Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Upstairs or Down?

We have a problem in this house, and it is called pretend people. On occasion the pretend people have been known to overtake the house, and the conversations become more and more involved until, finally, there's just so much imaginary noise going on that it's really hard to listen to a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g Mom and Dad are saying.

Please tell me you have this problem too? Tell me your house has imaginary people you are bumping into all the time, accidentally sitting on, and (gasp) interrupting their conversations!

Last week, Angela was heavily involved in some game with what seemed to be a whole party of people in my living room. (hard to know when you can't see them!) That's when I asked her to let the dogs outside. Only she couldn't hear me even a tiny bit. Too many people talking at once, I suppose. I called again from the kitchen, "Angela, I'm busy with something and the dogs need to go out. Go open the door for them please." to which I received ZERO response.

It's never good to ignore your mother. I ignored my mother....once......

I went to the living room and invaded their space, "Angela. I'm talking to you. I need you to let the dogs out." She sort-of-glanced at me out of the corner of her eye, then continued talked to "Joe". "When do you want to go to Applebees? (pause for Joe to speak) Oh Tuesday is great! I love chicken strips too!"

I walked to the basement and let the dogs out, and formulated my plan.

Now if this were any other child, I would have addressed this very differently, more like IN HER FACE, and you can bet she WOULD have done what she was asked. But Angela isn't any other kid, she is Angela, and I know how her mind works. You have to have a strategy, a game plan. Getting in her face would have turned in to an all out battle of wills that neither of us would have won, and in the end the purpose of forcing her to listen to me would have been lost in the mayhem.

That night at dinner, I announced a family meeting. "Angela, starting tomorrow there is a new rule in the house. The pretend people are a problem in this house, but they are a lot of fun for you (never mind it is strange, just say'in...) so here's the new rule. Starting tomorrow morning, the only people allowed upstairs are those DEAN AND I can see and touch. ( because I'm not 100% convinced that Angela doesn't actually see these people. I think they are very much real to her.) Lets look around, who is here that we can see and touch."

Angela looked at me, "I see you. I can touch you. I see Dean, I can touch Dean. I can see me, I can touch me."

We talked about making a sign to put at the top of the stairs to serve as a reminder of who is allowed to come upstairs and who isn't.

The next morning, she came upstairs to watch t.v. About 10 minutes later I heard, "Not you Cody! You're invisible! You go downstairs now!" and a few minutes later she followed him.

Guess what? That was a couple days ago, and she was busy with stuff. Today? I haven't seen her ALL DAY because she's been downstairs, and it sounds like Mardi Gras down there!


Julia said...

I LOVE YOUR DAUGHTER!! I love the world she has created! I love her imagination and that she has a Mom who lets her have her imagination! I want to meet her pretend people.... maybe THEY will work with us behind the scenes to help get Aaron and Ianna home!!! Tell Angela to send them on a mission where they whisper in the ears of all the officials involved to 'LET MY CHILDREN GO...'

JennyH said...

She sounds like fun! I would love to know what goes on in her head.

But apparently the new rule is working.