There are two things that strike fear into the hearts of most parents of children on the Autism Spectrum...Hair cuts and shoe shopping. I dread them both equally,however that did not stop me from attempting to do both things with both of my Aspie boys and their Nerotypical brother on the same day. For a little added fun I also had their four year old sister in tow.
It was never going to go well. There was nothing in my favour. It was after school when both boys are on edge from having to work on someone elses agenda all day. They were hungry and I had not given them any warning. I did however offer a bribe reward for good behaviour.
I returned home with one pair of shoes and one haircut completed (both for my NT son). Ryan and Pierce did not even make it inside the Salon doors. The noise and confined space was just too much. They also refused to try on shoes. They did however get a Lego man each as the fact that they managed to remain reletively calm while Shaun was getting his haircut deserved rewarding.
It has been almost three weeks since that epic fail and although I had managed to get both boys new school shoes they were still in desperate need of a haircut. Everytime I mentioned it to them I was given a reaction that told me now was probably not a good time to attempt it.
Imagine my surprise when making a quick stop at the local shops after school we walked past a Barber shop and Pierce grabbed me and said "Haircut, haircut. Now Mum!" Of course I immediately whisked him into the shop before he could change his mind. The shop was empty so no waiting. I was about to do my usual spiel to the hairdresser when Pierce beat me to it. "I have Aspergers, I hate things tight around my neck, Hair makes me really itchy and don't make the chair go up high because it freaks me out."
The hairdresser was very understanding and patient when Pierce refused to have the paper collar placed around his neck and made her adjust the cape three times before she got it right. I gave her instructions. Clippers,number 2 (nice and short so it lasts longer) and away she went.
In the mean time Ryan has jumped into the spare Barbers chair and started spinning gleefully, until a second hairdresser appeared and informed him "no sitting in the chair unless you are having a haircut." ( She is now known as cranky hairdresser) Ryan didn't hesitate. "Can I have a haircut too Mum?" "Yes, you can!"
Twenty minutes later I had two boys with newly cut hair and only one little drama. I had forgotten to mention Pierces scissor phopia and when the hairdresser whipped out her lovely sharp scissors to snip a stray hair Pierce lept from the chair and curled up in a ball on the floor. We must remember to add that to the spiel next time!
Hairdresser number 1 told Pierce he was her best customer all day and I think I would have loved her if only she didn't blow it by her parting words. When paying her she asked if both the boys had Aspergers. I replied yes...she left me mortified with her pitying comment "Oh you poor thing." Even worse she said it in front of the boys!!! I immediately replied "no not at all they are amazing, I am lucky to have them."
Instead of letting that comment spoil the moment I decided to concentrate what was good about the afternoon. I was extremely proud of Pierce for being able to comunicate his needs to the hairdresser. I was also thrilled that he let her finish after the scissor incident. Both boys actually requesting to have their haircut was a first and Ryan got to have a spin in the chair. All in all it was a huge WIN!
Catch you all in a couple of weeks,