The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

June 19, 2014
Fifteen or Sixteen years ago, during our family trip to Quebec, at the request of our daughter, ten years old at that time, we went to the French restaurant specializing in crepes. We knew, that going to French restaurant meant we wouldn’t be able to order french fries for Robert or any other food he would eat. Still, Amanda deserved to have her wishes fulfilled at least once in a while. So we went there. We ordered crepes with different fillings for each of us, including Robert.
We ate our crepes. Robert didn’t. He smiled, he might have even touched a small piece of crepe with his lips, but that was all. We finished, paid, and left the restaurant.
We weren’t three steps from the door when Robert suddenly began screaming. He tried to pull us back to the restaurant. We knew, he felt cheated. He didn’t get HIS food. He wanted go back and get it. After all. he waited patiently. Both, Jan and I tried to half pull half carry him to the car on the other side of the street. Robert’s efforts to prevent that were partially successful. Using masterfully passive resistance tricks, he spread himself in the middle of the busy street. We had difficulties picking him up and carrying to the car. I still sweat when I remember that experience. The worst part was that Amanda, was sincerely sorry, that she “made” us go to the French restaurant.
Of course, we quickly found a restaurant that had fries and nuggets. We sat quietly watching Robert taking his time to savor every bite of his food.
The fact that this situation didn’t repeat itself for those 15 or 16 years, was because we had learned our lesson. We have never ventured with Robert to a restaurant that didn’t have something for him.That meant that the best restaurants were out of questions.
As we kept taking Robert to restaurants that offered fries, chicken fingers, cheeseburgers,chicken wings,or pizza, Robert didn’t need to protest. That fooled us into believing that the problem dissipated.

It didn’t.
Just yesterday, Robert protested very loudly when members of his walking club entered a frozen yogurt shop to give themselves a healthy reward. Robert doesn’t eat frozen yogurt. He doesn’t eat ice cream either. The place was not what he expected. Maybe he was confused. Maybe he felt cheated. But he was angry and/or disappointed and he showed it. He screamed. He screamed loud enough for the members of his Club to leave the place.
They might feel as embarrassed as Amanda felt long before them.

Robert and I talked about that today. We wrote a two paragraph report about the Wednesday’s event. It is time, I believe, for Robert to learn a lesson what it means to be a part of the group: Share what the members have in common, accept what is different. Think, how others might be impacted by your behavior.
He wrote something to the same effect, but he used simpler, concrete words. After all. he doesn’t know the word “impact” yet, although he makes it frequently.

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