Being in the world of “special needs” for 16 years now, I find that I can easily get 4-5 steps ahead of a situation and play out differing scenarios of what would happen “if”. This “ability” didn’t come without me receiving my fair share of scars for messing up along the way. But I’m a fast learner (I’d like to think). I learned a long time ago that freezing with indecision will lead to extremes in behaviors and most likely with negative outcomes. Sometimes it’s best to make the best decision you can in the shortest amount of time possible in order to keep massive meltdowns from happening.

One such decision happened years ago when we headed to a local large store for free Santa photos. We left early enough to be there shortly after they opened. Apparently, so did everyone else. It was a large, large store, huge ceilings, lots of tasteful things on the wall. Festive lighting (thankfully not fluorescent), and stuff to see everywhere!

Clothes, fish in HUGE fish tanks, Santa’s “area”, race car tracks, carnival style shooting ranges, train tracks and a carousel. Yep…large store. With a lot of people. You see where this is going, right?

One kiddo with a host of needs, including Sensory Processing Disorder, in an overwhelming store, excited to see Santa, who happens to be sitting right next to (what was likely to be) his life-long obsession – trains – well, a meltdown was imminent. Not to mention his two younger siblings who were we with us and equally excited to see Santa.

We barely survived this outing. Wobbly scarecrow legs, screaming, general uncontrollable wailing, a few bruises on my arms from biting, and in the middle of all this, after he sat nicely for Santa and gave said Santa a hug, we went to an area of the store that had something we so desperately needed. Earphones.

Now we had been considering, over-shopping and researching these for some time. We were in a store that had them, and our son clearly needed a little bit of something to give him comfort (besides hoisting him up on a shoulder and running toward the door, tossing aside passersby with terror in our eyes). We navigated to the right section, started to ‘consider’ each item (again, and in the middle of his melting), when I finally just blurted out:

“BLUE! GET THE BLUE ONES!”

My husband rightfully discerned the absolute panic in my voice and obliged my Decision, and started reading the selling points. In the middle of his read, with an extra set of arms that grew out of my sides to hold up our melting son while tearing open the package, I did just that — tore open the package. I couldn’t have a care in the world about the selling points at that time. I yanked them out and placed them on his head.

Silence.

Silence.

It all stopped.

The withering, the wailing, the concerned look from others that turned into pure curious astonishment as to what they just saw. Immediate silence from a pair of blue “shooting range” headphones — my new love! He was comforted and we were able to walk out of the store relatively calm.

That was the exact moment I learned one of my many lessons being a “Warrior Mom.” Looking back, it seemed silly that it took that long for us to get the headphones. But, we were still young in our journey, and still relatively new to the constantly changing challenges our son had.

The most important lessons learned from that experience:

  1. Never underestimate the power of over-stimulation
  2. If you can, be prepared (don’t wait until your kiddo is melting to get the headphones)
  3. There are times to do comparison shopping and there are times to not over think what is needed. If you think they need it, and you can get it, don’t over shop; don’t over think; just do it!