learning to navigate the world, j-bear style

Fabulous Dinner Dates

It’s oh-dark thirty here and I should be in bed. I will be, shortly. I wanted to write this down first.

This afternoon Mr. Pickles and I ended up taking a nap that was way too late and way too long to be conducive to a good bedtime. This should have led to a terrible evening if past experiences meant anything. If he naps too late, the evening is a chaotic disaster nearly every time. I was braced for total fail on all fronts. 

I was hunkering down, preparing to put on heavy padding and bury myself under a fort of pillows for my own safety from the three foot monster in my house when I realized we needed to make our monthly run to Wegman’s out west of us. I love, love, LOVE that grocery story but it’s at such a distance from us that monthly runs are generally all we make. We were overdue to go and it was coming up on the time traffic would die down for the evening. I seized the opportunity, loaded J-bear into the car and we bolted like we had broken out of Alcatraz.

It was awesome.

Traffic? None to speak of. Weather? Gorgeous. Plans? Fluid and completely open to our whims. 

We stopped at IHOP right next to Wegmans and enjoyed a fun dinner with not a lick of healthy food. I figure it’s a celebration of his first week of school and his success there and at the doctor today. He enjoyed a Funny Face pancake, even braving touching the pancake though he would not actually eat the pancake itself. He gobbled down whipped cream and chocolate chips though. 

told you there was no healthy food to be had. Unless bacon counts, cause he ate half a piece of that.

He behaved wonderfully. I cannot even express enough how well he did. He stimmed, yes. He babbled, loudly at times, and he even engaged in a few behaviors I find awkward to deal with in public (harsh head shaking and smacking himself in the face :'(). A lot of people might not have characterized an outing in a restaurant with all of these behaviors as good but they don’t know my boy. They’ve never seen him just spend the whole time screaming, trying to vomit (or succeeding at it), and other upsetting and sad actions. This was him being more organized and more within the here and now and I loved it.

The grocery store is one of the few that he actually enjoys. You see, Wegman’s has this huge train that runs over the dairy section. If nothing else will calm him, that will. Today a car cart was available so let’s just say this boy had it made in the shade. He loved it, remained happy and calm through the entire trip and had no freak outs when I might step away from the cart very briefly to get an item or three.

These are victories for us. Usually, shopping trips are so exhausting for me that I rarely want to go again. I usually miss half my list and end up so exasperated I want to cry along with him. It is a rare day he’s not bolting or stimming on carriages or pulling everything within reach off the shelves.

I love this. I love this so much. I know this is just today and that tomorrow might be an overwhelming nightmare but it was not today. There will be more todays, enough to make getting through the nightmare days worth it. 

Til then, I am going to be very, very grateful for the wonderful date I got to have with my best boy as he ate chocolate, whipped cream and milk for dinner. He will not be a little boy forever and every chance he has to be a “typical” child makes me happy beyond measure.


  1. anne rossetti (mary's sister)

    sounds like a great day – so happy for you both!

    • nicole

      thank you! he had a lot of fun and so did I 🙂

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