We were on the brink of a taco, taco, taco meltdown, but we held it together. That is a win in my book!
One night last week, P and I were in between activities when we decided we better take a break to grab a bite to eat. The evening sun was setting, I was feeling tired and hoping to make supper a quick stop. I reviewed the food choices with P that we would pass during our commute. I explained to him that we would see a Subway or Burger King. His response was slow, so I was confident he was considering the choices I had just given to him. We were in the car driving in the direction of my two suggestions. I was still waiting for an affirmative answer from P. He was chatting about school, the upcoming school concert, and the fact that he was feeling hungry. I said to him, “I’m glad you are hungry. Would you like BK or Subway?” He replies, “Neither. Can we go to Taco John’s?”
I repeated, “Taco John’s?”
“Yes, Mom. They have the taco, taco, taco commercial and I think I would like to eat that tonight.” P replied.
Now, I was not familiar with this “promotion.” I mentally flipped through social media ads and TV ads I might have encountered trying to remember what it was P wanted to try. I said Ok as I switched lanes to turn towards Taco John’s. As we walked into the restaurant, I did a google search to find the taco, taco, taco special. By this time, P was hungry and happy that I said OK to his favorite taco joint. I didn’t see anything on the website.
P looks at the menu boards, and I do the autism scan of the restaurant. Exits-check. Fire alarms-check. Salsa bar-check. Other guests-check. I said a silent thank you that we were the only customers at the time. P is still searching for the elusive taco, taco, taco deal. I ordered my tacos and a drink. I asked P, “Are you ready to order?” I am always looking for places to practice social skills. P steps up and says to the cashier, “Can I have the taco, taco, taco special?” The newbie cashier looks at P, looks at me with panic, and furiously scrolls through the screens on the register. A manager steps in to help, and she delivered the devastating news P did not want to hear. “We no longer have the taco, taco, taco promotion. It was a limited time.”
I looked at P to make sure he heard the message. Hold the show did he ever hear the words. Loud and clear, god bless America did P hear the news. I could see the physical reaction in P. Teary eyes, hands shaking, red face, and shallow breathing. I was expecting a mother of all mother meltdowns right there in Taco Johns over the taco, taco, taco special I didn’t even know existed until 10 minutes previous to this moment. I stood in front of P preparing for the impending fight that I was sure was going to happen. I said to P, “I’m sorry it is all done.”
“But …but …but” is all that came out of P’s mouth. I asked him to take a moment and do an engine check. I could see he was doing the deep breathing, counting on his fingers, trying so desperately to calm down. One final big breath, P turns around to the manager and newbie cashier who were both watching the scene unfold before their eyes. He says to them, “I was very excited to eat the taco, taco, tacos. If it is all done you should take the commercial off the TV.” (Like the manager has any say over Taco John’s marketing.)
The manager was kind and understanding. She asked, “What else can we get you tonight buddy?” P pointed to a picture and replied: “Plain tacos please.” He was still recovering from having his heart set one thing, but having to choose another.
I was so proud of P to hold it together. One year ago, this would have caused a major meltdown. Choices are hard for P. Once he makes a decision, it is final. At times, we have to be flexible to choose something else case in point at Taco John’s. As much as I try to coach P, through these scenarios, I don’t always know all the possiblitlies that could happen. We were on the brink of a taco, taco, taco meltdown, but we held it together. That is a win in my book!
All my best to you,