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Having a Child with Down Syndrome, Part CXLVI: Cunning Plans

I haven’t written much here in the past year. If you’re wondering how the pandemic is going when you’re effectively locked down with a child with Down syndrome who has immune system issues, well my post history is a pretty good litmus test.

Alice had watched a little TV this afternoon. I called her up for a dinner that was a little on the late side and we sat down for some baked potatoes and mashed cauliflower. Alice excused herself to go take a shower and like many evenings, took her own sweet time. After finishing up, she came down close to her bed time with wet hair. Our standard is dry hair, so I sent her back up to do that properly and to finish her evening ablutions. Alice, of course, immediately angled for more TV time.

Almost 20 years ago, I heard an interview on NPR with a professional negotiator. The interviewer asked him who was the toughest type of person to negotiate with. Without hesitation, he said kids because they have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain in a negotiation. Alice was clearly working from this playbook because she immediately went straight to a hard demand. I told her that it was getting past her bed time and she hadn’t done her jobs, so no. “Daddy, I go upstairs and dry my hair and come back and watch TV.” E told her that it was getting late and reinforced that she should get ready for bed. She headed off and gave us another parting demand for TV. I turned to E and said, “I don’t think you’ve thought your cunning plan all the way through.”

7 years ago, or so, we had an issue with Alice sneaking down in the middle of the night and watching TV, so I put the entertainment system on a IOT switch that lets E and I turn it on and off from a phone or tablet. While Alice was drying her hair, I switched off the power. Alice finished drying her hair, came back down and went to the basement to watch TV. Again, I turned to E, “Cue the yelling in 5, 4, 3…” “DADDY! YOU TURN THE POWER ON NOW!” I reiterated to E, “Again, I don’t think you’ve thought your cunning plan all the way through.” Alice came storming upstairs. “Daddy! Your job is to give me your phone and I turn the power back on and watch TV.” And this is one thimg about this that is so refreshing with her. She tells you exactly what she’s planning on doing ahead of time. Bold move. I looked her straight in the eyes and said simple, “no”, locked my phone and put on it’s charger.

At that moment, the dryer signal went off because we had washed Alice’s bedding and he comforter needed another round. I got up to go get it. Alice darted in and picked up my phone and immediately started punching in numbers.

She was just mashing numbers at random and at warp speed. I just started laughing because it was absolutely comical. Honestly, there was no way that she was going to infinite monkey my unlock code, but it wasn’t stopping her from trying. I kept laughing to myself then I started saying in my best neutral computer voice, “access denied. Access denied. Access denied.” After I was done amusing myself, I walked up to her and handed her the comforter and put my phone back on the charger.

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