Kirsten has several things she LOVES. It’s a fairly short list: skirts, pillow cases, earrings, Sharpies, and now shoes. As with all-things-autism, everything has its rules.
Her #1 rule is you CAN have too many. No hording mentality here… Oh, the inner battles this creates!
The skirts and earrings get a reprieve.
Skirts… well, obviously they are too beautiful to limit. And earrings… she has an earring-tree that provides a place for everything and everything in its place.
All other Kirsten-loves come with a set of rules and necessary coping mechanisms:
Every trip to the store involves a perusing of available pillowcases. Nothing fancy. Just the simple 2-for-$9 variety. Through the years we purchased a set… or two… or three or, um… yeah…
So come Christmas I had the perfect gift. I would SEW special pillowcases! You know the kind – with lots of colors, patterns, ruffles, and trims. She would LOVE it! The perfect gift – right?? Right! Except… this was my first lesson in the concept of “too many.” The stress created by having extra, unused pillowcases was overwhelming. They HAD to go! Goodwill, Grandma, or scissors. She made my options VERY clear.
That’s when it dawned on me… a simple solution. Me: “Kirsten, I’ve got an idea. How about we buy more pillows? Then you can use them ALL!” You could see her thinking… weighing the odds. K: “Oh, more pillows?” Me: “Yes!” Problem solved.
Kirsten’s bed currently has SIX pillows. Yes. SIX. A little crowded, but oh, so stress free. Makes me smile. Her too.
Actually, this is all-things-writing since it includes colored pencils, Crayola markers, and Sharpies. Kirsten is currently in a conundrum because she truly wants them all. But her mind will only allow ONE. So there’s a little process to make it all “okay.”
Here’s how it goes. K is currently using the Sharpies. When she decides she wants to use the pencils she will put the Sharpies in a bag, place this in the designated “give away” area, and announce, “Old Sharpies to Mina” about 10 times. To which I had better voice my agreement: “Oh, you want to give them to Mina? That’s a great idea. She will love them!” Kirsten nods her assent, heads for the pencils, and sets-up shop. Phew!
Time to switch from pencils back to Sharpies? Same process… in reverse. Oooh, the games we play!
Ballet flats to be exact. Latest addition to our favorite-items. Kirsten fell in love with one of my (our!) friend’s shoes. She gave Kirsten a pair for her birthday. Favorite, favorite gift!
A few months later they were out together (don’t I have the best friends???) and she bought Kirsten a similar pair in a different color. NOW there is a problem. A blue pair AND an orange pair??? Not possible. K: “Orange shoes to the Goodwill!” Said in that don’t-challenge-me-or-you-will-be-sorry! tone. Yeah… you know the one.
Here’s the deal. This is NOT my first rodeo and I am NOT afraid of that girl (okay… I’m a little afraid). I realize, in an instant, that this is the start of a new rule. Not gonna happen girlie! And so I dig in…
Me (with my best stern, don’t-challenge-ME! tone (yeah… I got one too): “Kirsten. It is OKAY to have TWO pairs of shoes. You can have ORANGE and BLUE. People have LOTS of shoes. Then you look at what you are wearing and say, ‘what will look better? The orange or the blue?’”
She darts a look at me and then at the shoes… at me… at the shoes. She’s thinking about it… WANTS to keep both pairs. And the verdict is??? Kirsten didn’t say a word. She just took both pairs and set them next to each other. Under the chair. In the living room. Deal!
So we can move on now? Um, no… Kirsten: “The green shoes. Christmas. Keep the blue shoes too. The small ballet.”
Here we go again…
Your turn! Do you deal with any ‘overload’ issues in your home??!