July 16, 2010

Right on Target

This evening Hannah and I had a date to go to our local Down Syndrome Association meeting.   The menfolk had other plans, so Hannah and I decided to go run some errands at Target before we headed into town for the meeting.

We had a short shopping list--just a few "unmentionables" for a growing and developing girl, and I wanted to look at the iPod Nanos.  Kate suggested that I bring music/ear buds to keep myself occupied on long bus rides in Jordan.  I also have a total of 29 hours of layovers on this trip and I'm not bringing my laptop.   I'm not an ear bud person in general.   I use them when I work out, but they bother me.    I have been fussing around with James' old iPod Shuffle, but I don't think it has enough space to keep me occupied with podcasts and entertainment for my layovers and incidentals (I could listen to This American Life forever).  I need to make a decision.

Anyhow, I wanted to look at what my options were, just in case I decided to splurge.

We picked up the items on our list (plus a bunch of other irresistible items that happen to jump into our cart while browsing--it happens to everyone at Target, yes?).   Then we walked over to Electronics.   Hannah asked, "What are electronics?"   So I as we walked that direction I explained what they were.   She wanted to stop and see the art aisle and the toy section.   Nope, no time for that.  We'd miss dinner at the meeting if we stopped to play.   So on we went.

I have gradually been giving Hannah more freedom in stores.  I can be in a different aisle while she's picking up something we need from our list.   Or I can be two aisles away while she's looking at the Color Wonder sets. I can leave her in the checkout line while I scramble to pick up the bread I forgot on the grocery list.  If I'm not back in time for our turn, she will start to load the groceries on the conveyor belt.  She is capable enough to rank some independence while shopping.  

So there I was in the iPod aisle, and Hannah in the adjacent Wii game aisle.    I heard her say something, and I replied that I was in the next row.  She didn't reply.  So I finished up my browsing and went to see what she had found.   But she wasn't there.

I looked around the area a bit, but didn't see her.   I asked the teen-aged Electronics worker if he had seen her.  Nope.

I wasn't all that worried.  I wandered around, thinking that she had probably illicitly migrated across the aisle to the DVDs.   Teen-aged worker asked if I wanted to page her.  Not quite yet.  After I walked down to the empty art aisle, I had him page her.  "Attention Target Guests, will Hannah L. please come to Electronics."

I wasn't so sure she'd know how to find her way back to the Electronics department, but I thought I'd give her a shot at it.  I didn't know if she'd even listen to the PA.

After another couple of minutes I told him I was going to go the front end, and he should keep her there if she showed up.  Total time missing=12 minutes.

I was halfway to the cash registers when I heard,   "Attention Target Guests, will Beth L. please come to the front end."

It made me smile.  

My girl did it.

She did exactly what I taught her to do--even without ever practicing.

Of course, I wasn't happy that she didn't listen and wandered away.   But I was really proud that she made the decision to go to the front end and tell a cashier that "I can't find my Mom."    She could speak clearly enough that she could tell them my first and last name.  She was composed.  And she was waiting for me.  She had solved the problem.  She perfectly hit the target.

The first thing I did was hug her and tell her what a good job she did. She started to melt down a little, after being so brave.  So I saved the other part of the lecture until we were out the door.

I have always told my young children that if they had a problem they should always ask a Mom.  If they can't find a store worker, they should find a Mom, and ask them to help.  I also teach them that adults do not ask children to help them.  Children do not help random adults.  I don't go over these rules frequently; I want my children to be safe, but I don't want them to be afraid.  I want them to be confident, and have enough knowledge to make good decisions.

Today was a good experience.  I didn't freak out (go me!), and Hannah didn't freak out (go Nan!).  It worked out. Yes, I was imagining having to look through every security video they had, but I knew that, really, she was going to solve the problem she created.   And I'm so proud of her.


Erin said...

That is so cool that she knew exactly what to do. I really need to go over this with my 4 year old. She's very social and sometimes it makes me nervous.

Windmills and Tulips/Jasmine said...

O Beth, I'm proud of you both - I would not have been as calm. I would have freaked out. :-) Great job, Hannah.

Anonymous said...

What a GREAT post! It made me kind of teary...LOL! You wrote it so succinctly that I could see and feel it happening.

Go, Nan!!!

Melissa said...

Awesome job Hannah! And I think I would have freaked out a little more than you did. :)

Karly said...

I loved reading this post. Ms. Hannah always gives me so much hope for the life of my 3.5 yr old. It's wonderful to see such a bright girl pushing the expectations for our kids further and further.

Catherine said...

This story made me cry. I can't explain why, so I'm hoping you'll understand. Going to search for a tissue now.....

JennyH said...

Scary but glad she knew what to do!

Kristi said...

Thank you for sharing this story!! I am so glad Nan knew what to do :). Did she "wander" when she was younger? Our Jonathan sure did; God always protected him and kept us calm. But, it is still scary when they do!