I have moved over to WhittereronAutism.com. Please follow the link to find me there. Hope to see you after the jump! :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Early days 6

I beetle about late at night and then check the computer for some 'down' time. I come across a "posting"
that transports me back in time, back to the good old days when I had them all securely strapped into the double push chair. [translation = buggy]

Yes, the day that I could no long pry their huge bodies into that contraption was the last day that I ever visited the post office with them. The whole exercise was just much to dangerous. [translation = to my own sanity]

There's something about queuing [translation = lining?] that drives them all too distraction. I would go armed with no end of entertainments, snacks and other bribes to attempt 'containment' during the oh so long minutes within the confines of that den of torture.

Why bother? I hear you cry. Well we foreigners are discriminated against. We are not permitted to merely hurl a parcel into the bin. Oh no, perish the thought! Instead we are forced to complete pointless paperwork, declaring on pain of death [translation = deportation] that we're not sending anything nasty through the mail.

It was while pondering those heady days of confinement, that I find there is a big ruckus back home about "disabled parking permits." A couple of years ago I would have sold my soul for a such a permit. I went as far as printing off an application even though I could hear the expert advise me 'if we give one to you, then we'll have to give one to everyone who is autistic.' I completed the first box, name and address and then abandoned the project.

How I longed for one of those tickets! To extract both my boys from the car into the 'space' of the parking lot, [translation = car park,] trying to get both of them, and my other daughter, safely onto the side walk, [translation = path] was a Herculean task that I dreaded. One would run off if I failed to have him physically within my grasp, the other would collapse in a heap around my ankles, hobbled. It is a miracle we are still alive to tell the tale.

How much difference would a permit make? Now, or back then? Lets go to 'back then.' On a good day, there are only a few car trips. Bear in mind that in America, nowhere is 'walking distance,' assuming that anyone around here 'walked' in the tradition meaning of that verb. Alternatively, take a bad day. A bad day, by definition, has many transitions, car transitions, which are the worst kind; to and from school, to first, out of the car, back in again and then second therapy, and then home. If I could have parked the car in the disabled spot, which is usually the closest to the entrance of where you want to go, this would have minimized the physical distance that I would have had to carry them, say 10 to 25 feet. Anywhere else, where often you have to cross a traffic steam as well, increases the distance and the time. It's a mathematical question, so I'll skip it. Instead I'll count the grey hairs, worry lines and shoe leather.

I should take this opportunity to apologise to all the casual passer-byers, who over the years, have had to witness the sight of a crazed mother octopus careening around a public place with weak sheep dog skills.

As a matter of public safety policy, I should have to wear a bag around my neck, with a little neon sign saying 'please help yourself to a pair of complimentary ear plugs.' I doubt if anyone is brave enough to get that close!

Please give us the parking permits!


Anonymous said...

Somedays I still cannot believe we managed to leave the "secure" stage of travel for a less secure one and are managing... I wondered if it would ever happen.

If I abbreviate too much... just email me and ask.


Anonymous said...

I too wish we qualified for parking permits.

my4kids said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog. I read yours also. My boys don't have autism but they have several other issues. What you describe getting out of the car, going anywhere basically reminds me of my 10 year old...I still dread taking him places without help he is just so much work and the looks I get from people when he has a melt down are the ones you can tell they are thinking you are just a horrible parent.

Jerry Grasso said...

I can remember that we unstrapped the baby first, got her into the stroller, and one of us would be ready to push the stroller, the other one would let Demetrius out of his car seat and he would literally FLY out to the ground and then run...the free adult's job was to chase him down like a center fielder and catch him before he was plowed by a mini van. Those were the days, now we use his toys to keep him from this..and he's learned he doesn't like to be tackled on cement by adults that outweigh him at least 2:1 :-)

Peace - Jerry

Unknown said...

You know, it just kills me that this is even an issue.

Good grief. >:^(

I would love some of these politicians to spend a day with our kids. No. Make that a bad day with our kids. They'd have one in a hurry.

Do you guys have a petition going or something?

Melissa said...

I didn't realize that autism didn't qualify... we've never checked into it because it isn't an issue for us. It would be a great thing for the families that do need it though!!
oh, by the way, your comment on my blog today made me LAUGH!!!! Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

yep, I can definitely relate to your post!! We just got back from DisneyLand (strollers in tow) with two autistic boys and you would not believe how much attention we drew!! I guess I too was wearing a sign :)


We have a disabled parking permit because of Beauty's loose joint problem but she can stand and she can walk but not far which seems to irritated the self-appointed 'disability parking police'. One elderly lady stormed over to me and asked me if I realised that I was parking in a disability parking zone,to which I replied,'do you want me to give her back because she isn't perfect?'
Her husband was mortified and hurriedly dragged his wife away, mumbling,'I am so sorry'.
We now also use a little red wagon as well as the wheelchair buggy so being able to find a disability parking bay certainly helps as getting one of those out of the car certainly needs space.

Joeymom said...

IN Virginia, "autism" is specificaly listd as a reason you can get a disabled liscense plate. I have not yet made the attempt.

Haddayr said...

As a matter of public safety policy, I should have to wear a bag around my neck, with a little neon sign saying 'please help yourself to a pair of complimentary ear plugs.'

Again my husband had to rush from the room to avoid my hysterical squawking. Thank you!!!

KAL said...

Hear, hear! I will have to check into it. Maybe it's different from state to state. The contortions we go through going anywhere together: the store, the post office. I still pull out our tandem stroller when desperate to contain them, but the "car shopping carts" are a lifesaver at the grocery store.

kristina said...

Hope you saved that application!

For what it's worth---not our town, but others out here do make it possible to drive a bit less and actually walk to get useful items. I fear the expressways.....and the mega parking lots.

mjsuperfan said...

Ah, this is a subject near to my heart!

My older son's nursery school does not allow strollers in the hallways. So picking him up with the twins in tow is like herding the proverbial cats (don't know if that's a British expression).

I think they'll make great peace activists, because they already know how to go totally limp when the police come to haul them off (I got trained in this years ago, but they know it naturally).

Carol said...

We have a disabled tag for my son and it's made life a lot easier and safer. I personally think that autism should be a valid reason for a tag everywhere. I also think twins should be a valid reason to receive a tag. And if you're lucky enough to have twins AND autism you should be entitled to free valet parking everywhere...even at the super Walmart!

Tabba said...

The picture you paint is so clear. I feel like I just witnessed the whole "bad day" scene first hand...

I agree. I think it should be mandatory for all mom's-to-be and mom's with wee ones to have the preferred parking spots. And in the case of Autism, I'm shocked that it's not even a consideration.

Domestic Goddess said...

My son has autism and I managed to procure one, mostly because he is also diagnosed with "other" neurological impairments. I simply explained to his docs (ped and neuro) that he cannot walk more than 20 feet without assistance and is constantly in danger of being hit by a car. They signed the form without a second look. It is a godsend because he literally just drops to his feet in the middle of a parking lot or darts away. He trips every third step or so and is constantly falling. He is four. I am guessing when he is older we will give it up, but for now I cannot function without it!
I am in PA...

Anonymous said...

If it only got better. At 13 my asperger's child cannot be trusted to get out of the car and cross a parking lot. He's too focused on getting to the door. My 10yo can safely navigate several rows of parked cars. I don't care how far from the entrance as long as he can walk next to the building without crossing a driving lane.

Do you find yourself leaving those spots open when you don't have your child with you?

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