On Saturday, Mr. Pants, Grandma Pants and I headed out to a school supply expo. And yeah, maybe we didn't think it through but then again, I rarely think things through. We were excited. We brought Mr. Pants along because Captain America, Spiderman and Super Why would be there and I thought he might get a kick out of that.
We strolled up to expo only to find that um, there was a line for two city blocks to get in. This was precisely the moment that I started to worry that the day may not go as planned. I knew it was impossible for Mr. Pants to wait in that kind of line. I know that because he freaks his freak just waiting for me to get done peeing so that he can pretend to pee. He doesn't even have to pee. He just hates waiting that much. And I get that
. He is my son after all. So Grandma Pants took our place at the back of this line of insanity while Pants and I went for a walk. Before we set out, I knew where we would end up. I let him lead the way. All the way back to the fire truck we'd seen on the drive in.
We walked around and around and back and forth. Mr. Pants became irritated at the pop music blaring from the local radio station tent and began demanding his favorite song. I explained to him that we would be in the building soon to meet Spiderman and he wouldn't have to hear that annoying Disney Kids crud anymore. In the meantime maybe Grandma would take a picture of us.
Well, we got in the building. And Mr. Pants immediately executed a perfectly graceful monkey climb straight up my spine. I think he may have been trying to actually melt himself into me. He was freaked. Too many people. Too loud. Too much. It's hard to gauge how these kinds of things will go when you are the mama of a sensory kid. Carnivals, zoos, school supply expositions. They are hit or miss. When they hit, it's awesome and the joy he experiences is heart exploding. When they miss, it can descend quickly into some bad places. Sometimes we recover. Sometimes not. At this point in our day, I wasn't sure how it was going to go. We trekked on and I carried my monkey so that he felt safe. We saw Spiderman. Pants wanted nothing to do with him so we moved on. We saw Captain America. Mr. Pants wouldn't even look up from the nape of my neck. So I snapped a picture of someone else's kid getting their picture taken with the Captain so that I could show Daddy. There were K-9 dogs, fire safety vehicles, stuffed zoo animals (gag), bubble stations and face painting. Mr. Pants believed this all to be bullshit.
That's when it happened. One row over, they were letting kids play with the sirens in some police cruisers. It was loud. And I knew we were in trouble. He began to shake. Tears in his eyes. Voice shaking, "Ah go home, mama. Ah go home, pweese?". We were done. I told Grandma Pants that she would have to go on without us. I needed to get Mr. Pants out of there. I told her that we'd be playing outside and could keep in contact with our cell phones. I asked her if she'd mind getting school supplies for Mr. Pants and we'd meet up when she was done. Grandma was on it. Grandma is always on it. Neither of us had known it would be a madhouse. But it was. So we divided to conquer. I begin heading for the exit with Mr. Pants. I'm telling him, "It's ok, bud. We're leaving. We're going outside. It's ok" when something caught the corner of his eye. "What's that, mama?" he asked me. "That's a leaf, bud. Do you want to say hi?"
Clear assured distance
He did not want to say Hi. Well, at least not from anywhere the leaf could actually hear him. But he was intrigued. He wanted me to put him down for a minute. And he walked a twenty foot perimeter around that leaf. Watching his every move. Completely entranced as if to say, "There is an enormous leaf just walking around, man. This is blowing my mind."
And then, IT happened. We had stopped to observe the creepy leaf right near a stage at the far end of the expo floor. Right before the exit to outside. I look over and realize they are setting up drums all over that stage. "Look, bud! Drums!" and for the first time since we arrived that morning, I relax. Because I know. I know that it is on. And that my boy will be ok. He will stop shaking. He will not be afraid anymore. The thousands of people squeezed into that space will fall away. And Mr. Pants will overcome his fear. Because, by what felt like Divine intervention, a drumming group was about to save this day.
And save the day they did.
The rhythm is gonna getcha
Thank the Universe for drummers and giant creepy leaves.
Because, just like that, our day at the expo ended with a smile.