Sure, you think you can ace the Autism Momming Test, but we’ll see. Sharpen that #2 pencil and keep reading …
A Girl Walks out of a Grocery Store with a Balloon:
Once upon a time, in a not-so-far-away land, there was a little girl*. She was a cute, sweet-looking girl all of six tender years. She wore little black shorts, a little gray top and bright orange sneakers. Her sandy brown hair swung back and forth in its ponytail – cinched with a bright orange elastic – and she bounced a little when she walked.
The little girl’s mother^ took the little girl to the grocery store. The little girl dutifully followed her mother up and down the aisles, stopping occasionally to pluck items from shelves – red chippies, blue chippies, peaches, bananas, goldfish crackers – and toss them in the cart, humming away and waving the delicate pink balloon acquired from the nice lady in the Floral Department. The little girl waited patiently in line while her mother paid for the groceries.
Then, it all went to hell in a … shopping basket.
No sooner were her mother’s hands occupied by a full grocery cart, a handbag, a wallet, a cell phone, a receipt and some car keys, than the little girl decided to utterly lose her ability to hear and follow direction of any kind. In the 20 feet from the checkout counter to the front door, the little girl managed to touch at least seven things she shouldn’t and block the path of at least a dozen shoppers. Things did not bode well for the parking lot to come. A lot of $*&% could go awry between the door and the car.
Somehow, the little girl’s mother convinced the little girl to hold onto the shopping cart with one hand as they entered the parking lot. The first five feet went smoothly. But then -
An unexpected diversion!
Slowly, an elderly, white-haired man wearing a black hat and sporting a decent-sized boiler approached. Before he could smile, wave or say hello, the little girl bolted in his direction and …
The little girl straight punched the old man in the stomach! The little girl yelled “Hi-Ya!” as she did it. The old man let out a grunt that sounded like someone stepped on a frog while saying, “Oh!”
Comprehension Question 1
The mother’s proper response to this incident is:
A. ”Oh my god, I am so, so sorry.”
B. A nervous snort laugh (followed by an I’m-so-embarrassed laugh that only gets worse the more you think about it)
C. A mental inventory of all the First Aid she knows and whether the insurance bill was paid this month
D. All of the above. At the same time. While fast-walking toward car, cackling miscreant in tow, and repeatedly uttering, “That is not okay. That is not okay.”
Comprehension Question 2
The main idea of this story is:
A. How well a little girl generalized rough-housing with her grandfather to the broader social community
B. How important it is to recognize the dangerous subliminal messaging in The Wonder Pets and Jack’s Big Music Show
C. How valuable the purchase of two balloons might be in keeping “quiet hands”
D. How parenting a kid on the spectrum produces truly marvelous blog content
E. How a young girl decided she would be a ninja when she grew up
*I changed Helene’s name for dramatic effect, given she is neither innocent nor – apparently – in need of protection.
^That’d be me. I’m writing about me in the third person because I keep hoping that might make this whole thing unhappen to me and instead happen to some fictional mother elsewhere in the parking lot of a grocery store far, far, far … far, far … nope, farther … away.