I remember very vividly saying that to my other children, but they were younger and it was about other things. You know the whole "If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?" speech that every kid in history has heard at some point in time; or at least a variation of it.
If I asked Kalisha about the bridge, she would answer with an emphatic and rather indignant 'No!' because the irony of it would be lost on her and all she would be thinking about would be the fact that she doesn't swim, so why in the world would I think she would ever jump off a bridge?
Kalisha's behavioral consultant has been working with her on lots of things; one of them being the ability to say NO and another being the ability to make a decision about what is best for her, not just what her friends are doing.
Kalisha has always liked to do what other people are doing. I remember when she was 2 or 3 years old and had a friend at school who would lie on the classroom floor, kick her feet, scream and bang her head on the floor. (Special needs children have tantrums, too) One day, we were standing in line in the very crowded lobby of McDonald's. I think Kalisha was bored and getting impatient so she decided it would be a great time to act just like her friend from the preschool. I had never seen her do anything like that, so I was looking at her as perplexed as the other people in the lobby. That was probably a good thing, because then no one knew who that caterwauling kid belonged to.
Later when I told her that was not an appropriate way to behave, she looked at me very innocently and said, "Susie does it." I probably should have known that with that kind of logic, it was going to be a rough ride sometimes.
Some things have not changed. If I am having a fairly long conversation on my cell phone, she will invariably call someone on her cell phone and try to talk as long as I do. Her biggest downfall is food. If someone else is snacking, she has to snack, also. Scenario: If we were at a restaurant and I ordered a full meal because I had not eaten since morning, Kalisha would order a meal also, even if she had eaten just an hour earlier.
Last week, I took Kalisha, her friend, Mary, my granddaughter, Emily and me to the fireworks. She and Mary had agreed to bring some snacks and a can of soda along for themselves. Kalisha had her 3 different snacks (she didn't intend to eat all of them, just wanted a variety to choose from). We were still in the process of setting up our chairs when the Ice Cream Truck rolled up. Mary immediately went to it to buy an ice cream treat. Kalisha almost fell over her chair to get her billfold out before he might pull away. I said, "Kalisha, do you really think you need ice cream?"
"Well, Mary is getting one."
I wanted to say that Mary didn't need one either, but I refrained. Believe me when I say that neither of these young women needed ice cream! So even though she had Reese's Pieces, Pringles and Pretzels, and Emily and I didn't get one, she could not be dissuaded. If Mary hadn't bought a treat, I could have talked Kalisha out of it.
Last Saturday, Kalisha and Mary and Mary's friend and I sat at a parade. It is an annual tradition. Before the parade started, people were walking past selling T-shirts with the parade motto on them. Mary immediately decided to buy one (she has worse spending habits than Kalisha). I saw Kalisha's expression and I knew she wanted one too, if Mary bought one. The only thing that saved her was the fact that she had found an I-Pod on E-bay and I reminded her that she wouldn't be able to buy it if she spent money on a shirt.
She agreed and did not buy a shirt. Later that day, I asked if she really liked the shirts and if she would have worn it. She said she didn't like any of the colors and she would not ever have worn it.
It is sort of a frenzy that she has to buy it when someone else does. I can't exactly explain it. If she had not been there when Mary bought the shirt, she would never have asked to have one; it is only the "want" of the moment.