Charlie and I stopped at the store on the way home from choir practice tonight to buy a couple of things we needed and to get a frozen pizza for my dinner. He bounced along beside the cart, chatting happily about the fun time he'd had at the choir end of the year party. He'd had ice cream! With chocolate! And a cherry!! He was still talking when we got the milk case and his fingers got pinched in the door as I opened it.
Instantly, he went from happy and bouncy to sad and sobby. It was so awful. I held him and rubbed his back and kissed his fingers and told him what a good thing it was that Dr. Phent was waiting out in the car. We only needed a couple more things, we'd be with Phent soon!
He recovered, eventually, and we headed to the checkout stand. As I loaded the groceries onto the belt Charlie was peering around the check writing platform thing and looking at the cashier. When he had her attention he extended his sore finger to show her the injury.
Since he had hurt his middle finger, he was flipping her the bird, so I rushed to explain that he was showing her his hurt finger. She came around the counter and handed him a coupon for the kids' ball machine in the store and asked if that would make it feel better. He smiled and ran off to play the game.
And then as she was scanning my food she said to me, very casually, "Is your son on the spectrum?"
There was a long-ish silence. And then I smiled and said "No, he's not."
She explained that she has two autistic sons and that the customer before me had been their teacher. They would be graduating soon. "How nice!" I said, and meant it.
She seemed flustered after that. I picked up my groceries and we left.
I told Ryan (and Facebook, naturally) about it and we analyzed it--she may have thought he was nonverbal because of the way I explained the finger thing, but Charlie? Nonverbal? Seriously? And it was kind of odd the way he was peering around the check writing platform at her, but it wasn't *that* weird. The incredulous responses on Facebook were great. My mom called, horrified, and we had a good laugh.
But we laughed the hardest when Charlie used sign language to tell us he wanted to get ready for bed. And then when Ryan came downstairs after giving him his antihistamine for seasonal allergies (which he usually takes for excema) and said "Charlie tasted this and said it's his rash medicine, not his nose medicine." In other words, the moment the cashier saw Charlie in the store was one of his *least* weird moments ALL DAY! If only she'd seen him naming all of the candidates for president and vice president when he was two!