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.