Some times I wonder why I do it. Why do I go to busy places on my own with 4 small children, 1 of whom has diagnosed Autism and 1 who has extra needs. Why do I give myself the added stress? Today was one of those days. I took the children to city.
I was nervous before we left the house about going into the city, and to a museum no less, with all the children. E struggles with museums, they are noisy, busy, claustrophobic and not often very child friendly. Today there was an activity planned for the children to help make a giant Lego art picture. I thought it could be fun.
We went on the park and ride bus as the children love a bus ride. We walked the short distance to the museum, so far so good. As soon as we stepped inside it all started to go wrong. I hadn’t even got my purse out of my bag before E ran out of the museum. I retrieved him and struggled trying to hold him whilst handing over our tickets. Maybe he’ll be fine once we get to the Lego I thought.
R loved the Lego and is looking forward to seeing the finished piece displayed in the local library. Little S had a go with the Lego but wasn’t able to complete a square for the picture. S decided she would rather just play quietly in the gardens with some of the other children. E threw Lego everywhere, kicked me, tipped over chairs, shouted, tried to run, and hid under the hood of his jacket.
Maybe I should go home? No, I can’t let a meltdown ruin the day for everyone. We walked past a traditional sweetshop and decided to pop in for a look. The children marvelled at all the sweets. We all chose something small and went in search of some lunch. After lunch we went to find our bus and go back to the car.
We had a few minutes wait for the bus, another challenging time for E. I’m on high alert for the next meltdown, as well as watching the 3 girls next to a busy city road. By the time the bus arrived I had to carry E on, and find us a seat.
It must be time to go home right? No, now we must brave the perils of Tesco as the cupboards at home are bare. I have to put Little S in the trolley otherwise she will run around, she is tired now and over stimulated. We’ve barely been inside 2 minutes when E drops his lolly pop from the sweet shop, it shatters all over the floor. He runs to find a hiding place. I spot him curled up in a ball at the end of an aisle, he’s sobbing. I can’t get too close or he’ll run away. I find some shopping items I need on a shelf nearby and pretend he’s not there. I carry on with my shopping, keeping him in my eyeline. I want to go and comfort my crying child but I can’t.
The girls are great, R and S go to nearby aisles for bits we need. Eventually E has calmed and he is ready to talk. I explain that I was able to collect the lolly and wrap it up. It’s safely in my bag so we can wash it when we get home if he would still like it. I know he probably won’t want it, but if I tell him it’s gone forever then he will fall into another meltdown.
We try to complete our shopping as quickly as possible but now E is well and truly ready to go home. I don’t have time to check my list, I just call out items I think we need and the girls grab them and throw them in the trolley. Little S has a pint of milk that she’s clutching in her little hands. She accidentally drops it and it sprays everywhere. Uncontrollable crying ensues. R goes to find a member of staff to help with the spillage and S goes to get another pint of milk for her sister. My two older girls are so helpful and grown up at only 9 and 5.
We finally finish and pay as quickly as possible. The girl behind the checkout is lovely and lets Little S scan some of the shopping. I am completely frazzled. We go home and the kids settled down to watch a film. I put the shopping away and have a much needed cup of tea.
Some days out with my children are amazing, some are well……