Gift Giving

Autism GiftsIt’s not that she never thinks of others.  Kirsten prints coloring pages for her little cousin, lets the cat in and out, constantly refreshes my drink, and even prepares my toothbrush nightly.  (Yes, I’m pampered like that!) 

She has quite the reputation as a DJ too; intuitively selecting music to please each individual. Unfortunately, all that goes right out the window when it comes to selecting gifts. 

Don’t get me wrong.  She wants to please others.  Whenever it’s time to shop for someone, her eyes light up!  It’s in the execution that everything falls apart.  And that’s exactly what happened Saturday…

You see, it was my birthday.  (Yes, it was lovely. Thank you!)  I started the morning telling Kirsten, “You are going to buy me a birthday present today!” She gave me a big, encouraging grin.  I took a moment to set the pronouns straight.  “It is a present for me.  For mommy.  NOT for Kirsten.  Who is the present for?”  K: “For mommy.”  Okay.  We are now on the same page.  Time to go shopping!

Of course, it’s not that easy.  It’s never that easy

En route… Me: “Kirsten, what do you want to buy me?!”  K: “I don’t know what it is.”  Me: “Think about the things I like.”  K: silence.  Me: “What do you think?  What does mommy like?!” K: silence.  This is where I get into a bind.  If I make any suggestions, I’m done.  She will buy the item and call it a day.  But I want a gift from her!  And so we venture on. 

While wandering through our local Target I say, “Kirsten, look at all these things.  Do you see anything mommy would like?”  K: “I don’t know what it is.”  Up and down the aisles we travel, my question sounding more and more like a personal mantra… until finally, Kirsten spots the perfect gift.  Lindt chocolates!  That’s it!  That’s the present!!  I should be excited, right?! She picked something out!

Oh… but wait.  There’s a rule (you know there’s ALWAYS a rule).  Lindt chocolates are HER special treat.  When we buy them it is understood that she has primary custody and I have visitation rights.  So I see exactly where this is going…

Me: “You want to buy these?”  K: “Yes!”  Me: “Are these for mom or for Kirsten?”  K: “For mom.”  Yeah… sure… ;)  In the interest of free will I encourage her to buy ‘my’ gift.  In fact, I encourage her to buy TWO.  Yeah, I’m smart like that.

Shortly after arriving home, we set about wrapping things up. 

Wait, what?  There’s only ONE bag of chocolates?  Me: “Kirsten, where is the other bag of chocolates?”  K: “Sorry.  It’s all gone.”  Me: “Where did they go?”  K: “Kirsten ate them.”  Me: Incredulous “You ate them ALL?!”  K: “Sorry.  All gone.”  Two thoughts come to mind: 1) We’ve only been home an hour.  Did she really eat them all?!!  and 2) That’s a lot of chocolate.  What kind of evening are we in for?!

I look in the cabinet and there it is: a full bag of Lindt.  Me: “Look here Kirsten; you did NOT eat all of the chocolates.”  K: “All for me.”  Although she reverses pronouns, it’s very clear which “me” we are talking about here.  Sneaky girl!!!  Me: “Oh no Kirsten, this is for my birthday.  We are going to share.” 

Come gift-giving time, Kirsten hands me the present.  Her pride is evident in that sideways glance and oh-so-slight smile.  Upon opening, family raves: “Wow, Kirsten, did you pick that out?!  So nice!”  Everyone graciously accepts the chocolate begrudgingly shared by Kirsten.  Even those on diets who discreetly sneak it back to my stash.  Yeah, they’re smart like that too.

Don’t worry… she had plenty left-over… and I had visitation rights.  All was once again good in the world. 

It’s okay Kirsten.  The thought required for that deceptive behavior was more-than-enough gift for me! ;)

Your turn! How can I improve Kirsten’s gift-giving skills?!

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