When Eddie was younger, I’d take him to the grocery store and talk about everything. I’d point out what was on the shelves, the various smells, and even how much things cost. I was teaching him the concept of “grocery store”…and he was not impressed. So, grocery stores were hard with him, and over time we stopped taking him. Well, times change, and his Dad just proved that we should always try again.
James, Eddie’s Dad, told me one day recently that he was taking Eddie grocery shopping. I thought he was crazy, and probably said something sarcastic like, “Good luck with that!” In the past, Eddie would cry in the store, not want to walk, and usually only lasted through the front door. James felt that it was time to try again, and he did.
His report afterwards blew my mind. Eddie now likes pushing the cart, and they spent an hour walking through the store and talking about items. James would even have Eddie pull items off the shelves, and put them in the cart with his help. Eddie wasn’t just pushing the cart for “busy-work,” but he was being given jobs. Hint: kids like Eddie like activities to be meaningful, and James gave him that.
This continued to the fruit section, where James let Eddie feel the entire section of apples. The produce manager wasn’t happy, and quickly came over to find out what was going on. James said Eddie was just picking out an apple. As the produce manager looked unconvinced, James turned to Eddie and threw out a question he wasn’t sure Eddie would answer.
He said, “Eddie can you pick up that bag of apples and put it in the cart?” Shockingly, Eddie did exactly what James asked, and they headed down the aisle. This one little moment even had my husband tearing up a bit. Due to Eddie’s language delays, it’s hard to know what he fully comprehends. When James asked him to do something on his own, and Eddie followed through…it was a very proud moment.
These are one of those moments we wait for YEARS to see when our children have developmental delays. When the day comes, we are shocked and sometimes emotional. I’m glad that James is expanding Eddie’s horizons and pushing through our preconceived notions that can change with time. Those two are quite a pair, as made obvious in this photo of them pretending to be Bigfoot.
His grocery store experience has inspired me to keep trying with Eddie. Trying to remember he’s growing every day in every way. Trying to put experiences in his life that may not have worked before, but can work now. Trying to be a better mom and teacher…and in turn becoming a better advocate.