The Chocolate Cake Is Crying: the homecoming that didn’t happen

Aidan was promised a piece of chocolate cake on Friday evening if he made it through 45 minutes of his homecoming dance. He had a busy week, even had a pumpkin carving with my friend Alex, so I was worried about Friday. In the effort of coordination, I sent an email to his entire home team, and copied my husband, Aidan’s dad, and even my friend who’d be visiting. She lives in New Orleans, and this email prompted her to stop and call on her way to a hearing (she’s an attorney) to ask why I was sending her emails about cake. Uh, so she didn’t bring any to the house and upset my boy? Duh. 

Aidan’s team and I spent two weeks planning and training him on tolerating loud music in various drills, social stories, lessons on making conversation, practicing the scenario, and visiting the

Photo (6)homecoming dance site, all done by various therapists and trainers and teachers. We were all very excited for him and so was he, practicing and so on. He seemed into it.

I suspected he might have a hard time on Friday morning because he went to bed on time Thursday but was up for HOURS talking to himself. I wish I could say this was excitement but it’s normal for him to wake up at all hours babbling or talking, or climbing on counters–he’s been doing it for 13 years.

His lack of sleep is #1 in the “uh-oh-should-we-be-doing-this” moments. Because they had several hours to kill, his trainers decided to take him to get his Halloween costume (this would be #2 in the uh-oh moments). He lost it on his trainer and attendant at 2 stores, and by this I mean he threw himself full force into them and into walls.

When they got to his school, he tried to get out of the car but screamed bloody murder, crying and running around his attendant’s car frantically. Then someone came from the park nearby wanting to call the police on him. Twice. I think these were #3 and #4?

I’d been at the dance helping the PTA set up, trying to be a normal parent for a moment, watching all the kids walk in all dressed up and so adorable. It was such a diversion and I do wish at times all I had to worry about was fundraising and organizing and concession stands and volunteering, like I did when I was PTA president when he was little. To me, that stuff is a breeze, maybe because I’m good at it. Autism? Not so much. We are in a complicated long term relationship.

Of course that mini-break was over when I had to be escorted by a police officer from the dance through the closed school grounds to the parking lot across the way to get to Aidan, who was screaming and crying and causing attention. His trainers and I called his dad but even that didn’t calm him down. I made the final decision not to allow him to attend. Call me crazy but I think all the students at the dance seeing a crying and tantrumming Aidan didn’t need to happen.

And he looked sooo handsome, even with the big sound reduction headphones & all the tears!

He cried the whole way home, yelling “Go to the dance! No, no go to the dance!” and “Go up in the cloud!” repeatedly to his dad on the phone. (He says this because likes Care Bears in time of stress sometimes.)  I spent one summer when I was his age shut in my closet–like, I dragged my bed in the closet and announced I wasn’t coming out to friends who had to visit me and sit outside it while I lived like a hermit–so who knows where he gets his weirdness from?

Aidan took another hour to calm down & needed lots of sensory input. Lots and lots of squeezes and hugs and deep pressure. And about 100 deep breaths. There was some throwing things around (him doing the throwing, not me) and blah blah blah. I comforted him as best I could while maintaining that he wasn’t getting the chocolate cake that had been promised for AFTER the dance–since he threw a fit, no cake, sorry. He yelled for another 30 minutes, “Oh no, the chocolate cake is crying!“. Yes, Mijo, the chocolate cake IS crying, I wanted to say.

He ended up vacillating between crying, smiling, then muttering to himself in all the reflections of himself he could find in the house while I looked for more batteries for his baby monitor. I haven’t figured out how to hook up the audio to the cameras in his room and didn’t want any out of control stuff in the middle of the night. 
We ended up giving him sleep meds to calm down to sleep.

His attendant poured me a stiff drink and told me, “Hey, I get to leave, you don’t.”


Aidan gets to try to earn his chocolate cake again if he goes to a teen club today hosted by an autism group. We are going to try to stop that cake from crying tonight. He’s got this.


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