Tuesday, February 23, 2010

this is only a test

I decided to put my new shopping strategy to the test. Could I take Martin to a store without a pizza station? Could I get him to shop without the promise of pizza? Last night, we went to a sewing store.

Even though I'm not great with a needle or machine, I really like sewing and sewing stuff. Maybe it's because I grew up running around my grandmother's quilt shop and the adjacent sewing shop run by my aunt. I liked running my hand across bolts of fabric lined up in long rows. My siblings and I used to hide under quilts placed across long racks. I wondered if Martin might have a similar fascination.

So we drove to the sewing shop, although this one was quite different than the one owned by my aunt. Along with material and needles, it has craft supplies and holiday decorations and even candy. Martin and I walked in and he walked immediately to the Easter display. "Look at all these toys," Martin said in amazement. "Yes," I replied, "apparently Jesus really liked toys."

I let Martin lead me through the store for a little bit. He moved from the Easter decorations to a huge window that offered a funny reflection. Then he looked at the Valentine's Day clearance rack. Then I asked him if we could look at the thread. While I looked for the color I needed, I asked Martin to name the colors he saw. When I picked up my spool, Martin said it was time to go home.

I'm realizing that I just have to give Martin a little more time. Too often I rush around with him, trying to run my errands as if he wasn't there. No wonder he resists or asks for things or complains. How could that time be enjoyable if he has no opportunity to turn it into something he might like? It made me think back to my grandmother. She was trying to get her work done, trying to make beautiful quilts, with a bunch of grandchildren running underfoot. She could have made it hard on us. "Don't touch the quilts. No drinks in the store. Stay quiet." But she didn't. She let us turn her store into our playroom. And somehow, I have only happy memories of being in that tiny store for hours at a time. So I guess it's time to slow down with Martin. Time to appreciate the terrible Easter decorations. Time to name all the colors of thread.


  1. a good lesson for all of us, to slow down and notice the colors of thread and tacky easter decorations

  2. Oh, come now, Jen, you know Jesus was the first one to hang plastic eggs from a tree. Isn't that in Leviticus?

  3. I like Brian's post--I find with my non-autistic 3 year old, when I take my time and include him in whatever I'm doing as an "experience," it's much easier on all of us. Thanks for the reminder.

    Totally unrelated, but have to ask if you are making the Easter lamb cake this year.

  4. I'll answer for her since I read the comments more than she does: "Yes! Of course!"

    Check this out: