January 1, 2015

Good Days and Bad Days

Public meltdowns are fairly rare for us these days and I know I take that for granted. One thing many mom's with toddlers dread - especially those with autism - is the grocery store. This typically isn’t the case with Brandon. I could take him down the cookie aisle and stand there as long as I need to.  He knows that just because he can see the things he wants on the shelf, it doesn't mean he's going to get them.  In case you're wondering...yes, it took a lot of practice, hard work, and some kicking and screaming to get to that point; and just like the rest of us, he's not always perfect.  Let me tell you...if I got to the grocery store and all the carts with kiddie cars attached to them were being used, I would turn right back around, get back in my car, and go home!

A while back we were at Sam's Club he saw the giant pack of chocolate chip Eggo pancakes, which he loves.  This huge box of this yummy treat made him wide-eyed with excitement.  He didn't make a peep about them though…until I put them in the cart. He got excited knowing we were getting them, and wanted some.  Now.  He kept placing my hand on the box, over and over.  I told him he can't eat them now.  Then came the meltdown.  He understands he cannot have whatever he sees on the grocery store shelf, but he doesn't understand why I can't open a box of frozen pancakes in the middle of the grocery store and have them hot and ready for him to eat right then and there.  Go figure!

When these kinds of things happen in public, it is embarrassing. Yes, you kindhearted folks will say, "It's okay. All kids have their public meltdowns. It happens to all of us at some point." This is true, but can you honestly say you've never seen a kid "acting like a brat" in public and not thought to yourself, "Wow, that parent has no control of her child." Maybe even unintentionally rolled your eyes? I certainly can't say that I've never done that. Even after having Brandon I can still be judgy. I have to literally remind myself what Brandon has taught me: You never know what struggles someone is going through...whether is special needs or just a good old fashioned bad day. Give an understanding smile, or just keep on walking because the, "wow, he's not happy" comment, the eye rolls, or even the innocent stares just makes the situation harder.  That is my little public service announcement for the day.

The bad days are no fun.  But it's true that when we have a good day, it makes it that much sweeter.


  1. I have the exact same issue with Milo! I actually put anything he really likes on the bottom of the cart if at all possible with the front of the package down. I thought I was crazy for hiding groceries from my child. It's a little bit reassuring to know I'm not the only one who does this! On a different note, I'd love your advice on how you are able to do so well at the grocery store! Pretty much unless it's meat or vegetables, Milo wants everything I put in the cart. He's been known to bite into apples, open cartons of blueberries, and rip open boxes. I have had to apologize to the cashiers several times for half-eaten food on the conveyer belt. I'm so familiar with the putting-the-hand-on-the-box routine. :)
    Reply · Like · Follow Post · (January 4 at 8:55 PM)

    1. Heather Cadenhead - I also put certain things on the bottom of the cart, face down :) I never go to the grocery store without these things: My phone for him to play on, his favorite snack (usually pretzels), a Capri Sun, the cart with the kiddie car attached to it, and we ALWAYS stop at the bakery to get a free cookie. I also don't go to the grocery store unless he napped, or it's before snap time.
      The kiddie car ones at Publix are not on the bottom at the end like at Kroger. So, he's strapped in and facing me, but he gets to play with the wheel. We go to Publix, and we go to the same one every time so he knows what to expect. The layout there is very neat, it's never over crowded, and the aisles are big. I know that sounds crazy to most people, but a neat, clean, orderly, laser-lined store does make a big difference!
      Before we got to this point he would have tantrums. He's still not always perfect, but he usually does great. When he does throw a fit, my exterior is so calm, even though in my head and I so frustrated. I will literally stand there, not move the cart, and tell him no, softly as long as it takes. I won't give him something (like snack or phone) until he stops crying and signs "please." Or, I will take whatever he's got, and not give it back until he stops crying and signs "please." Making him stop crying and signing "please" before he can have anything HUGE for us. This is the most important thing we learned in ABA. The first few times we did this in home during ABA therapy it took a LONG time. Now he knows right away that when I say (very softly and calmly), "You need to stop crying and say, please." Now, a lot of the time he atopy by the time I say "You need to..."
      Again, he's not perfect, so don't think I'm trying to say this is the magic answer! But it does help us a ton!
      (January 7 at 3:07 PM)

    2. I love Publix! Milo can't eat the free bakery cookies because of his special diet, but these are all great ideas. I prefer the Publix carts to the Kroger carts because I feel like I can break up arguments between the boys better! :P
      (January 7 at 3:23 PM)

  2. And I never go unless he's had a snack within the past 30 minutes! Sometimes it feels like he's starving all the time. (Figured you might suggest snacks.) ;) (January 4 at 8:56 PM)

  3. That is nice story.. and i think i can get some learns from that experience . thanks for share..


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