We knew it was going to be a rough morning at church before we were even out the door. It was 34 degrees outside and he didn't want to wear THAT jacket, but considering the temps this was not a choice. So he screamed. Two minutes into our 15-minute drive to church his cries when from the repeated, "I DON'T WANT THIS JACKET!!!!!" to him clawing at his eyes and screaming, "THE SUN IS SO BRIGHT! SO BRIGHT! IT HURTS ME!" Shoot. We forgot both of his pairs of sunglasses at home. My husband gave me his sunglasses to give to G in the back seat. He quickly put them on, then put his hands over the sunglasses and whimpered the rest of the drive that he could still see the sun and it was ouchie.
We arrived at church and did our exact same routine- signed the kids in through the secure system, printed stickers to put on their backs, then Hubby took Princess to her elementary class and I took Baby with me to take G-man to his preschool class. He ran in the room, then stopped short, looked around, and ran straight back to me. The teacher welcomed him, but it was a volunteer he doesn't see often. "Mama, I'm goin' with you today." I told him that was fine, I waved good-bye to the teacher(who gave me an odd look :-P ), and we went to the sanctuary. We were late(usually we are early) so there was a crowd of late-comers around us hurrying to the same place, and G froze. He grabbed my hand, started to shake and said, "Never mind. I want my classroom." So around we turned and went back to the children's wing to his classroom. This time the head teacher was there, and Miss S knows him well. She opened the gate across the door, slowly beckoned him in and asked me how his morning was. "Rough," I said. She smiled and said she'd page us if they needed us, and gently prodded G over the thresh hold so she could close the gate.
The service went smoothly, no pages, and G was even sitting silently on the outskirts of the group for various activities when Hubby peaked in on him several times, rather than staying under his usual table in the corner with a toy. We were walking down the corridor toward the doors, and G was "racing" me, by running a few feet ahead so he was 'faster' then running right back, to ensure he was always close. He did this the entire way, and as we stepped out into the parking lot a sweet man behind us said with a chuckle, "My goodness, buddy, you have had TOO MUCH coffee this morning." G immediately froze, stared the man down and bellowed so loud it shocked everyone around us, "STOP TALKING TO ME!" The man, obviously embarrassed but good-humored said, "Stop, huh? Okay," and laughed as he walked past us out into the parking lot. I was beside him the whole time repeating to him, "G, relax. It's okay. You're safe. He's just being friendly, he doesn't know," but the fact that he had said anything further sent G-man into a tizzy and he began sobbing and screaming after the man, "I'M SO MAD AT YOU! SO MAD! YOU MADE ME VERY ANGRY!" Every one around us gave us the familiar range between clucks of disdain and chuckles as they scurried away.
I wish I knew how to better deal with those situations. On the days G seems to just wake up in a tizzy, we generally try to stay home, but our entire family has been struggling because of it. From November through March we made it to church on average once a month. We feel like church is a safe place, and once a week shouldn't be too much to push him. It's the same room, the same kids, the same routine, the same snack, the same time. Every week. So for the month of April we've been going every week regardless of how G wakes up. One week he was kicked out because a little girl came over and slapped him completely unprovoked, and he flew into a rage, pouncing on her until a teacher pulled him off. Last week he spent much of the time under his table in the corner, and the teacher said he was completely unfocused and off in his own little world even at snack time. Today he did well in class, but had this eruption afterward. We take every day as it comes and try to stay one step ahead, but his brain decides how it will be each day, and it's entirely different all the time, so there's no way to get ahead.
I am trying to figure out where the problem ends and where the excuses start. Like when G has an outburst that is loud, noticeable, and as he's getting older- seemingly inexcusably rude. How do I explain that to those around us without spending 15 minutes talking about sensory issues? I don't want to be the mom who makes excuses for her child, I want to be the mom who teaches him how to overcome the struggles he faces in the often hostile world around him. I cannot fathom throwing out a comment like, "Pardon us, please. He has special needs," to strangers, because that will teach HIM to eventually use that as an excuse, too. I just don't know how to sort that out. I felt like that jovial man in the parking lot deserved an apology, and yet I was trying to tell G he was doing a good job using his words to express himself, but he needed to relax. I'm so stuck in this spot right now.