eggs! So I’ll get off my high horse and tell you what a good job you are doing… And it is important to keep taking your son out.

  9. Kelly Hafer says:

    The thing about the spectrum, I’ve found, is that it is EXHAUSTING. For Me. For Parents. The kids, God knows, have boundless energy. Maybe it’s a metaphysical thing where they actually sap our power and it gives them 10-fold power. Whatever it is, I know if we could bottle it, we’d be rich as Croesus.

  10. eof737 says:

    He looks so innocent too… 😆 Your mall visit sounds incredibly exhausting… How do you do it? 🙂

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