Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hell At the Drive-Thru

  I have often said that being a patient person is one of my greatest gifts. It has been a blessing to me as a wife, mother and a daughter. Patience, however , has never been Mikey's strong suit. While most of the time he was happy and giggling, there were many moments when things were not so rosy. It seemed, that he,along with other children with autism, did not have a tremendous amount of patience in certain situations. I am not sure if this was a lack of ability to be patient, a lack of understanding as to why one needs to be patient, or a combination of both.
   One thing that we dreaded was the drive-through line at McDonald's. My kids are not really fast food fans, but they do enjoy the occasional hash brown or box of french fries....and that is all they would ever order.I myself, do not like fast food , however, kids are kids, and every so often, it was something they would ask for. Unfortunately,when Mikey was younger, his diet was somewhat restrictive.By that I mean, he did not like a large variety of foods. This is not uncommon for children in his situation. Combine that with class parties filled with fussy eaters being offered McDonald's, and you wind up with an ever present desire for more and more french fries.
   Whenever I would take a trip to McDonald's, I would go to the drive-thru. It was easier than dragging the four boys into the store with me, and Mikey having a meltdown in the middle of the store because his fries did not come fast enough. Now, when a store says "fast food," it should be just that, however it never was. Here is what would happen to us on every,single visit. I would pull onto the line, and Mikey would start to get antsy. A few cars in,and he would be kicking the back of my seat. Then came time to place the order....and I would have to try to quiet his yelling as I placed it. By the time I pulled away from the ordering place, he was in a full fit. Once we arrived at the window to pay, he was screaming, I was sweating, the other boys were yelling "be quiet", and I was remembering when I was young and single. Then ,inevitably, just when it seemed things could not possibly get worse, I would hear the words that I dreaded..."can you please pull up, and we'll bring the fries out when they are done?" Seriously??!!! This is a restaurant known for french fries, and they are never ready?! My son is screaming, and you want me to pull up?! As we pulled the car up to the waiting place, Mikey was in complete meltdown mode. Kicking, tears streaming down his face, and all of the boys were flustered. Waiting two minutes for a few boxes of french fries had turned into an eternity. Finally, they arrived, and the screaming turned to gentle sobs, and before we reached home, order had been restored. That my friends, was a typical quick ride to get some french fries.
   This went on for some time, and I tried to keep my boys away from there as much as possible. It created nothing but havoc for us.A simple box of fries created some of the most stressful moments that one would have to see to believe. One morning, Mike decided to take Mikey in by himself for breakfast. He really just wanted to try to help him understand the waiting concept if possible, and to spend a little time with him. Needless to say, after they ordered, they were told they would have to wait for three hash browns....well,
guess what happened? Mikey went into a full fit, and the girl at the counter just stood there looking at him. Finally the manager approached the counter, and asked the girl what the problem was. Mike told him that Mikey just wanted a hash brown and that he had autism.The manager turned to the girl and told her to get him his hash brown immediately. She did, and again, the calm was restored. The manager then told the girl that in a situation like that, you get the customer their food asap,and he apologized to Mike.
  Now, he really need not apologize,as it was not his fault, but the girl at the counter could have tried to help a bit faster instead of staring, but hey, this is what goes on.I am happy to report, that since these episodes, so very long ago, the tantrums have basically subsided . Mikey can now go into restaurants,most of the time, and wait a few minutes for his food. We just make sure that we never wait until he is super hungry.
  This is just one example of how living with autism can make your life so very different from the average family. Adjustments constantly need to be made, and we make them. Fortunately, Mikey has a much better diet these days, and fast food hardly ever happens anymore. I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am for that.

No comments:

Post a Comment