Now that I sort of grasp the idea of sensory problems and how it might feel to be a kid with autism and/or Fragile X Syndrome, I have a new awareness of my surroundings. I notice when the TV and computer are both on and making noise at the same time. When I put lotion on the boys' dry skin, I really try to warm it up in my hands before rubbing it on them. My first thought when the smoke alarm goes off is not Where's the fire? but Shut it off, it'll terrify the children! (I should explain that the smoke alarm goes off once a month or so when I cook. Not that I cook only once a month or so -- that's just how often I set off the smoke alarm. That's another story entirely.)
Yesterday we took the kids to the Mall of America, and I was hyperaware of all the sensory stuff going on in there. It's brimming with people in early November -- all the Christmas decor is up and the shoppers are out in masses. Not that we were surprised.
But sensory-wise, behavior-wise, the boys do pretty well at the Mall of America, because the thing about that place is, even if it's crowded, it's huge enough to handle a crowd. The hallways are gigantic, the ceilings are crazy high, so even if it's packed with shoppers and mall-walkers and people watchers, you don't really feel claustrophobic in there. It's almost like being outside.
We thought we'd check out the brand new Microsoft store and here's where we were stupid, because, duh -- if we thought the rest of the mall was packed, of course the newest, hottest store was going to be buzzing like a bee hive. It's like there were rock stars in there or something, you could hardly get near it. Then we found out later that Kelly Clarkson was coming to promote the new store, so it wasn't just LIKE there were rock stars. There were. If you consider Kelly Clarkson a rock star.
So naturally when we got wind of the crowds, we steered clear.
Next we passed by a store that just sold model trains and accessories for trains -- it was the coolest. It was also pretty jammed but it didn't look like it would be impossible to get a double stroller in there, so we went for it. And both boys enjoyed watching the toy trains toodle along on their tracks for a few minutes. Like a couple of regular old 5 year olds.
|I love this picture of Zack!|
|Going for a stroll in daddy's shoes.|