Creative Distraction Techniques For Public Meltdowns

The other day I was at Target again when my daughter started freaking out again in that special, high-pitched way that kids on the spectrum tend to do when thrown off their routine. As soon as she got upset the toddler joined in which made the Middle Guy see this as his opportunity to whine loudly for candy.

I looked away from our scene for a moment and saw several people staring at us, which made me start fantasizing about distraction techniques. I thought these ideas might come in helpful to other parents:

Fall on the floor and begin speaking in tongues, slap closest person on the forehead and say, “You’ve been healed!”

Take handful of Goldfish Crackers and throw them in the air while singing “I’m Singin’ In the Rain!”

Carry boom box. Play Celtic Pride, The Music That Inspired a Dance Phenomenon. Start River Dancing.  

Yell, “Free puppies on aisle four!”

Carry a Polaroid camera and take pictures of people who are staring at you. Yell loudly, “This picture is for my wall of assholes! Say CHEESE!”

Carry a tub of guacamole and chips. Offer to onlookers while saying, “Dip? Dip? Dip?”

Start throwing on random items of clothing while yelling, “Do I look cute?!”

Wear black sunglasses and carry a Neuralyzer. Tell strangers  you are just going to give them a quick eye exam.

21 thoughts on “Creative Distraction Techniques For Public Meltdowns

  1. I have strongly considered the photo taking. I want my sign to say: I have a blog and I’m not afraid to use it. Say cheese butthead. (a little 90s reference to show I’m hip)
    Not sure if the parenthesis part will be on the sign yet.

  2. Jen, Jen, Jen… you left out the most obvious, perhaps most effective… (and, so very appropriate for Target!): whip out the boobie and start breast feeding! Duhhhh…

  3. I vote for wall of assholes, but only because neurolizers are not easy to acquire. Whew – what a year! Thanks for sharing and see ya in ’12!

  4. How about a little gadget that you can whip out of your handbag and say to onlookers, “I’m just going to zap them quickly, it doesn’t hurt much, and they’ll quieten down quickly. Stand back please…”

  5. I don’t mind when people stare, maybe because I often stare. Or maybe because my usual way of handling a public temper tantrum is to just stare at the kids. It may also be because I’m a super-intimidating presence, what with my socks-and-sandals and whatnot.

    I do love the idea of taking a photo of people though. It’s a public space, right? Of course, I’m not sure I want THEM taking photo of me and my kids. Such a dilemma.

  6. For 2012, I’ve decided to always wear a red shirt when I go to Target.

    Then, no matter what my family members do, I can just shrug and act like a confused employee.

    (Second choice would have been Wall of Assholes. But I don’t have a wall that big…)

  7. Since I don’t know anyone on “the spectrum” reading things like this def opens my eyes and helps me to be more understanding so that I don’t end up with my picture on your asshole wall. Thanks for helping me be better. I wish everyone would read these articles and learn to be more sympathetic and less judgey.

  8. But what if someone wants to be on the wall of assholes? I’m not saying that’s a legitimate aspiration. But quite a lot of people now just crave attention indiscriminately! There’s a thin line between the wall of assholes and *insert reality TV show name of your choice*

  9. I just saw this – awesome. Don’t forget “take pictures of kids so that when they introduce their first boy/girlfriend or run for public office you can dig out these pictures” (video is better)

  10. Pingback: Why Visiting A Public Restroom Makes Me Twitchy | Kvetch Mom

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