The next stop was SuperTarget, which is an errand the boys actually like since they get free cookies from the bakery. It started out great - while their grabby hands were occupied with cookies, I sped us over to the scrapbooking aisle to look through the paper. (My goal is to have the first five years of their lives scrapbooked before they hit puberty. Lest you think I'm kidding, know that I have only managed to get the first 18 months of their lives into a book so far.) But as soon as the cookies were ingested, the grabbing, nagging and screeching starting.
Owen was the main culprit here. Maybe he had used up all of his patience at the DMV, or maybe he just thinks that annoying his brother is extra fun while in a crowded grocery store...I don't know. I managed to separate them for a few aisles (one walking, one riding), but that didn't last long. By the time we got to checkout, I knew it was going to be a challenge to make it to the van without losing my temper. Every poke from Owen elicited a scream from Aidan, which sent Own into loud fits of giggles and encouraged him to poke (or otherwise annoy) again.
I tried a preventative threat of no Cheez-its on the way home to any boy who misbehaved while we checked out...I kept them busy unloading small things from the cart...but Owen still managed to sneak in a few smacks to his brother's arm and managed to stand in the way of everyone within a 5-foot radius, obliviously talking about something or other.
So no, he didn't get Cheez-its on the way home. But here's where I struggle: Where do you draw the line between "naughty" behavior and the general obliviousness that comes with autism? Of course hitting is never tolerated and he knows that, but the basic not listening...sometimes I really think Owen is trying to do what I want, but he just can't seem to stay focused on what I'm saying long enough to get all of his instructions.
If it were Aidan blatantly disregarding my requests, warnings, and threats, I would be furious. With Owen, I'm more frustrated. I tried talking to him on the way home. I tried explaining that 5-year-olds can't shout and fight with their brothers in stores. But every time I would say, "Now, what did I just say?" he kept responding with an exasperated, "I don't know!" at one pointing adding, "You talk in too many words!" So I told him to let me know when he was ready to listen, which was met with complete silence for about 10 minutes before his little voice said, "Mommy, I'm ready to listen." Was he? Not really, but I was glad that he was still acknowledging that he was in trouble.
I don't want to lower my expectations for Owen. So far he has proven himself capable of learning and doing everything his brother can...only sometimes he gets there on a different path and I feel like it's my job to figure out which path to take.
I just struggle with how to discipline them fairly. I know, I know, it can't always be fair, but try telling that to five-year-olds twins.