Monday, April 23, 2012

Good Girls Gone Bad

Katie got off the bus the other day with her head hanging down.  That is never a good sign.  Usually it means that she lost something, or got her clothes dirty, or forgot her spelling words in her desk at school.  She even came home looking guilty one time because a classmate had gotten into trouble.  This time it was more serious.  My good girl has gone bad.

"Mom, I got detention," she told me with tears in her eyes.  I won't go into details about the how and why, but let's just say she was into someone else's business.  Nosing around where she shouldn't of been.  Now, frequent readers of my blog know that this is a common problem that occurs around my house.  Katie is constantly in my business, looking through my calendar, reading my emails, searching my text messages.  She is always rooting through her sisters cabinets and drawers, closets and dressers, making them all crazy in the process.  My youngest daughter has threatened to put a lock on her bedroom (which would not work out too well, because she shares a room with Katie).  I am sure they feel as violated as I do, although they make more of a fuss over it.  No one in our house has any privacy with Katie around. 

She also has a habit of listening in on conversations, "evesdropping" around corners, and drawing her own conclusions from what she hears.  She will often fly off the handle, hysterical, over what she thinks is going on, when she couldn't be farther from the truth.  Any time she overhears that someone is in the hospital, or going to the doctor, she screams, "They died!"  Although I shouldn't have to explain myself to her, sometimes I have to tell her what is going on, just to calm her down.  If she hears someone fighting, that means to her they are getting divorced.  If I am complaining about someone, she thinks I hate them.  The whole process of dealing with her overexaggerating everything can be exhausting to say the least.  Not to mention that she repeats bits of conversations that she hears when it is inappropriate.  A few years ago her teachers learned that when they were gossiping about someone, they shouldn't do it in front of Katie.  She might not look like she is paying attention, but she is. 

The funniest part of all of this is that she is very up front and honest about it.  I don't believe that she is deliberate in her snooping and evesdropping.  I think she is just curious, observant, and has a hard time controlling the impulses that drive her to do these things.  I am not saying she is an innocent angel, I am just saying that I don't think she is sneaky or devious about it.  She will be the first to admit what she has done, and she will also tell on herself.  "Mom, I saw in your calendar that we are going out to eat!" Or, "Grandma says we are all going on vacation together!" 

My husband was very worried that having a detention would freak Katie out.  He thought she would cry and carry on, and blow the whole thing out of proportion.  Amazingly enough, she handled it very well.  We talked about what she did wrong, and why it was wrong.  We talked about why it deserved a detention, and what to expect during the detention.  I gave her a punishment for doing something wrong, and she tried to weasel out of it and make her own punishment.  Then we talked about why she had to stick to that, and not talk her way out of it.  It was so hard for me to make her go through with it all.  It would have been much easier on all of us to just have her say, "I am sorry", do her time at school, and be done with it.  But I knew if I did that, she would never learn the consequences of her actions.  She would always think that a punishment could be talked out of if you cried hard enough.  And my other daughters would see the whole thing and think that Katie gets away with everything.  That is not a good example for them.  I have tried to raise Katie just as I have raised them, and I can't change that now. 

So my good girl did her time.  It was only a lunch detention, but she served it, and I think she actually enjoyed it.  I think it made her feel a little grown up, especially when I told her that I had detention when I was in middle school too.  It showed her that sometimes good people make mistakes too, but just because you are a good person, that doesn't mean that you don't have to take account for your actions.  And just because you get in trouble and make mistakes, it doesn't turn a good person into a bad person.  We all make mistakes.  We all have to pay the price for them.  Then we can move forward in our lives, and hopefully learn something from the situation.  Sometimes our Adventures in Autism gets us in trouble, but down the road, it can make for an interesting story, a funny anecdote, and some street cred.

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