Every once in a while, I take Alice out to get her nails done. This is tricky because Alice can’t hold her stroke affected hand still. It’s like trying to wrangle an octopus that has lost three of its legs. Alice’s brother had a friend coming over and in spite of prepping her for this, Alice can be on him or his mom like a bee in a flower. I decided that I would remove her from the situation, take her to lunch and practice some self-advocacy. I wrote up a note card with the simple question, “Excuse me. May I have a gluten free menu please?” Alice picked up the card and read it with the delivery of a practiced sitcom actor. “Excuuse me?!” Not quite Steve Martin, but you get the idea. After I suppressed my laughter, I corrected her delivery and let her practice. On the way down, we got to practicing without the card.
Alice executed perfectly, but the greeter misheard her. After three repetitions, I had to intervene. Need to work on a back up plan. When the waiter came, I instructed Alice to please, “tell the waiter what you can’t eat.” She looked up at him and said, “I can’t eat gluten.” adding “It makes me sick.” Excellent. High fives all around.
After lunch, we went to the (new for us) nail place. It was on the far side of the mall from us so we had a nice walk. Along the way, Alice talked about every store we passed and highlighted what we could get for her there. We found the nail place and went it.
I explained to the woman helping Alice that I needed to help her out. Alice wanted a decoration and asked for a flower with a stem and pollen. Pollen? Yes, pollen. So that is what she got.
Of course, when we got home, Alice was super tired and started letting into me. Great. I was tired too and time out-ularity ensued. I gave her a clear outline of a no-yelling time out and what would happen. And of course she spent the next 10 minutes yelling at me. She lost TV privileges as a result. After she finally calmed down I went up and had a Very Serious Talk with her about her behavior and that she was going to spend another 20 minutes thinking about it. When she came down she handed me this:
She explained that it said that I shouldn’t have given her time-outs and not sending her to her room. I accepted it for what it was: an effort at honest communication. Certainly better than yelling at me.