Post-incident of the red brownie box or, life must go on
Life goes on: The truest of the truisms.
It's one thing to say and know you can't go back to the little local grocery store for a bit, another thing to figure out what to do when repeated requests come from the back seat to do just that.
I wasn't surprised, Tuesday afternoon, when Charlie asked to go to the store. For the past few years, dating back to when we were living in my in-laws' house, trips to this or that store in the later afternoon/early evening have become commonplace. Not so much now, but there was a period (especially after Charlie had been on Risperdal for a few years) when, if there was food around that he wanted, he had to eat it immediately, no matter how much he might have just eaten. So frequent trips for a few items just seemed to make more sense. And, as it became more difficult to find and to keep going to afternoon activities with Charlie (when he was 5 – 7 he went to a weekly gymnastics class; as he got older and it was clear he needed my shadowing him to participate, it became harder to find a class that was both suitable and welcoming)—as Charlie got older, we needed things to do to fill that late afternoon/early evening space, and a little shopping seemed a good activity. We got outl Charlie had the chance to practice some receptive and expressive language skills; there was the chance of (limited) social interactions with clerks and other customers.
But the incident of the red brownie box changed that. Or maybe, what happened on Saturday was the final message, gotta change that overly ordered order. Charlie's teachers have been working on him making a shopping list and shopping and he's doing well with that. Perhaps his and my supermarket junkets had become more of a routine/ritualistic practice that was far beyond their original purpose.
Charlie was cheery when I picked him up at school, and then got (understandably) impatient when I ran out of the car to chat with the aide who'd brought him out. She was once an aide in his room when he attended a public school autism program in our town (he was about 6-7 years old then) and, as I learned, she's now working at the Big Autism Center. On a walk, Charlie slowed down as he passed a neighbor's house where two dogs were barking loudly, but not ferociously (to my ear). The crossing guard vigorously directed him to cross the street but Charlie paused, I think because he had sighted a car in the intersection and he's learned so well to stop when a car is nearby. As there are some quite large puddles on the sidewalk now that the snow is melting and the water has nowhere to go amid the frozen ground and snow piles, Charlie had to vary his path, sometimes a little too late to keep his shoes from getting more than slightly soaked.
He didn't want to use the computer as he usually does when we came home, instead asking soon to go out. We went in a different direction than we've often gone, stopped at the bank, picked up a prescription at the pharmacy. (The psychiatric nurse at Charlie's neurologist had called earlier to tell me she'd get the prescription for one anti-anxiety medication in particular refilled; we are very lucky for her help, that's for sure.) Charlie asked to go the little local grocery store.
He didn't ask frantically, though he did ask several times. I responded with "yeah" and "uh-huh" and, when he said "no," echoed him. I paused and in as blasé a voice as I could, I talked about what happened Saturday and why that meant we had to change things up and do things differently.
As I was saying this, I thought through the times Charlie has had a neurological storm in the car. These have tended to happen when we didn't drive according to some set route (set according to Charlie) and, too, sometimes when we've gotten him what he asked for. Having not done either of those, I decided to drive home and not say more than I had to.
(I also had, in true Sneaky Mom fashion, bought a pack of sushi and another of watermelon and hid them in the secret compartment of the white car.)
Charlie said "no" to finding himself in the car in front of our house, but his voice was calm. I said "ok" a few times and texted Jim that we were fine (only, because I was writing fast and in shorthand fashion, I gave him the mistaken impression that we were at the grocery store. So much for my writing ability). I was getting ready to tell Charlie I'd just go into the house and start to make him some dinner when Charlie said "open door."
"You can stay in the car," I said.
"Open door," said Charlie.
"Ok if you want to," I said. And opened the door and out he came and into the house. I took advantage of Charlie busying himself making sure his jacket was "just so" on the floor to bring in the sushi.
It didn't take Charlie long to find or to eat it.
(And don't tell. I've got another pack stowed away for his lunchbox Wednesday.)