They called from the school a few days ago. "Richy's not feeling great," they said, as he screeched uncontrollably in the background. "He's had a few... episodes." So I went up and got him from school, and have kept him home for 3 days because it's obvious he's a little sick. We all have a little cold, but for R2, it sets off this signal in his brain to outscream the sickness, or whatever. He's nonverbal, so it's all silence until it's earsplitting screaming and self-injury. And it's unpredictable, what sets it off, so I decided to just stay home, and not risk the whole lugging-4-kids-out-of-McDonald's-while-people-stare-in-horror, and just let him vent at home.
Today, though, I decided to risk it and we went to Sonic (safe choice) and the library (risky), and he did great, and I was pretty hover-parenty, peering in his face and asking cheerfully if he was happy and good. Then we went to gymnastics and I put chairs by the door, just in case, but he was okay. So we went grocery shopping. Maybe I got cocky, I don't know.
We don't move quickly, the herd. Especially because Toby smuggled a book in and sat down every time I stopped the cart. Still, we were all right, with me being all "Yummy food, Richy! Isn't it great?" And we made it. At the register, a lady said "You've got your hands full!" which is what people say to me every time I go anywhere, ever. And I said, "It's great to have my hands full." and then I was bragging on how good they are. As we finished ringing up, a tiny alarm started ringing on a nearby register, and something snapped. R2 started his whole routine, and I collected kids and groceries and hightailed it for the doors while the entire population of Lee's Summit stopped, like I was in a music video, and stared. It's a horrible, isolating feeling when you know people don't understand.
I drove on, groceries falling off the top and sides while he screamed and pummeled his head with his fist. Toby followed 10 feet behind, engrossed in his Batman book. We sat on the bench in the sunshine while he finished his fit, and people brought us our forsaken bags, and the lady I had been bragging to came out and asked if she could help. It meant something, those kindnesses. It meant a lot.
I'm wiped out, from what was overall a good, peaceful day, overshadowed by the chaos of 3 minutes.