I found out tonight Sam's Club (bulk shopping warehouse type store) can quickly become a montrosity of sensory overload for a wound up Autistic toddler... Flourescent lights everywhere, chaos and crowds, noise everywhere you turn, isles packed with tons of giant items all over the place, colorful options for further than the eye could see in every direction...
Yeah. I should have seen this one coming from a mile off. lol
Once we got Grandma to leave us alone though and just go do her shopping without us, David and I eventually adjusted and turned it into a field trip so to speak. lol We got down on the floor with the book of available cake decorations and that entertained David until he got all the way through and found out they had the nerve to not offer any trains. lol Then we walked around (stuggling and dropping a few times for deep pressure hugs and reminders we have to stay together...) and eventually ran into a few t.v.s that were playing videos. His favorite one go figure was one that was stuck on the main menu screen and had a sort of oriental song clip playing over and over and images of "historical pathways" (as the menu read) played out over and over. There was the Great Wall of China and a bunch of others that looked really scenic and full of beautiful nature shots.
I can't say I blame him for liking it. It had a very huge calming effect on us both. lol I was surprised though that he didn't want to leave it even for the t.v. that was playing a cartoon a few steps away or for his Grandma or his brother. He would step away a little with his head hung down and then immediately turn around and plead to go back to the "movie" and would just calmly stare at it like he was in a trance or something. Then when it started repeating itself again he would start to step away agian (pulling on my shirt if I didn't come with him) only to turn around and start shoving me back towards the "movie".
There was also a point before this when I found myself tucked into a small nook within a giant shelving unit holding David in my arms as he cuddled into me as tight as he could and twirled my hair around his finger. He had crawled in there himself a few minutes before and wedged himself onto a bottom shelf on the back side of the fixture that had just enough room for him to comfortably lay down (sort of curled up) and rest. I think he was seeking the comfort of a darker, quieter, and tighter place. He does that a lot when he gets too overwhelmed and too overstimulated at the same time. I had to get in their with him though when he decided it wasn't quite tight enough so he was going to try and squeeze onto a pile of merchandise a shelf space over to make the space tighter.
I didn't crawl onto the shelf (I don't think I could have even if I tried lol) but I did climb into the structure and half pulled half guided David into the little nook that was created in the middle between the front shelving and the back shelving. And there we sat for a good few minutes. We got a lot of stares but I actually found that it didn't really bother me this time. Our world was nothing but me, David, and David's need for his Mommy and a calmer environment and I guess I went full mommy mode because of it. It was nice too I have to say. Of course I had to eventually help lead him out of there so we could move on, but for a few brief minutes David and I had found a quiet and comforting spot amongst the chaos and I have to admit I appreciated the cuddles I was receiving just as much as David was appreciating the comfort and break.
Then we went to the mall... I can't wait to get my van out of the shop so I don't have to go everywhere Grandma takes us...