Someone’s unhappy. No lollipops at the bank, because Daddy used the ATM tonight. Mommy always uses the drive-up window, and the Little Guy always gets a lollipop. But it was after hours, and the window was closed. The poor guy sitting in the back seat of my car just couldn’t comprehend a world in which The Bank does not equal Lollipop. No matter how many times I explained it to him, it just didn’t load. He knew his routine, and there was no room for variation. The autistic brain thrives on structure and predictability. Unanticipated change is a dangerous thing—especially when that change means no lollipops!
A Stuck Brain.
“Are we going to get a lollipop?”
“Not tonight, Little Guy. I have to go to the ATM.”
“Aren’t you going to the bank?”
“Yes, the ATM is a machine at the bank.”
“Doesn’t the machine give lollipops?”
“No, it doesn’t. If you want a lollipop, you have to go to the window. But that’s closed now.”
“But we going to the bank, and we always get lollipops at the bank.”
“Yes, but we can’t get one tonight.”
“But Mommy always gets lollipops at the bank.”
“That’s because she uses the window. But the window is closed, so we can’t get one.”
“No lollipop? This is so wrong!”
“I’m sorry, Little Guy, but we can’t get one.”
“But aren’t we going to the bank? We always get lollipops at the bank.”
I tried. I really did. I tried changing the subject. But he kept circling back to the lollipop. I tried to turn it into a game, tickling him and telling him that we had a yummy dinner waiting for us at home. Nope. I even took him to the drive-up window so that he could see that no one was there. No dice. No matter what I did, he became more and more anxious.
So I did what any sane man would do. I took him to the drive-through window at pharmacy across the street. They give out lollipops too.
“Hi, I think you have a prescription waiting for me? The name is Z-a-n-c-h-e-t-t-i-n. Nothing? Oh well, I guess my wife already picked it up. Oh, by the way, can you give my boy here a lollipop?” [I’m so clever.]
“Sorry, sir. We’re all out of lollipops.”
$#!† Now I was really in trouble. He started to cry. Big, crocodile tears.
As we headed home, I tried a different distraction. I promised him a couple of mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups after dinner. But his language glitch was in high gear. First he thought I was promising him a cup of chocolate.
“No, chocolate and peanut butter. Together.”
“But I don’t like peanut butter. Only Nutella.”
“No, Little Guy. It’s a Reese’s Cup. You remember them, don’t you?”
“Is it chocolate ice cream?”
“No, chocolate and peanut butter. Together. You know—Reese’s cups!”
“Do you have them here?”
“No, they’re at home, waiting for us.”
“Instead of dinner?”
“No, after dinner.”
<Sniff> “Okay” <Sniff> “And a lollipop, right?”
The Comforts of Home.
By this time, we had pulled into the garage. He got out of the car, headed into the kitchen, and ate dinner with the rest of the family. A little disconsolate, but nothing too dramatic. Come dessert time, he had completely forgotten about the Reese’s cups. He was back home, back in his routine, and all was right with the world.
The little stinker!