July 31, 2014

Our Sticky Situation

Dear Walmart,

I am breaking up with you.  I never want to see you again.  I am so sorry, it is not your fault.


I have a love-hate relationship with Walmart.  Mostly hate.  It has nothing to do with Walmart and everything to do with Bridger.

Included in Bridger's list of challenges is some pretty hefty obsessive tendencies.  He fixates and will not let go of certain trains of thought.  Anyone who has met Bridger has probably been asked their name, where their house is, followed by Bridger inviting himself to their house 3 times in their first 2 minutes of a conversation.  The deluxe version of that conversation would include all those same questions about their mother.

His latest obsession of the last six months is Walmart.  He asks to go there no less than 80 times a day.  If there is something he doesn't want to do, he will only comply with the request if he is promised that he gets to go to Walmart.  If he is out of one of his foods, a renewed focus on going to Walmart will erupt to go restock.

His other new obsession is of ABC's books and stickers.  His answer to satisfying those fixations. . . you guessed it, go to Walmart.  This trip has been very taxing on Bridger. When things become taxing, his obsessions flare.  Stickers have gotten him through this trip. . . lots and lots of stickers.  After being on the road a month, you can imagine that the inside of our car is covered in stickers.  We are covered in stickers.  We pick them off each other every time we get out of the car. When I go in a convenience store or check in at a hotel, the cashier or front desk clerk will point out a little sticker stuck to my shoulder, or even my rear end.  Nice.

Just for fun, let's play a little game, called "I Spy the Sticker".   These are pictures I have taken that I later realized the subject is a victim of our sticky situation.  Can you spy the stickers here?

answer: bottom of his tail

Or here?

answer: on Lance's shoulder

This one is a little trickier. . . can you spy two stickers here?

answer: one on Bridger's clapping hands and the other is on the bass player's hand.  Bridger likes to share his stickers with everyone. It means he likes you.

Stickers and Walmart.  The other kids twitch at the very sound of those words.  Bridger can't let it go.

We have had to go to a lot of Walmarts along this road trip.  Parents of typical children would just advise us to say "no".  Bwah ha haa.  Easier said than done.  Noncompliance would equal hours of behavioral meltdowns of the severe variety.  As painful and disruptive as it is to our progress on the road, we have to stop at Walmart.  

We even have a Walmart Road Atlas that shows us where every Walmart along the interstate is.

When Bridger begins his chants about going to Walmart, that then turn into tantrums about going to Walmart, there is nothing we can do but exhaustively tell him to look out the window and tell me when he sees one to stop at.

This is what it looks like when I tell him to look out the window and to let me know when he sees a Walmart we can stop at. . .

Even still, he turns his little head and fixates on the thousands of miles of lifeless landscape looking for a Walmart.

Poor thing.  I just start laughing (a delirious kind of laughter) wondering what is going through his little head during those moments of hopeless watching.

When our atlas predicts one is coming up we have him look out the window and when those big blue letters pop out over the horizon - watch out!  The van starts rocking and Bridger starts screaming with more joy than 10 Christmases combined would have created.

bug guts of every variety

See that blue sign in the distance?  He does to.  Every time.  We have to distract him from the signage if we are approaching a Walmart that we don't intend on visiting.

But if we do have to stop, we have Operation Walmart down to a science.  Alan pulls up to the curb, I jump out, grab Bridger and throw him in a cart, do one quick lap around the interior grabbing a few packs of stickers as I go and run through the checkout and back into the car as I sadly watch the "arrival time" on our gps advance up by 11 minutes.  He is then satisfied. For 30 minutes.

After 33 days on the road, we have bought it all.  We have every ABC book and sticker pack Walmart offers.  I am not sure how we can get through the next couple days of driving.

When this is all over I don't think I will be able to step into a Walmart again.  Sorry Walmart, I am so over you.