I know, it seems like such a silly thing to be talking about. I mean, who really cares that our local Dairy Queen decided to discontinue the grape flavor of their slushies?? Well, I can tell you one guy that is having a pretty hard time with it, and that is my son Damion. It has been a great incentive, and one of the few rewards we have used to help him get through some hard times or challenging events. Have to get blood drawn today? I know that’s hard, but if you are a good boy and get through it, we will stop for “purple drink” after. It was a reward system that worked, and it worked well.
So maybe you can imagine the predicament we found ourselves in when we went through the drive through just the other day to find that it was no longer an option. I don’t know if anything else was removed from their menu, all I know is that grape was not available. It didn’t go over well, that’s for sure. Change is never easy, and this is one of his FAVORITES. We tried to make the switch to just another flavor, but not surprisingly, it sure doesn’t seem to be an adequate replacement in his eyes. Talking through it has been helping, but with how much it is brought up by him, I know it is still on his mind.
Damion has always been a picky eater. Mostly a visual and mental sensory requirement on things looking the same, although there are some texture aspects at play as well. He would eat goldfish crackers, but does not the rainbow goldfish even though they taste the same, because they don’t LOOK the same. Which is why just switching to another flavor is easier said than done. Through years of hard work, we have expanded what he is willing to eat to ensure his diet is more balanced. But even though he CAN eat a variety of things, he still only longs for just a few, and he is particular about the form that those few items come in.
He seems to unfortunately have inherited his mom’s curse of a never-ending Murphy’s law when it comes to food establishments. I too tend to be a creature of habit when we go out to eat. We don’t go out a lot, so once I find something I like at a particular restaurant, I tend to order that same item every time we go. And luck tends to have it that if they do decide to remove an item from their menu, gamblers would do well to bet that it would be the only thing that I ever order. Always a little frustrating for me, but obviously my ability to move past things like this is completely different than it is for Damion.
Losing such a coveted reward item has really been a struggle. I don’t imagine he will let it go anytime soon either, considering he still to this day talks about wanting to go to a local fun place that closed down two years ago. As you may know from reading our other stories, he is a boy that never forgets. I wish I could sit here and say that this is just a small item for us, but it’s not, even if it seems like it should be. In ways, it is just par for the course sometimes being the mom of an autistic child, the things that seem small, or maybe even like non-existent problems to other families, can be some of the biggest issues for us. The world may not rally to bring back the discontinued grape flavor the way they have for other lost restaurant chain menu items, but if they did, I would happily be the first to sign the petition.