Monday, March 5, 2012

A different date night

We took Akila out on a date night on Saturday.  This is something we do with each kid, it ends up being about every 7-8 months between each of their date nights, so 1 1/2 a year per kid, about.  On a date night, the special kid picks a restaurant, an activity and gets to spend $25 on a toy or something else.

Date nights with all of the kids are something that Michael and I cherish.  They are all on their best behavior as they are the center of attention.  Akila has always been fun on date nights, although sometimes when we have returned home, within 30 minutes she has gotten kind of yucky, but on the date she is always good.  Knowing that Lord willing, she will be moving to a more safe environment sometime soon, we thought it would be nice to have a night we could enjoy with her and it is her turn.

Akila chose Bubba Gump Shrimp as she is a seafood addict.  She absolutely loves crab legs and ate an entire adult size entree of crab legs.  Bubba Gumps is located at the Mall of America and she also chose Nickelodeon Universe as her activity.

We rarely take Akila to a store let alone a mall.  She is too overwhelmed by the choices and it never ends well.  While in Nick Universe, she saw the American Girl store, a store which I have been able to avoid with her for years.  I was not able to avoid it any longer.  Crap.

In the store, she was mesmerized.  She wanted a doll, badly.  She has two American Girl dolls, both which I got at garage sales, but they were in great shape.  They are no longer in great shape.  One of them was even in the car.  So I told her we could go and get the doll and have them style her hair.  I thought for sure she would go for that.  But no, she was stuck on buying a doll.  I told her that she did not have enough money for that, as the dolls are $108 or so.  The prices are of course not marked well so that was a pain.  She kept going to a different doll thinking it would be a different price.  I tried to be patient, I really was quite patient.

It was similar to what I realized in the past few months has been a road block to her in regards to cell phones.  I thought I had blogged about this, but I can't find it so I might be repeating  myself.  As many of you know, Akila has been obsessed with cell phones forever.  FOREVER.  She has stolen many of them.  She wants one badly, and it isn't going to happen.  She will look them up on the Internet and we will explain over and over to her, that they are not free like it says.  That you have to sign a 2 year contract at $40 or $50/month, which equals.....  She doesn't get it, or does she?  Part of the problem, I finally realized, is that when she is looking at a particular phone in the Best Buy ad, and I explain that to her, she then looks at the next phone and thinks she can get it.  Even if I say, ALL cell phones work that way, she is not able to transfer that concept to the next phone.

She did this in January with my brother.  He was patiently explaining to her how much a phone would cost over two years, and all the things we have told her a million times.  I was in the next room trying not to laugh.  He came into the living room proud of himself for having explained to her.  Then she called him back in, and showed him a different phone.  He explained it works the same for that phone, and all the phones.  She then clicked on a different phone and asked about it.  His patient voice was starting to waiver as I laughed silently in the next room.

Well, the same thing happened at the American Girl store.  They have tons of dolls in display cases showing different outfits and accessories.  They don't have prices by the dolls, just the clothes.  She was convinced these dolls were cheaper, and would not listen to me telling her they were not.  I showed her some great clothes and accessories she could get, but she was stuck on the doll.

Then she wanted me to go to a staff person and ask if they would give us a deal.  I told her that stores like this don't negotiate the prices or do that, and she yelled at me.  She had one of the PCA's go up to the Target staff and ask if there was any way Akila could buy some baby food for one of her pregnant teachers with just the $1 she had to spend.  They of course said no.

I told her I wouldn't ask the staff, but that she could.  She did ask a staff, and of course they said they don't do that.  After some very icky moments in the store, she decided we should go look somewhere else, for clothes for her.  We went from store to store (Michael was sitting in the book store as he is having some feet problems and can't walk very much), and she could not make a decision for the life of her.  I was very patient, and just went with the flow.  But after two hours, I was really wearing out.  Finally, after some prayers, she wanted to go to Gamestop and buy a video game for her DSI.  Hallelujah!  We went in, she was able to pick out two used games, and got out of dodge!!!!

As I reflect back on previous date nights and compare it to this one, there is a significant difference in her behavior.  We only went on one ride as she was so obsessed with spending her money.  On the way home, she was in a great mood and was pleased with the night, and I am glad we did it.  I did enjoy being with her, and the meal in particular was very enjoyable.  But it was very a very different date...


GB's Mom said...

What you are seeing is the inability to generalize what she has learned and has been a problem for every FASD child I have ever worked with. It is also true with GB.

I am glad you had a good date night. Kudos to you for keeping your patience!

Blessed said...

For some reason, the pics of Akila in this post are haunting. Her face, surprisingly thin from this angle--her expression, both so young and so tough, so vulnerable and seeming still wary. She reminds me of the way my eldest wears her face when she is mired in self. My heart aches for Akila, wishing she could be fully *there* with you two, there at that special dinner. She is there as much as she can be--and I am so glad you had a good time, under the sad circumstances.

I am sure I am saying all the wrong things, and hopefully am not coming off all insensitive, or overly romanticizing. But these pics seemed to give a picture of your daughter that is so candid, and makes me ache for both her and you, for what she and you suffer, for what might have been different.

Psycho Mom said...

Blessed, you are right. There is an expression, a look. And it is all sad. So sad.