Plinth Blog Special Needs Parenting

9Apr/170

Having a Child with Down Syndrome, Part CXXIV: Oh, Teenagers

The last several weeks have been busy. That explains why my writing has been scant. The past several weeks, I've done the shopping by myself because we've needed to get it done quickly in between other events. Today was an exception, so Alice and I could go out. Alice, being 14, when into a disaffected huff at the very notion of having to go shopping with me when there was clearly TV to be watched. I asked her nicely while she was watching TV and she gave me a "but da-a-ad, I trying to do this!" and ignored my polite requests to shut everything off and come upstairs. I muttered, "OK, shots fired." under my breath and activated the kill switch the cuts power to the entertainment center. Countdown to teenage rage in 3...2...1... "DAAAAAADD!" Alice now comes storming upstairs. Both E and I let her rant, but E kept stressing that I had even said please 3 times. We sent her upstairs to go get dressed. Now began the crying jag. Mmmm...adolescent crying. I have seen this before and at this point, I think Alice's emotions run on a 4 speed transmission:

  1. Anger
  2. Crying
  3. Love
  4. OH IT'S SOOO CUTE!

And of course neutral.

So in this case, Alice jammed the shifter from first to second, barely engaging the clutch. I let her cry it out and then reminded her that she needed to do her things if she wanted to watch a movie later. Then she down shifted into first when she couldn't get her bra on. Upstairs trip for me to adjust it and then back into second gear for her.

I decided that rather than be an ogre, I was going to try and turn the shopping trip into responsibility day. I gave her a shopping list with all the items on it. When she came down, ready to go, I let her know. Squee! And now she jammed into third gear.

She had the whole list and did it all. Mind you, she took some time to flirt with the butcher and with another boy at the store who she knew, but that's Alice. For a lot of the trip I stood back and watched her do what she needed to do. She went to get lemons and she got a man restocking produce to get the lemons for her and bag them. I went up to him while she was putting them in the cart and said, "Thank you for helping her out. That was very thoughtful, but you know she just worked you, right?" "What? Was she supposed to do that on her own?" "Oh, she can, but she got you to do it for her." He shook his head and, "and she knows it, doesn't she?" "Yes. Yes she does." "I'll keep an eye next time." "Thanks."

At the deli counter, I told the woman who helped Alice that I think we're done getting the free sample slice of cheese. "She's 14. I think it's time we work on breaking that habit." "I'll get the word out." "Thanks."

It does take a village, doesn't it?

Alice did a great job shopping. We stopped at Trader Joe's and picked up some extra items and then had a Taco Bell lunch. Again, let's layer on some more responsibility. I chose not to get her a spork for eating the taco detritus, which of course Alice noticed. I sent her off to get it on her own, which she did. We ended up spending a lot of the day together, but afterwards I think Alice and I had about enough of each other and got back into prickly interactions, but it was good while it lasted.

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