Every once in a while, early on a Sunday morning, Max and I head over to Trader Joe's before the crowds descend. He likes to load up on their mac' n cheese. I like to load up on sugar snap peas and sneak in a little occupational and speech therapy for Max.
First, Max grabs a cart, masterfully whizzing it around—so fast that I have to remind him to stop so we can actually shop. He's the one who loads up the cart, although he attempts to pick up everything with his right hand alone.
"Two hands, Fireman Max!" I say, repeatedly. "Two hands!" (I need an app for that).
We read the names of products out loud. He grasps the cup at the juice sample station and drinks. He zooms the cart around some more.
The flat boxes are the easiest for him to pick up. Dunking ten boxes of mac 'n cheese into the cart? No prob. The taller cartons—like the French onion soup in the frozen food aisle—are harder, and take him multiple tries. ("Two hands, Fireman Max!")
When Max was little, his therapists were always urging Dave and Me to basically seizing everywhere we went as a therapy opportunity. In concept, that sounded great, but given Max's aversion to venturing out to new places, this didn't work out so much in real life. Now that he's gotten adventurous, and he is extremely fond of eating, we're able to get him to use his hands, climbing and balance in all sorts of different settings.
The checkout people at Trader Joe's are the best. Usually, we're the only ones in our line at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, and so they let Max drop products onto the counter and scan them himself. Then he helps load up the bags. This weekend, I got the lovely checkout lady to also say, "Two hands, Fireman Max!!!" Then he gave her a high five and grinned big, and we zoomed out to the car.