No pre-school today meant that Oliver and I were able to adventure together-- just the two of us. We haven't had much opportunity to do that since Sam was born. I had a bunch of errands and missions to accomplish for work and thought (hoped) Oliver would do fine if I brought him along. First on our list was a trip to Costco to buy some food for a reception tonight. Normally Oliver likes going to Costco, likes going to any store, until it comes time to check out. The check-out line has been the scene of many a tantrum so taking him to a store is ususally a two person job. One person pays while the other distracts him or takes him outside. The problem comes when we put things on the conveyor belt. Usually no matter how I prep him he cannot see ahead to when he will get the things back. They are simply being taken from him.
Today I arrived at Costco and started loading up my cart when suddenly a cold fear crept into my heart. I alone would have to get Oliver through the check out line. I walked through the aisles loading things into my cart all the while thinking how I might get through this situation with a minimum of tears and stares from strangers. Autism forces many a creative approach to parenting. But I was coming up short; my bag of tricks was empty. I walked around aimlessly for a bit wondering if I should just abandon my cart and come back another time. But I was reluctant to do that because it doesn't help Oliver and I would just have to make another trip. So instead I started the trek to the front of the store, all the while leaning over the cart and saying, "Oliver? We are going to give these things to the lady but she will give them back. I don't want any crying. We will get everything back. Then we will go to 'Gram's House." Over and over again I repeated this like a mantra.
When we arrived at the front of the store I deliberately chose a long-ish line and pointed out to Oliver how everyone got their things back after paying. And I braced myself. Oliver cried out once when I put the things on the conveyor belt but I held him and repeated the mantra to him the whole time. I'm sure the sales clerks thought I was a bit whacky but it was working so I kept it up until Oliver was safely back in the cart with all our newly acquired goods.
Shopping disaster averted.