I have never claimed to have this whole thing figured out, but on Friday I pretty much kicked ass. That is: I managed to take J to the movies, lunch and shopping without a major incident, and without regretting that I don’t make a habit of carrying a flask full of hooch with me.
On Tuesday J reorganized his PECS board to reflect a trip to the movies on Friday. Then he switched to “watching a movie at home.” This happened at least ten times over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, and I had to -very quickly- research WHAT movie, and when. I settled on Kubo and the Two Strings, and even showed him the trailer on You Tube. As is my habit, I prepared for this possible outing by over-preparing.
I had money, a cab booked with plenty of time, clothes picked out, and a timeline that would make synchronized swimming look like disoriented ducks trying to swim out of a bowl of noodle soup.
I wanted to make sure that this would happen because J insisted (even when he was changing his mind,) and I used the expression “I PROMISE!” He raised his eyes at that. Goes to show how often I unequivocally promise that something will happen. I usually say “we will try,” “weather permitting,” “if the opportunity arises,” “it is quite possible,” “we’ll see if that’s a possibility.” This time, my friends, I made a solemn vow, and I wasn’t (under any circumstances) going to break my promise.
So after changing his mind, and assuming that I was all bluster and no filibuster, J was pleasantly surprised when I told him (at precisely 11:25 per my schedule) that we were getting ready to leave for the movies. By 11:35 we were headed out the door to wait for the cab at the complex’s leasing office and, as I had requested, we were notified via text that our cab was running a little behind so it would be a while before we got picked up.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over time is that you book cabs to arrive with plenty of time for your outing, and that way you won’t be disappointed if they’re running late. J, who was impressed that I was this committed, patiently sat annoying anyone within earshot with his Proloquo and I WANT TO GO TO THE MOVIES, I WANT POPCORN, I WANT A SODA, I WANT CANDY. When the cab arrived I think people danced around why taking shots of whisky.
We made it to the mall with plenty of time to go to lunch. I’m not big on going to lunch at the mall, but I figured since J had done it with his classmates, and he no longer has classmates, it would be fun to see that those outings are still possible.
When we walked into the Chinese buffet, the lady at the counter addressed J by asking “two for lunch?” He turned to me and handed me the iPad. I explained that, yes, we would both be having lunch. We ordered our drinks, and sat there for a moment before I realized that J was looking at me like I’m the dumbest person in the world. I asked what was wrong, and he rolled his eyes and pointed to the buffet. Ah…the lady who never goes to lunch at the mall didn’t know that you just get up, grab a plate, and serve your food. He patiently led me through the buffet, and we sat down to eat.
From there we went to Old Navy. J loves Old Navy. He knows how to SAY Old Navy. He asks to go to Old Navy. He was so happy when he saw they had the pajama pants he loves that he let out a whoop. I don’t know if other people get excited when they get Old Navy Bucks, but J was in seventh heaven…he handed them to me like they were a sure-fire winning lottery ticket.
We made it to the theater on time. J ordered his snacks, handed his rewards card over, and off we went to watch Kubo and the Two Strings. There were only six people in the theater. This is good because we were comfortable, but it’s sad because it’s truly the best animated movie we’ve seen this year. J loved it. Not only was he happy that I kept my promise, he was thrilled that he liked the movie we went to watch. He was so happy that he didn’t even mind that he only got a medium soda and popcorn, and that I ate half of his M&Ms.
After the movie we walked to Target, and bought the things we needed for the weekend. Dada picked us up when he was done with work. We headed home, and J had a happy, lazy smile on his face. He was happy to be home and his new pajama pants for the rest of the evening.
On Saturday, however, he was a little less patient with us. I’m sure the fantastic outcome of Friday went to his head, and he was expecting another solemn vow, but I had to say “we have cheese at home,” and “you are NOT having TWO hot dogs from Five Guys.” We were not friends for a bit, but we managed to make peace without me losing my foothold on “I’m the mother, darnit!!!”
I know a lot of you are probably thinking “this is no big deal, lady! We take our kids places all the time, and it’s not a huge production.” Well, people, I don’t drive. I am the crappiest, most unsafe, anxious driver ever, and I reserve my driving for “a life must be saved and it’s in my hands!!!!” J also is used to getting to the movies via Dada or, formerly, TGG. Going alone with me hadn’t happened in a very long time, and I believe TGG was with us then. J was also significantly smaller, younger and lighter, and I could handle his squirming, screaming, thrashing, tantrum-throwing body a lot better.
So, Saturday was more of a low point, but Friday was amazing. And I’m proud of us. J knows that school has started for everyone, and seeing that life goes on outside that context is awesome for him. We went to the movies…just J, Slinky and I with an iPad. And it was great.