Friday, 31 July 2009


Every week we go shopping, Jack doesn’t like shopping, he puts up with it only because he knows he has to and sometimes he gets a toy.
In the early days we used to get full on tantrums the moment he caught wind that we were going to Tesco. He’d start screaming, ‘I DON’T WANT TO GO TO TESCO, NOOO!’ all the way there. Usually we were able to calm him down once we got in the store, but it was never easy.

What made it particularly difficult was that he developed an excellent sense of direction very early in his life. Even though he can’t see much out of his window he knew the moment we were heading to Tesco, or anywhere else he didn’t want to go. We tried all sorts of things to keep him calm with limited success. We tried not mentioning where we were going, but he’d just ask and ask until, presumably by the process of elimination the destination was discovered. One time we went out of our way to go a different route to Tesco, didn’t fool him for a second, as soon as we got within half a mile of Tesco the tantrum began.
One of our more clever tactics was to go to another store. Thinking that Tesco itself might be most of the problem we figured, we’ll go somewhere else and maybe it will be more fun for him, mix it up a little. As soon as we reached the A460 our plan back-fired. “I DON’T WANNA GO TO SAINSBURY’S, NOOOO!”

Once Jack was calmed down the shopping experience was usually a lot of fun. Jack and I would talk, sing and shout our way around the store, Helen never had any problems finding us. We’d poke and tickle and play whatever little games we could think of until Jack got hiccups.

Now a days shopping is pretty problem free, the only problems we have fall into two distinct categories;
1. Wanting things he can’t have. Jack is a shop-aholic apart from his general dislike of shopping. He’s forever asking us, or offering to, buy things. When asked what he wants to do he will say, ‘Let’s go buy something, let’s buy a toy’. When shopping he’s surrounded by things that he wants to buy. Tesco has even started hanging little strips of knick-knacks in the isle to temp the impulse shoppers. Much of our discussion revolves around why he can’t have something.
2. Special awareness. Jack just plain doesn’t watch where he’s going, I don’t think any child does really. He’ll walk out in front of people, into people, into displays, shelves, walls, if something exsists, he’ll walk into it. When it’s busy we try to encourage Jack to stay close to us, but this usually just means that I’m manoeuvring the cart around him all the time.

Now-a-days we let Jack walk around and help load the cart to keep him occupied. Usually this works pretty well sometimes we buy him a toy that he’ll proudly tote around the shop until he can, ‘Give it to the lady’ after which he’s allowed to open it. When he gets tired he rides in the cart and chats to me about whatever’s on his mind.
The conversation has developed somewhat over the last few months. Jack is becoming more inquisitive and I often find myself explaining very complex occurrences to him. Just recently Jack, I can’t remember how, got me explaining the physics of sound-waves to him. He listens very well during these little lectures and occasionally even asks questions, most the time he just repeats back to me whatever he deemed to be the longest or funniest words that I used.
The other customers give us looks as Jack and I debate Einstein’s theory or Relativity. Sometimes they comment, or just smile and carry on with their shopping but there’s always some sort of look. Sometimes the other children around the store try to get involved, they almost always at least notice us. Jack has more than once incited riots with passing by children, choruses of singing or shouting, one time it was blowing raspberries, break out among a young family and the parents spend fifteen minutes struggling to regain the volume control.

Shopping with Jack is an experience, I recommend that everyone try it.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Who do yo love?

Jack is a flirt. Put him in front of a pretty girl and he's suddenly little Mr. Charming. He does all his little dances, tells all of his stories, grinning and giggling his way into the girl's heart.

The most recent encounter was with the daughter of the man we purchased our folding camper from. She was probably around ten years old and came out with us to spend her last few moments in her treasured camper. While she was there Jack tried everything to catch her eye. He danced and joked and told her all about his toys and the things he's done. She laughed at him but I'm not sure if she was very impressed. He was talking so fast that I'm not sure she understood much of what he was saying.

Then there's the playgroup girls. Mia, Phoebe and Izzy. Jack doesn't generally spend much time trying to woo these three. Jack loves Mia, if you ask him he'll tell you, and Mia loves Jack one third of the time, the rest of the time she loves Scott or Alfie, but there isn't much beyond that. Occasionally he'll be a little extra nice to them, usually with sharing his toys, but in general they don't have much novelty.

This weekend Jack was desperately excited because he knew that we were off to meet Meghan. Meghan is Jack's favorite pretty girl and he'll do pretty much any for her, or anything she says.
We arrived in Bewdley, the designated meeting town, and instantly we set out Meghan hunting. I knew she and her mom were going to be a little while still so I tried my best to get him interested in the other things going on while we waited. It worked in short spurts, he liked the boats, there was a rowers race going on, I don't think he really understood the race, after each race he'd announce "They won!" and then look for Meghan. After he finished his snack he said, "Can we find Meghan now?" None of my distractions lasted for more than five minutes or so before Meghan was back in his thoughts.
The the moment arrived. We spotted Meghan walking up the road. Jack fell into a fit of giggles and then took cover behind me. As Meghan approached I pushed him in her direction. With a encouragement Jack gathered his courage and approached her, be it all without his neck. Much to his delight Meghan greeted him with a big hug and a kiss, all his doubts melted away and little Mr. Charming surfaced.

Jack spent the lunch hours dancing, gabbing, and reciting nursery rhymes, especially 'Round the Garden' which he took to be her favorite. He took every hug or kiss that Meghan offered and loyally held her hand as we walked up and down the canal.

Jack was sad when we said goodbye and asked several times over the trip home if Meghan was coming home too. He was disappointed that she wasn't coming home with us but took comfort in our promise that we would see her again really soon.

Jack loves all the pretty girls, but Meghan holds a special place in his heart.