Well, it only took us four years. On Sunday we finally made a visit to the mall. Sydney and I love online shopping and Harrison will wear whatever I buy him. I should enjoy that while it lasts. Going to the mall has always been something that I have avoided.
My friend Robin told me about a Sensory Friendly Event that Yogibo store was having in the mall. The store was open from 9:30-11:00. They dimmed the lights and turned off the music. It was a great experience. There was only one other family there. And of course we exchanged contact information.
Going to the mall and Target has been a struggle for us. It took a lot of planning and at times it was torture. I let the comments and stares of strangers take my power away from leaving my home. It has taken prayer, trial and error and courage to go out in the community.
Sydney was excited and Harrison just wanted to know if we could stop for lunch after. We made it to Christiana Mall and I was feeling confident. Then I saw that they were having a 5K race and the parking lot was blocked off where we needed to enter. Sydney enjoyed seeing the runners and was cheering them on as we waited for traffic to move.
I noticed that we would have to park at Target and enter the mall from there. At that point I admit I wanted to go home. It was bad enough I had to pass the Disney Store to get to Yogibo. Now we would have to walk through Target. Robin and Josh made it and we parked and headed into Target.
Sydney was so excited to be out. I actually felt bad. My tired, lack of motivation kept us in the house. We walked through the mall and she was naming the stores and looking around. Keep in mind the mall isn’t open yet. We made it to Yogibo and this place is incredible. Harrison also has sensory issues. He had a great time exploring in the store too.
Sydney found a spot on the comfy bed and said “I’m taking a nap.” And that is exactly what she did. Now I am thinking okay, we need this for the foxy tent ASAP. Since it is an expensive purchase I want to take her back to the store again for another sensory friendly event to see if she still likes it.
Harrison and Sydney both picked out a pillow. They offered a discount for special needs family. Thank God for that blessing. I would definitely recommend this store to families. They had amazing fidgits and sensory items. We will definitely shop there again.
Now, I always say leave on a high note. I should have suggested that we walk to a different exit and not go through Target. But the kids both had gift cards for Target so I thought this would be a piece of cake.
Harrison picked out his item and Sydney picked a movie and was headed to the toy section. Things were going great until she spotted Baby Alive. She wanted Baby Alive and her two things. Just like a typical kid. Robin distracted her while I put Baby Alive back and headed to the cash register. I was grateful to have Robin there. Syd calmed down quickly and I didn’t notice if anyone was staring at us. I waited in line while Robin got snack for the kids. Sydney was saying hello to everyone and having a great time.
Should we have left after the Yogibo store? Was I wrong for trying two activities in a day? Then it hit me. We just left a relaxed and calm environment and walked into sensory overload. I was proud of Syd and Harrison for helping.
I learned that if I am advocating for people to accept autism. Then I must be go out in the community to let people see what autism really looks like. Not what they see on TV. Copher’s Community was successful and the rest of our day was great. Step by step we will get there. On the way we will introduce you to our world living with autism.
Tomorrow’s Blog: I haven’t decided yet.(That’s not the blog. I really haven’t decided yet.)