Friday, October 30, 2009

The Teen and the Shoe Store Balloon

Wednesday I took Ricki to the shoe store to buy boots. And as soon as we finished, she looked at the balloon display (they give away balloons to young customers), and announced: “I want a balloon.”.
I promptly told her that walking out of this store with an inflated balloon in hand was not an option. She is a teen, and teens take home a prize like a pen (another prize the store offers), or settles for me to buy her a different prize elsewhere.
“But I want a balloon.”
At this point one of the saleswomen asked “What’s so bad about a balloon?” So I explained that it was a matter of knowing her self-worth and honoring her maturity. “What, will she also take a balloon home when she’s thirty?” I queried.
So then, when Ricki again said she wanted a balloon, a second mother there took up the challenge, and said: “You know, you are a big teenager. It isn’t fitting for you to go out with a balloon.”
Now it was someone else, not Mommy saying that it was inappropriate. Ricki quickly acquiesced, and agreed to a prize bought elsewhere. We paid for the boots, I bought her some popcorn, and Ricki walked home, her honor intact.

For more of "31 for 21" (blogging in October for Down syndrome awareness)go HERE


mumrik said...

i want a balloon.
and i'll be 42 in december.

RivkA with a capital A said...

I wonder about this.

Are there no other teenagers that would have fun taking home a balloon?

I am trying to remember if my 15 year old ever takes home a helium balloon from an event. If she does, she certainly knows she's being childish, but does it anyway, 'cause it's fun.

Is the problem that Ricki does not realize that it is childish? Or that, because she has a tendency to childish behavior, you have to work harder to instil more mature behavior?

Janet said...

As a mom with a DS 14 yr old son, I agree. My son would still watch Sesame Street, Barney and other too young programs.I tell him Sesame Street and Barney are for little children and you are a teenager. You are too smart to watch these programs, they are for children who don't know their numbers, ABC's and colors.

rickismom said...

She may know it is childish, but the thing is that she wants what she wants AND is not fully cognisent of the consequences.
Yes, other 15 years olds may occaisionlly take homwe a balloon. And maybe even a 42 year-old. (And IF Ricki was with a group of "normal" girls ALL doing that, perhaps I would let her. HOWEVER there is a HUGE difference. Anyone seeing a "normal" 15 year old with a balloon, realize that they are having a fun time, and walk past. A 15 year-old with an intellectual disability with a balloon can be setting herself up to:
-insults and mockery
- alerting preditors to easy prey

Also, your"normal" 15 year old will not, as a result of taking a balloon outside, do something totally inappropriate with a balloon at 42. If Ricki does not learn the normal society norms now, she will yes come traipsing into work at 42 with a balloon on her wrist......

Anonymous said...

aaah, yes...

since i have autism spectrum, i too, tend to do things that are not considered "age appropriate", sometimes.

*my* struggles, though, are more about walking out (or hanging up) on people when i get frustrated / feel misunderstood.

that kind of behavio(u)r is "expected" in a young child or even teenager, but a 42 year old woman "should" not behave like that.

so i "understand", sort of, a bit, maybe.

/ mumrik aka gabriela

Galiah said...

Good for you! --for standing up for your beliefs, for teaching Ricki...

RivkA with a capital A said...

I hear you.

It must be challenging for you to have to set such strict limits.