Adventures in grocery shopping
It seems like decades ago that going to the grocery store with Molly was impossible. Allow me to stray away a moment and say that boys and girls with autism tend to be very different while being extremely similar. Molly for example was terrified of everyone and everything in this world the first year of her life. Even something as simple as staying with my Mom while I went to a doctor’s appointment proved to be difficult. Whereas Mason was born a people person. He did not care who was holding him as long as he was getting attention. Places like doctors offices, grocery stores and so on were never an issue for him. For all major grocery shopping Molly remained with Grandma the first three years of her life. After age two I would take her if I knew I was going for just a couple of items to desensitize her. Gradually we worked up to more.
Once Matt and I moved in together when Molly was three and Mason was one, life in the real world got easier for us because we had such a great team. The ability to work with one another made our adventures much more pleasant. If a meltdown was occurring it was one parents job to redirect while the other finished the task at hand. Eventually, we got to where we would do solo runs with her. Matt handled the tough ones because that was my weak area. I would want to take her and leave he would stand there allowing her to meltdown while he waved at passerbys who surely assumed him to be the worlds worst parent. He would explain to her that she could meltdown if she chose to but that the mission they were on had to be done. Each outing became easier and easier.
Now at five and a half years old Molly can shop with the best of them. She and I usually go alone, we make a list, we discuss the items we are getting, what we need for recipes we want to make and even those items we are not purchasing that day. She helps me load the ‘trolley’ as she calls it, unload it onto the conveyor belt, she hands the cashier our coupons, she uses the credit card machine and proudly carries her receipt; as long as she is, from a two-hour shopping excursion.
It is by no means an easy battle but the rewards are so great. All the desensitizing we do has given us the chance to do more exciting adventures such as the beach, the zoo and proudly Disneyland where we are season ticket holders. The greatest disadvantage any parent can give their child with or without disabilities is to handicap them from real life society. I understand that some children are far worse off and will always need assistance from nurses and aides but if you have children with the ability to grow into fairly typical adults why would you not? It will be exhausting. You will cry at times. But for every tear, every drop of sweat you will earn a smile because there is nothing more rewarding than the pride a disabled child feels when they accomplish one of their fears. Be strong Warrior Moms and Dads.
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September 19, 2013 Thursday at 9:42 am