“Rhys, shoes then shopping”
I use his name first to trigger his attention and then purposely provide the sequence of events in the order they will occur.
Rhys comes towards me, “Shoes” he repeats, showing understanding of the request. He sits on the bottom step of the stairs as I place each shoe on his foot and secure it with the velcro strap.It is something we do everyday. The simple language helps him understand. Minimal words mean no confusion.
Six months ago I would have supplemented these words with a picture of his shoes followed by a picture of a car and then the shops. We have come so far since then, with his understanding of language and following instructions improving all the time.
Off we go. Rhys climbs into the car, “Shopping” he says with excitement. Glad to get out the house and see the sights.
We have always been lucky with shopping. I have taken Rhys since birth. The tanoy system, mixture of different colours and sounds have never resulted more than a seldom cupping of his ears.
We arrive at the supermarket.
“Rhys, Mummy get trolley” I say. Once again using the minimum number of words possible. After getting a trolley I return to the car to get Rhys. He climbs out the car and I hold his hand to ensure his safety. I grab his booster seat and place it in the trolley.
Booster seat? You may ask! Let me explain…
I have always put Rhys in the trolley for shopping, but as soon as he was too big for the “baby seat” I had to put him in the main trolley part, but this caused upset. Rhys would stand up in the trolley demanding to be let out. I would try do the shopping but he would be running around the shop or lying horizontal across an aisle, stopping shoppers from getting past. It was a disaster.
I knew I couldn’t go on like this, so I did what I always do, I analysed the situation. Naturally, I assumed he did not want to be in the trolley. It was a change to routine moving from the baby seat to the big part.
The next time we went shopping, I watched his actions as I placed him in the trolley. He happily got lifted up and attempted to sit down, the second his bum touched the trolley he stood up and protested. I then realised that it was not what I had expected at all. It was uncomfortable for him to sit on the metal mesh of the trolley. I grabbed his booster seat from the car – a potential solution to our problem. I placed it in the trolley and lifted Rhys back in. He sat down with no protest. A comfortable ride for him and successful shopping trip for me.
So here we were ready for today’s shopping trip. Rhys in the trolley on his comfortable booster seat.
Off we went into the shop.
Right on cue Rhys announces, “Apple!”. I find a bag, open it and hand him a red one. He is content with his comfortable seat and snacks to enjoy while he is wheeled around the aisles.
This is the standard routine for shopping. Being pushed around with an apple as distraction.
As we move around the shop, the different items being strategically place around Rhys, he shouts, “Up”. I panic slightly, wondering how this is going to turn out. I lift him out the trolley and place him on the ground next to me.
“Rhys, hold the trolley” I request. His little hand grasps the handle and he pushes forward with all his force. I continue to gather the last items on the list, keeping one eye on Rhys the whole time. He lets go of the trolley but happily runs back and forth next to it. Suddenly he goes a bit too far for my liking, I shout “Rhys, Stop! Rhys, this way”, he stops, turns around, a smile across his face and runs back towards me. I feel a warm sense of pride. Out in the wild world of the supermarket and I finally have control 🙂
I was so proud of being in a supermarket with Rhys out of the trolley, enjoying an experience that was not stressful but actually a really nice bonding experience.
We finished our shopping and headed back out to the car. Rhys’ hand on the trolley, content with his new accomplishment. Going forward, I think weekend shopping is going to be our thing 🛒🛍🚗