Bacon, HIs and Mine

This post was a part of another one I wrote on March 31. After close reading, I decided, that it should stand on its own as this is a separate and important topic. Moreover, today, on April 2nd, another trip to the supermarket brought a nice, calm solution to the described problem.

Just before the lunch, we went to Stop and Shop to buy Robert’s favorite Tyson chicken. At the beginning, everything went very well, as it always goes. Robert tried to buy his favorite Thai Chips, but I gave him a choice of chips or chicken. He put chips away and found Hot and Spicy Tyson Chicken instead.
But then, I chose two packages of Farmland bacon, because they were on sale: two for 4.99. Robert removed them from the shopping cart and put two packages of Oscar Mayer instead. He must have been convinced that I made a mistake and he attempted to correct it. After all I always buy Oscar Mayer. When I tried to explain to Robert why this time I wanted to buy Farmland, he didn’t accept my explanation about higher and lower prices. I don’t blame him. Rarely during our shopping, I asked him to choose cheaper item. I don’t think Robert understands that concept yet. Anyway, when I asked Robert to switch back, he became agitated, protesting rather loud. I stood my ground and told him that since we disagreed, we would not buy any bacon that day. Although unhappy, Robert put Oscar Mayer bacon back. Of course, I could easily predict that this would happen and plan for this situation. But life does not always let us prepare for the unexpected thus managing one’s reaction to such event is a true challenge.
The entire “discussion” lasted maybe half a minute but it was a loud exchange and I considered it a setback. Because, I was loud too. Being stern and using a full voice served two purposes. For once, if I whispered, it would give Robert the wrong impression of my weakness caused by the embarrassment. Secondly, I did not want anybody, who witnessed this exchange to consider me the victim of someone out of control. The image of people with autism being out of control has been already installed with too many bystanders. Robert is not out of control, even though his behavior was problematic.
Despite the appearance, I was pretty shaken, as this was the first problem in the grocery store since 2006. In eight years of going to the store, we didn’t have any problems. Robert could find anything and was never insistent on buying something I told him not to, because we had it at home or because it was not good for him (like cheese in a can).
While, I understood that the reason Robert wanted to switch one Farmland bacon for Oscar Mayer’s, I didn’t anticipated such a strong reaction. Was it because he is much more stressed by staying home and resulting from that his sleepless night?
Yes, I appreciate the fact that Robert has been so wonderful in stores in the past. I appreciate that he agreed to leave Oscar Mayer bacon in the store and leave the issue unresolved until later. I appreciate the fact that the rest of our shopping trip went smoothly as Robert demonstrated much more independence using self register – scanning the items and even entering the codes for tomatoes and apples.
I appreciate all of that, but I still worry.
Robert does too. He hates confrontations. He is exhausted and slightly depressed after they happened. Yesterday, he was sad too. Luckily, he had his last cooking class in the session. He was among his peers. He was busy. He was happy.
Today, April 2nd, after a morning session of learning, Robert and I drove to the Stop and Shop Supermarket. Before we left, I asked Robert, ” Could we buy one Oscar Mayer bacon for you and one Farmland bacon for me?”
“OK”, he said.
Still, I wasn’t sure. But at the store, he chose one his, and I chose one mine kind of bacon. It was that simple.

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1 Comment

  1. Jean

     /  April 5, 2014

    Verbal rehersal helps Nolan too. Even when he disagrees, he can consider alternatives based on the information provided.


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