Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘behaviour is communication

Negotiation

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Pudding has always had quite excellent negotiation skills. She pretty much potty-trained herself by demanding a treat every time. Later came the reward chart, and as soon as we started talking about a long-haul flight, she mentioned that she needed a Kelly doll. Okay, perhaps I mean extortion, rather than negotiation. Either way, the girl has talent.

We’re lucky in that we can use this facet of her personality to encourage more flexible behaviour. There are times, however, that she clams up, refuses to cooperate, and her behaviour spirals out of control. I hope, as you’re reading this, you remember that I wrote a post called “Behaviour is Communication“. Such a simple concept, you’d think I’d remember it, wouldn’t you? You’d think.

My excuse this time was that I was thrown by an added factor- a new medication trial for her ADHD. This is our third medication trial, and each time I’m hopeful that we’ll have success. This new medication promises excellent results in terms of attention, at the right dosage, with very few side effects. I paid close attention to her response, and saw no difference in her attention skills, a sharp increase in her irritability and hyperactivity. Somehow, going to the grocery store was even more difficult than usual. When four hours were up, and the medication no longer in her system, I expected a return to (our version of) normal, but she remained very emotional and inflexible.

On Sunday, we decided to go to the African Craft Market. Pudding, a sensory seeker, generally loves all the sights, sounds, and smells of this place, but because it can get crowded, we always have to be prepared for sensory overload.

We brought along some fidgets, snacks, and her weighted vest, but by far our greatest defense from feeling overwhelmed is our double stroller (pushchair). We attract some looks with this thing. Though it is easy to manouvre, it is big. And Pudding: she is big too. We might attract attention having an (almost) five year-old in a stroller, one who looks at least two years older than that, even more so. Still, Pudding is happy there, and can pull down the hood when it all gets too much.

Before we entered the market, we stopped for a coffee, and the kids got out of the stroller to sit at the table. Cubby took the first chair, and Pudding had a meltdown. This behaviour is so uncharacteristic of her, that I couldn’t figure out the source of the problem. She was incoherent with rage, and my efforts at calming her were in vain. Spectrummy Daddy deduced that Cubby was in the wrong chair, and successfully persuaded Cubby to swap with his sister. Daddy gave her one of his big squeezes, and all was right again. With this problem solved, a sensible woman might have decided to quit right there, but I didn’t get where I am by being sensible. To the market we went!

Cubby, struggling to assert his independence, decided to walk while his big sister rode along. We found a gift for our friends’ new baby, and we needed to wait while we had it personalized. We wandered around the rest of the stalls, and Cubby began to tire. And by tire, I mean running in all directions and touching everything within reach in a manner eerily reminiscent of his big sister at that age.

I’d spotted a tablecloth I liked, and the trader began her negotiations. I figured it would be easier if I transferred Cubby to the stroller. You’d think by now I’d no longer be following my instincts, they hadn’t proven so useful that morning.

I persuaded him to ride in the stroller with the offer of a snack and a drink. A fine idea in theory, but somehow the cup tipped up, and the drink spilled out into Pudding’s seat. As the trader continued her hard sell, I was trying to dry the water from her seat, as Pudding’s father tried to prevent her from assaulting her sibling, who was now quite content in his side of the stroller, munching on a cracker.

Pudding screamed that her brother had to get out of the stroller, and we attracted more attention than any of the curios on display. I told the trader that we had to go right now, and would return another week for the tablecloth. But market people know that those who promise to return never do, and she wasn’t going to let a sale slip out of her hands. She lowered her price, Pudding continued to scream, I told her we had to go.

Finally she asked what I would pay, and I countered with a price over a 100 rands lower than her best offer. Pudding quieted. The lady agreed the sale. We quickly handed over the money, ready to leave.

Pudding remained calm. She got back in the stroller beside her brother, and we didn’t hear another sound from them until it was time to go. Naturally, they didn’t want to go home.

At bedtime, Pudding became sick, and after a very disturbed night, all four of us woke up with a cold. Just like the time before, my girl who is unable to use words to let us know when she feels ill had let her behaviour do the talking. It is so obvious in hindsight.

Though of course, there is the other possibility that our master negotiator was dismayed at how I was handling the transaction, and did her bit to help. When it comes to that kid, I’d say anything is possible!

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

November 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm