Saturday, August 17, 2013

Failing to Plan = Planning to Fail (Life with #Autism)

Went to Menchie's this evening. I was worried it was going to be a problem. And so it was.

Menchie's, if you don't know, is a frozen yogurt place. It's a small space. At the back, 8 self-service flavors in a curved wall. There are cups at the start and tiny sampling cups behind you. Then another wall that contains mix-ins - candy, nuts, toppings.  In the center is the island containing the cash registers. So the idea is that you sample some flavors, then get a large cup and dispense yogurt and then add toppings. (I like to put some yogurt, toppings, more yogurt, more toppings.)

This requires two hands. Not one hand and a hand holding the hand of a small child. Not one hand because the other arm is holding a small child.

So here's what typically happens: my wife and daughter will get their yogurt while I try to get mine. Invariably Ben will rebel and run or fight or have a mini-meltdown. I'll have to give up and just wait until they're done. So their yogurt begins melting. At the same time, a group of about 8 adults and children will come in and stand in front of the machines sampling everything and slowly getting their yogurt and then slowly paying.

I'll finally get mine after Lori comes and takes Ben. In the meantime, without supervision, Rachel will get too much yogurt. And then these things are sitting there unpaid for and I'm worried that the cashiers are starting to think they're trying to avoid paying.  And I'm seriously anxious and frustrated and so then that colors the whole rest of the visit where Ben, not wanting to be there, screams and yells and gets upset because we try to offer him a spoon of yogurt.

So if this is what happens every time, that means it's a problem or a challenge. And all good problems are just opportunities for designing a solution. And that's what's missing. Future trips can be successful.

So... now just need to engineer success.

Why did that take me so long to realize that I need to responsible for the future success? Oh well, at least now I know. So now I can fix it.

Next time - an enjoyable trip to Menchie's where I don't stress, get mad, get anxious, get frustrated and don't eat quickly. But instead one where we move like a well oiled machine, from insertion to execution to extraction to frozen yogurt awesomeness.

Once more into the breach. Seal Team? Lamb Team. Boo-ya.



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