Big Helper


The grocery store has the possibility of being a disaster. However, I have figured out a way of making it an interactive event resulting in fewer tears than I would have imagined. I discovered this several months ago but discovered the full power of the technique this afternoon.

Robbie was in full meltdown mode when we pulled into the Stop & Shop parking lot. I’m talking screaming, pausing for a deep breath, and screaming again at a higher pitch.He was somewhat calmer when I got him into the cart, reminding him of what a big helper he is in the grocery store. When I grabbed the first item off the shelf, Rob was in full helper mode.

It’s a pretty good system we have down: I hand Robbie whatever I want to purchase; Robbie inspects the item; if the item is found to be acceptable, it is place in the back of the cart by Robbie. The only time this has really failed is when Rob misses the cart and the item lands on the floor. For this reason, all fragile items are handles by both of us. This also works well for heavy items, like bags of dog food. I pretend that it’s so heavy I couldn’t possibly do it without Rob’s help. He giggles and helps me put it in the back.

However, all bets are off if there is an item Robbie finds particularly desirable. There were two of those tonight. One was a container of yogurt (the other seven were thrown back without a thought; the eighth was a coveted item). Yogurt is bad for this because the seal can be bitten through, causing quite a mess. The other item was equally hazardous, though for other reasons. I bought a roll of wrapping paper, which Robbie carried for about ten minutes. Much to the dismay of the other shoppers in the aisles who narrowly missed being knighted by Sir Robert.

We made it out of the store without a major meltdown, and, let’s face it, that’s really the goal of any trip to a public place. In fact, the event was so successful that Robbie did a victory dance at home. Now I just need to figure out how to get him through a trip to see Santa…


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