"We really are happy to go the furniture store"
Shopping for furniture doesn't appeal to most kids, but Calder loves it
- Calder with Rug & Home's Manager Emily
Show me a kid who likes to shop for furniture and I’ll show you Calder. While most kids his age would rather be playing video games, watching cartoons, exploring the toy store, or hanging out at the park, Calder is always asking us to take him to “the real fun furniture store.” To Calder, the furniture store is the park, the toy store, cartoons, and video games all rolled up into one.
He loves to hop in the beds, rub his hands all over the carpets, and climb over the sofas. He also loves to bang his palms on coffee tables, and yes, even bite the pillows. The furniture store offers him so many sensory inputs and he is a kid who constantly is seeking to see, touch, smell, hear, and, yes, taste. It’s how he experiences and processes the world around him.
Which means he can get some strange looks from people. We’ve run into the occasional person who stares for a minute too long or the child who asks “Mommy, what is wrong with him?” It can get embarrassing and it can hurt, but Calder is so happy in a furniture store, I focus on him and enjoy how much fun he has staring at the patterns on a crazy flowered rug. He’s not aware of it, but when Calder is having fun, he’s also teaching people what autism can look like.
The people who approach him to talk to him or join in the fun of tracing the patterns on a carpet and rubbing the texture on a fuzzy rug make Calder feel included like he’s making friends, which is hard to do when you’re non-verbal, struggle to coordinate your body movements, and flop around. That’s why Calder’s favorite store is Rug & Home. He begs my mom to take him to see the store manager, Emily, who always welcomes him with a huge smile and a hug. Everyone at the store greets Calder like he’s a friend. This is why Calder typed a special message on his iPad for Emily at Rug & Home: "thank you for understanding me. We love you for being kind". I wish everyone who met Calder could see how smart, funny, and thoughtful he is. I appreciate the people who do.