In previous posts, I have shared my son’s love/hate relationship with shopping. When younger, my TBP would stop in his tracks to admire the many rows of votive candles and was obsessed by all the shampoo bottles. In both cases, he was initially intrigued by the various colors and then (after closer examination) stayed longer due to the strong fragrances. These quirky aspects of shopping were tolerable as long as I didn’t really need to shop.
However, my son seemed to have a sixth sense when it came to the importance of getting my shopping done on certain days. It never failed! The days when I had the greatest need to get through my list, were the very days that the shopping experience went South in a flash. It wasn’t unusual to find my full shopping cart abandoned in an aisle due to an unexpected, and very obvious tantrum. At the time, I would panic and my single objective was to make a mad dash to the exit! Once in the car, I was relieved that the public embarrassment was over… but I always felt badly for the employee that had to return all my deserted items.
It wasn’t long before I noticed a pattern. It went something like this…I’d try to shop…he’d throw a fit. I got embarrassed and overwhelmed…we left. Mission accomplished. We would be in the car and headed back home…which was exactly where he had wanted to be in the first place. In the comfort of his own home. When I first clued into the pattern, I took it personally. It had to be some sort of covert “get-Mama-to-freak-out” mission. In all fairness, I didn’t realize (at the time) the sensory issues that impacted my son. To most shoppers, the smells, crowds, bright lighting and other stimulation all go undetected. But, because of his sensory and slow to transition issues, my TBP was dead set against shopping. I didn’t yet realize the uncomfortableness that he felt with each transition. As for me, shopping was no longer enjoyable.
These days, I can usually turn a trip to the farmer’s market into a tolerable experience. For grocery stores, I will shop on the way home from work, bring a hand-held video game for the trip, or take a list of 12 items or less and race through holding my breath the whole way! On a good day, it works out for me. On a bad day…takeout.
The most painful shopping is the dreaded clothes shopping. Not too long ago, a trip to Old Navy confirmed that it just wasn’t worth it. I remember thinking…You need to pick your battles! Should today be a total disaster due to a pair of jeans? Not if I can help it! This is about the time, when the light bulb finally turned on! Sensory + Transition Issues = INTERNET SHOPPING!!!
Clothes shopping on the internet has been mostly successful. Yes, we take the risk of getting a T-shirt that is far too rough or pants that are too stiff and then those items go back. However, I found a fantastic website (which I am NOT getting paid to share) that will help me with shopping! ZBs clothes have pants that allow for an extended life! When the pants become too short for your growing child, you zip them off and make shorts. If you want pants to last longer, you can attach the additional cuff for extra wear. Yes, there are other pants that zip off, but the cuff thing was new and I think it’s fantastic! The other great thing is the material. My son likes the feel and says they are nice and “pinchy.” Longer wear and a material that is soft, this totally works for me! Not to mention the fact that he doesn’t like change so the cuffs allow him to keep “the ones that are comfortable” longer than expected! I encourage you to visit the website and check them out!
I guess the bottom line is this…Do what makes your weekends or errands manageable. Get to a point where the stranger looking disgusted at your child playing video games from the grocery cart doesn’t bother you! If it is easier to abandon the “fun shop for school clothes” fantasy and replace it with shopping online after bedtime, do it! If you are a parent of a TBP you understand what I am saying! This might be one of those times where (like it or not) you need to adjust your expectations for your reality!