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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

One way or another I'm gonna find ya/ I'm gonna getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha

The title is the lyrics to a song by Blondie. Several other artists have recorded it, also. In the song, I believe the singer's intention is to find a particular person and 'catch' them doing something.

I chose the title for a very different reason. This is Kalisha's thought process when she zeroes in on a person she desperately wants for a friend.
She is like one of those little red lasers and it is pointed at a particular person. It has been a bone of contention at our house many times in the past and it probably will be in the future. No amount of talking, discussing, explaining or threatening can unlock her laser beam mentality once it is set.

I am giving away a copy of the book I wrote about 30 years of living with Kalisha.
If you already have a copy, win one for a friend or acquaintance. If you don't have a copy, leave a comment on this blog site (not on FB) and I will randomly select a winner on Monday, July 21st. I will contact you via e-mail and send your copy in the mail.
The friend obsession and MANY other topics are in the book. I think you will enjoy it.

Several months ago, Kalisha found a young woman on the bus and decided she would be her next 'friend conquest.' She has known this person for a long time, but for some unknown reason, has just recently determined to make her into a friend.
She begins by contacting her and messaging her on FaceBook. She gets her cell phone number and calls (only at designated times; she understands boundaries). She invites her to go places and although disappointed when it doesn't happen, she won't give up.
We discuss the fact Kalisha wants this person to be her friend a WHOLE LOT MORE than she wants to be Kalisha's friend.

Kalisha does understand that. She will even repeat it, but she can't quite convince herself of it.

Don't feel sorry for Kalisha; she has a lot of friends. However, there is always that ONE that she must conquer. Does she sound like a stalker? A little bit. She invited this new person to a baseball game; even bought the tickets and I was going to be the transportation both ways. The day before the game, the friend cancelled for a flimsy reason. I was furious with the friend, but I could have predicted that happening.
Kalisha was sad for a while and extremely disappointed, but the minute the friend suggested meeting at a concert, all was forgotten and forgiven.

Kalisha has come a long way, believe it or not. When the FRIEND couldn't go to the baseball game, she called another friend and they had a good time together. In the past, she might have refused to go with anyone else or been a 'sad sack' all during the ballgame.
 There have been times in the past when she was obsessed with a CAPITAL "O" and the obsession ruled her every waking moment. She wouldn't attend any other events or volunteer or anything else. Her entire world revolved around the selected person. She has matured 98% from those days. She goes to her obligations and talks with other friends, but this 'friend' is always in the back of her mind.
I will let it play out as long as she isn't in danger and pray it will be a legitimate friendship. Sometimes, once the friendship is solidified, the obsession is gone.
*Remember to leave a comment so you will be in the drawing for a free book.
Until Blogger can fix the 'comment' box on this post, please leave a comment on my facebook page and you will be eligible for the free book. GRRRRRR

Monday, July 7, 2014

Full-Blown Meltdown

Kalisha has not had a 'meltdown' for a very long time. With the help of weekly visits with her BC (behavioral consultant) she has matured so very much. She is in control of her actions and her feelings and seldom, if ever, loses that control. She goes to work every day she is scheduled with no complaining, she gets up and cheerfully does her volunteer work each week.
What happened?
Usually, when Kalisha becomes totally unglued, it has some connection to an event or plan which did not go as planned. That doesn't mean she is not handling changes well, because she is and I am very proud of her. However, last week was not typical and way off the charts.
Her 13-year-old niece, Anna, (my granddaughter) came to spend a few days at our house. The first day they watched movies and laughed a lot. The second day, Kalisha invited Anna to go along on the city bus to meet her friend, Jenny, for an excursion to Wal-Mart. The plans got changed when Jenny missed the bus and Anna and Kalisha had to wait an hour for her. I was so very proud of Kalisha for handling that situation very calmly. All was well and they returned home with the 'rubber bands' needed to make bracelets and necklaces. Anna was going to teach Kalisha how to do it.

The next day, Anna made plans to spend some time with a neighbor girl who is 13 also. I had to work away from home for a few hours, never expecting the 'tempest in a teapot' that was going to take place.
Apparently, Kalisha insisted on accompanying the girls which they adamantly refused to allow. She became angry; screaming that she had let Anna come with her the day before and hang out with her friend, so she should be allowed to be with them.
She ran (I said, RAN) after them when they went to the park. The dog got out of the house but by this time, Kalisha was in such a frenzy, she didn't care. She didn't even try to coax him back; her sole effort was to be with them. She stood in the alley and screamed, really screamed, horrible things about Anna. She told the neighbor lady to go ahead and call the police. She didn't care.
Finally, she laid down on the sidewalk and yelled. The ants thought her leg would make a great meal. (Natural consequences are the pits)
By the time I arrived home, she had calmed down and was asking for Anna's forgiveness and telling me all that had transpired. I was dumb-founded. I had not seen Kalisha out of control for a long, long time. If I had been home, I could have headed it off (the meltdown) but I wasn't and it grew out of control.
She called her BC and discussed it over the weekend. Today when they had their hour-long chat, they devised a plan in case there would ever be a time when it would start to happen again.
I don't want you to think this would ever happen if you took Kalisha somewhere with you. She would be able to hold it all together if she was upset. Her BC explained to me the thought of the unfairness of the situation and because it was a relative who was supposed (in Kalisha's mind) to be spending time with her, culminated in the breakdown.
  I wasn't seeing too much positiveness here; I was just furious with her. Sometimes her BC teaches me as much as she teaches Kalisha. This is the 'plan of action' Kalisha and her BC formulated today. I think these would be good things for all of us when we are ready to have our own meltdown. What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Getting It Right...Occasionally: No, You Did Not......

Getting It Right...Occasionally: No, You Did Not......: If you are new to this blog, welcome, and I will give you a few sentences as backdrop. Kalisha is my daughter, she has autism and is 30 year...

No, You Did Not......

If you are new to this blog, welcome, and I will give you a few sentences as backdrop. Kalisha is my daughter, she has autism and is 30 years old. She has always had a difficult time with money; counting it, spending too much of it, purchasing things and then not having enough with her and allowing other people to use her debit/credit card.

She doesn't get to carry her card with her any more, so that has eliminated the one problem. Her BC (behavioral consultant) and I and a few other staff, have talked, worked, explained, cajoled, given consequences and set up budgets for her but she has a few addictions and occasionally, they still get the best of her. NOT illegal addictions, but fast food and 'good deals' are her downfall.

Commercials for certain deals at McDonald's burn themselves into her subconscious and she has a difficult time resisting. Several years ago, the commercial showed a bucket of McNuggets; 50, to be exact, with a marching band taking a break and swarming to the sidelines to devour them. She came home with 50 McNuggets. FIFTY. "But Mom, it was a good deal. They only cost $9.99"

Fast forward to yesterday. Kalisha took enough money with her to buy 2 tickets to a minor league ballgame on the 13th. One for her and one for a friend. So far, so good.

 On the way back home, she decided to stop at a McDonald's because she found 3 five-dollar bills in her purse she didn't know she had (I didn't know it either) and she had been looking at the 'box' they were advertising for $15.

When I arrived home, she asked if I saw the box on the counter. Thinking I had some surprise waiting for me, I quickly went to the kitchen.

Imagine (no, don't really imagine it) my surprise, frustration and total disbelief when I saw this box.

"What the heck were you thinking??????"
"Who exactly is going to eat all this food?"

"Well, I was going to eat one Big Mac for supper and take one with me for my lunch tomorrow at the preschool. And I would share the fries and McNuggets."

"Kalisha, nobody here even likes McNuggets and they certainly aren't good when they're cold."

"I like them and I'll eat them for snacks."

"Please tell me what possessed you to buy this box of food."

"I don't know. I just wanted it. Oh, and I didn't have enough to pay the tax, so the cashier paid it for me."

Now that was the last straw. She has been warned about consequences when she allows someone else to pay the 'rest of the bill.'

The agreed-upon consequences are she has to return whatever it is.

Obviously, she couldn't return food. So now, I had a bit of a dilemma; I could eat it in front of her and not let her have, that wasn't going to work. Her BC suggested she be reminded she wouldn't be able to buy any fast food for 3 weeks, because her budget is $5 per week for that. That seemed too far out in the future to make an impression.

I decided the best thing to do was get rid of it. Yep, you know I did. Right in the garbage can and luckily, trash day was the next morning.

She didn't have a meltdown. She said, "I just knew you were going to do that. When I was standing waiting for the bus, I was feeling badder and badder because I knew I shouldn't have bought it."

Kalisha really wanted those Big Macs out of there. She was googling 'getting food out of the garbage.'

I asked her what it said. "Oh it just keeps telling me how to put food in a garbage disposal."

I laughed. Even Google wasn't helping.

Was it the correct consequence? If you believe the "children in China are starving and you never waste food' that I grew up with, then no, maybe not.
Will she remember it the next time? I hope so, but there are no guarantees.
Was I too hard on her? Nope. I don't think so.
Did she have something else for supper? Of course.

Could a lot of us learn a lesson from this? Probably.
What if the things we buy that we really don't need were put in the trash?
It is something to think about.

*I did ask Kalisha's permission to write about this. Obviously, she agreed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Copy Cat Actions

Remember when you were a kid and a sibling or friend decided it would drive you crazy if they copied everything you did? Kalisha has the annoying habit of copying things that other people do.
I know in the past, I have written about some people's actions she copied which put her in danger. That's not what I am talking about now. These are everyday little things; if I decide to call a friend and I'm talking for a little while, Kalisha will call someone so she is talking, too.
If I decide to have a soda, she will have one, also. The copying doesn't apply to things she doesn't like. For instance, if I order a chicken sandwich at McDonald's, she definitely won't copy that but she will have a cheeseburger. If I decide to buy a cookie or ice cream cone, she can't even imagine NOT getting one.
When one of her nieces or nephews snacks on some chips, she may not have the exact same kind, but she will have a snack of some kind.
I could go on and on with examples; however, her 'wanting to do what everyone else is doing' stood out this past weekend.
It was Father's Day. Kalisha purchased tickets for her and her dad to attend a minor league baseball game. When she returned home, she posted a picture of them at the game, on FaceBook. Under the picture she wrote an entire paragraph extolling the virtues of her father. I read it and immediately wanted to make a smart-aleck comment, but I refrained.
I told her those were very nice things to say about her dad. I did question her as to why she felt she needed to say them.
Her answer was exactly what I expected, "Well everybody else was saying lots of great things about their fathers, so I wanted to do that, too."
*She didn't say anything wrong, she just exaggerated their relationship a bit.

I think we are going to try a new game. Every day, there will be something I do or say or eat or watch on TV and she will need to practice NOT doing it. The only reasons I am concerned about her copycat behavior is: #1) it does tend to annoy people and
 #2) she needs practice in thinking for herself instead of allowing other people's actions to dictate her actions.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

There's That Word "Normal" Again.

Kalisha has often expressed the desire to be normal. Yes, I know all the cliche' answers: normal is a setting on your dryer, no one is normal, what is normal, on and on. It may be a word we can't define, totally, and each of us may have different ideas about the definition, but for Kalisha, it means several things and none of them have to do with intelligence.

For her, normal means doing what other people do. She would love to have a driver's license and a boyfriend and go to college. Those are her 'normals' because that is what she believes 'normal' people do.

Last week I went to IL for a writer's conference. I was only gone for 2 1/2 days. Due to some circumstances beyond my control, I had to leave Kalisha's debit/credit card with her. *You can read more about that here: Not Different Enough blog @


  I realized I was on pretty thin ice by doing that; however, she has become much more responsible about money, and I had no choice this time. My preconceived perceptions came to a screeching halt when she texted me and said, "My checking acc't. is overdrawn. What should I do?" Knowing the balance before I left, I had near apoplexy. What did she buy????

The previously mentioned blog post will answer that question. I want to tell you what she told me when I returned home. She was filled with 'buyer's remorse' and we returned nearly all of it, but as we drove home, she said, "It just made me feel so normal, Mom, to be able to go shopping and buy things like other people do."


That statement broke my heart. I want her to feel normal, too.


Before you think she never gets to buy anything, I want you to know she does buy 'stuff.' Quite a bit, actually. I believe the fact she was alone; I wasn't looking over her shoulder and advising her about the cost or savings or whatever. That's what made her excursion feel normal.


I try to allow her many independent outings, but I really do hover when she has her debit card in her hand. It isn't so much the money she is spending (although that is certainly a factor). We discussed the concept of being 'good stewards' of our money, as God tells us to be. I told her even if she had $1000 in her checking account, I would still advise her to be smart about what she purchases. Not all 'deals' are good deals and not every B1G1F is a good deal. $6 coloring books are not a good deal.


I don't want her to be a Scrooge, pinching every penny and not being generous, but I do want her to learn to be a bit wiser about spending. There must be a middle ground;  where she can feel 'normal.'