This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bear update - Speedy trial?

Not much has changed.  Bear is still in jail, awaiting trial.  He says that the mental health assessment still hasn't been done, which takes about a month, so the October 4th court date will probably come and go with no results.  He's been told that if he does get in to Anna McBride based on the assessment (which now may not be a possibility because they're saying it was a "violent" crime after all), that usually takes a month or so to happen.  So he's looking at another couple of months minimum.

In the meantime, he's still depressed (big shock).  He has nothing to do all day but ruminate how he's messed up his life.  He already knows he's a horrible person (part of being RAD is knowing you're worthless and unlovable).  He's given up, but there's nothing he can do about it.

I tried to reassure him that

  • It's normal to be depressed considering where he is right now.
  • He's bipolar so his body chemistry is making him depressed, so his brain starts looking around for a "reason" and finds one which then gets blown out of proportion.  When he gets back on his meds a lot of this depression will go away.
  • Yes, I'm sure he should have listened to his friends,  and then he might have stayed out of trouble (it got a little irritating to hear him talk about how this friend and that had told him not to do _________, so I kept casually dropping hints that we'd said the same thing many times), BUT he knows he had to find this out for himself (explained what "hindsight is 20/20" meant), and beating himself up over it now is pointless.  Instead, he needs to learn from this. .  
  • Yes, he does need to come home and grow up a little more (like he learned from his last psych eval
  • Things will get better, he just needs to hang in there.

A little while back he'd given me access to his FaceBook account (I'm not totally sure why, I think he wanted me to see what his ex-gf had said to him on his page - he wanted me to know without telling me himself), but since she was no longer his friend and it happened so long ago, I couldn't see anything.  I did discover another reason why he's worried about returning to Texas.  He owes hundreds of dollars to various people (including ex-gf).  He's lied to pretty much everyone about why he went to Oklahoma.  He told one of the people he owed money to that he was just going for a visit because there was a death in the family.

His Oklahoma gf, who was standing by him while he was in jail, made several comments on his FB page about him stating he had no one there for him (because she personally knows how it feels to have friends and family abandon you when you're in jail!).  He's told US his bio family haven't called or visited, but we've definitely been there for him.  Even when they doubled the cost of his collect calls to $30 for 15 minutes.

The Oklahoma gf is now missing, and somehow they've accused Bear.  Luckily he's in JAIL and couldn't really have anything to do with it.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Texas Trauma Mama Retreat

Queendom by the Sea
Our view!
Wow!  This was an amazing retreat!  7 Trauma Mamas in a gorgeous house right on the beach!  Right across the street was the OCEAN!  And that wasn't even the best part!

The best part was just being with other amazing moms who really "get it."  Providing support and giving advice, just having someone listen without judging, child-free downtime, laughing, crying, eating, wading in the ocean, gathering shells to take home to our kids, staying up until after 3am, chillaxin', learning about ourselves, inside jokes...

I gained over 3lbs.  Mostly from the never ending chocolate!  TOTALLY WORTH IT!

My phone didn't work at all during the retreat (said Emergency Calls Only).  I assumed it was because we were too far from a cell tower (although everyone else's worked though not well), and while I did have internet access I could only receive, not send, e-mails (I Facebook messaged a neighbor to send a message to Hubby to let him know I was OK.  She did remember to do so... eventually.  :^)  ).

I don't have a Smart phone, GPS or Tom Tom or anything.  I made it to the retreat with a Google Map print out, so on the way back home, when I got a little lost in Houston it was fairly nerve wracking.  I finally stopped at a Boost Mobile store, hoping they could tell me where the nearest AT&T store was so I could get my phone fixed and also so they could tell me where the heck I was so I could get home!!!  The 2 relatively young people could not read a map!  The guy did fix my phone (he just turned it off and on again  *blush* ) and then he went to Google Maps and printed out new directions for me.

Now that my phone was fixed, I called one of the moms who wasn't able to make it to the retreat (she's a stay at home single mom), to let her know that even though the retreat ended a day earlier than I'd expected (*blush*), because I'd gotten lost in Houston and left the retreat late, I wasn't going to be able to meet with her in person like I'd considered doing.  She asked where I was, and let me know that because I'd gotten lost, I was now actually in her area!  (Godincidence!)  I met with her for about an hour and a half and then headed home to my sweet Hubby for date night!

All I can tell you is
      next time that there's a retreat (especially if it's organized again by Shon!)
             YOU GOTTA GO!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

IEP meeting

The IEP meeting was pretty much useless.  We got our information entered into the records, but mostly were told, you can talk to us about that outside of the IEP meeting (for all the academic concerns), because we didn't know in time this was being discussed.  High priority to get the New School Year Letter done for Kitty.

Some items we’d like to discuss at the ARD:

Auditory Processing Disorder test results
Recent diagnosis of Esophoria
Lots of nods, but since it doesn't show she has APD, this "didn't matter so much."  When they reviewed the accommodations at the end of the meeting, I did go back and insist that they review the original neuropsych recommendations (things like: getting her attention by using her name before saying something important, verbal one-item-at-a-time directions, quiet environment...

Failed the Language Arts TAKS.
Speech – Did she get credit for taking it?  {She'd been taking it at the end of the school year year before last, but had missed about 2/3 of the one semester course because she was unable to make it through a whole school day and eventually was switched to taking only core classes.  We were told she'd get credit for it anyway, but several of these classes were messed up despite these assurances}.
Transition Plan – what is being done to meet these goals?  Child development classes?  
No more double block math.  Is she in a review class now?  Is she going to be able to take Algebra II next year as she expects?  Yes for the math, but as to the rest and all other academic concerns, we were told  they didn't know these would be discussed so didn't have any information.  They'd look into it and we could talk about it later and reconvene at a later IEP meeting.  She does have to have her Annual IEP Meeting before mid December.  I'm sure they'll use the fact that the special school doesn't offer child development classes or vocation classes to start getting her back in to her regular public school.

Equine Therapy – will be missing every Monday morning until 11am.  Nods

Kitty requesting skill building in multi-tasking and prioritizing
"These can be incorporated into her other classes like Community."  I did talk to the interim Principal for the Special School without Kitty present and shared my concerns about things turning out like they did with Bear... Kitty having unachievable, unrealistic goals and blaming me for not being able to achieve these dreams.

Calming Techniques – practice, place to do them, someone to help her with them?  Got NO response on this one.

The Education for All Handicapped Children Act ( EAHCA) was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1975. This act required all public schools accepting federal funds to provide equal access to education and one free meal a day for children with physical and mental disabilities.  Found out before the meeting that this has been replaced by IDEA so no longer applies.

What to do about  meals?  Skipping, forgetting, means meds aren’t working well.  Talk to her case manager.
How to handle Kitty’s chronic somatic issues – headaches, stomach aches, tiredness…  Leave some Tylenol for her, we'll let her nap if she's tired.  No response to our comment that she's ALWAYS tired.
How are issues reported to parents?  "Hmmm...we're getting something set up for that."

Who is her case manager?  This was answered before the meeting.

Protocol for when she’s upset or overwhelmed.  She wants to know what to do.  No real response to this or some of our suggestions.

Issues with males  Duly noted and added to her accommodations - no one on one interactions with males for Kitty, especially if she's stressed or upset.

She is stressed and uncomfortable in cafeteria when general ed students are present  They are aware of this issue and trying to fix it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dream Killer

Image result for dream killer
Dreamkiller - my new official title. So much better than B*$@h, right?! *sigh*

Unfortunately, many people in a child's life believe that telling a child the truth about his or her abilities and skills will damage his/her self-esteem. Personally, I believe that if you tell a child that he/she can do and/or be anything he wants to be and then the child fails, then the child assumes that the failure is his or her fault.

I think children need encouragement to find the things that they enjoy but be gently directed away from unrealistic goals. A blind child who wants to be an artist might be guided away from watercolors and instead encouraged to become an amazing Sculptor or discover an interest in becoming an engineer.

Explaining Vocational Goals vs Skills and Abilities
I got to tell my 17yo daughter today that I think she needs to look at some back-up plans for her planned vocation, since I don't think the school can teach her "multi-tasking," and being a preschool teacher pretty much requires that ability.

I soooo hate that the school just goes along with my children's vocational goals being whatever whim my kids have at the moment, without taking into account their actual skills and abilities.

 The last dream of Kitty's that I "killed" was of her being a neurosurgeon. Not such a big deal in elementary and middle school, but she was starting high school and they were going to put her on the "Health and Sciences track."

I asked the guidance counselor why she would even consider this track when Kitty would obviously never be capable of being a neurosurgeon (just her memory issues alone meant that would never be possible). The guidance counselor mumbled something about maybe she could be an aide or tech.
Image result for cat in doctor costume

In front of the counselor, I asked Kitty why she wanted to be a neurosurgeon. Kitty only wanted to be a neurosurgeon so she could make lots of money and buy a no-kill shelter.

When I suggested that Kitty could do something along the lines of working in a shelter or for a vet, she refused because she doesn't want to see animals in pain.

Of course, I still got to be the one to kill Kitty's dream of being a neurosurgeon by gently pointing out that medical school required a LOT of memorization. She agreed that maybe something else would be a better fit.

Be All That You CAN Be
The school did the same thing to Kitty's brother, Bear. Instead of teaching him the practical life skills that he was obviously going to need, they told him he could go to college and be whatever he wanted to be. He graduated without the ability to do ANYthing, and now has the only job/life he's qualified for... prison inmate.

Image result for bear in football uniform
One of Bear's dreams was to be a pro football player.  He was 5'9" and 210+lbs by age 12, but then we found out he was done growing when he turned 14 and while that's not a deal killer, it was unlikely that he could go pro at only 5'9".

He was bigger than the other kids in middle school, but completely and utterly uncoordinated, so he only made the junior varsity B team. In high school, he realized he was no longer the biggest kid on the team, couldn't play because of his grades and discipline issues, and practice was hard work in Texas (especially since he always wears multiple layers of clothing so was constantly having heat strokes).

He also wanted to be a Marine but we knew that with his diagnoses and meds this wasn't possible. We begged the school to be the one to tell him this and encourage him to find a viable back-up plan. We tried for years to subtly push him to choose possible careers at which he could actually be successful but he, of course, preferred to believe his teachers and school administrators who told him he was college material.

We finally FORCED the school to be the one to tell him he needed to pick a different back-up plan and WHY (he kept picking options like Police Officer that weren't viable options either - and they let him).

Unfortunately, the school had avoided it for so long and did such a poor job, Bear still managed to convince himself that I'd made the school tell him this and that I was wrong.

Bear graduated high school {In my opinion, only because they wanted him out of school where they didn't have to deal with him anymore} with totally unachievable goals and no functional living skills. He doesn't even have basic math skills and reads and writes on a 5th-grade level. This is the child they were encouraging to go to college or trade school!

I don't want the same thing to happen to Kitty, who will most likely need to accept that she has to live at home or some kind of supported living for the rest of her life, because it is unlikely that she will ever have the abilities she needs to be able to live and work independently more than part-time.  It would be different if she felt so passionately about something that she would work hard to overcome any obstacles, but she doesn't really like much of anything.

This stinks!!  How do you encourage your child to have ACHIEVABLE dreams, so they won't constantly feel they've failed?  Someone once asked me what my child is good at and enjoys doing...  I can't think of anything.


This whole thing started because Kitty's IEP meeting is tomorrow, and on the way home from equine therapy, she and I got to talking about what issues we need to discuss at the meeting.  She's doing fairly well now, but we wanted to be sure that we prepared for the worst while we hoped for the best.

Here's the agenda I came up with and sent in an e-mail to the school:

My apologies for not getting this report to you sooner {Attached to the email was the results for the Auditory Processing Disorder testing - which show that she does NOT have APD, but scores significantly low on 3 of the 11 items - you have to score significantly on 9 out of 11 to have APD. Still, those 3 scores are significant to her functioning even though she does not have APD}  It was promised to me at the end of July.  There were several delays despite constant assurances that it was on its way.  I eventually received it at the end of August, but it had a major error that needed to be revised.  I finally got the corrected version this weekend.  For insurance reasons, it does not give recommendations (they wouldn't make recommendations unless we paid out of pocket} so I will refer you back to the Neuropsych evaluation completed at the end of last year that prompted this testing.

“Kitty’s auditory attention and discrimination abilities as measured in a structured, quiet one-to-one environment were within normal limits (100th  percentile). However, she had significant difficulty accurately perceiving words in a simulated classroom environment ( less than 1st  percentile).   She also had difficulty as the task increased in complexity and she had to inhibit automatic responses in favor of novel responses.  Slow processing speed was evident on all tasks.  Her working memory and processing speed are significantly impaired and represent significant weaknesses for Kitty.”

Some items we’d like to discuss at the ARD {IEP Meeting}:
Auditory Processing Disorder test results (see attached).
Recent diagnosis of Esophoria (Esophoria is characterized by inward deviation of the eye usually due to extra-ocular muscle imbalance.). This occurs primarily when she is tired and can result in eye strain or double vision.
These difficulties while reading and doing near work can be problematic for learning and can cause a
variety of discomforts, such as a feeling of tension and a headache that gradually increases with
the use of the eyes during the day; fullness in the lids; dull pain in the back of the eyes and brow;
Visual Esophoria and Exophoria  5 and spasms of the muscles around the eye.
Failed the Language Arts TAKS {State standardized testing}.
No more double block math.  Is she in a review class now?  Is she going to be able to take Algebra II next year as she expects?
Equine Therapy – she will be absent every Monday morning until 11am.
Speech – Did she get the promised credit for taking it?
Transition Plan – what is being done to meet these goals?  Child development classes?
Skill Building.  Kitty is requesting skill building in multi-tasking and prioritizing
Calming Techniques – practice, place to do them, someone to help her with them?
The Education for All Handicapped Children Act ( EAHCA) was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1975. This act required all public schools accepting federal funds to provide equal access to education and one free meal a day for children with physical and mental disabilities. {Does this mean she qualifies for a free meal?!}
What to do about meals?  Her skipping, forgetting, means her meds aren’t working well.
How to handle Kitty’s chronic somatic issues – headaches, stomach aches, tiredness…
How are issues reported to parents? {In other words, they aren't being reported to us!}
Who is her case manager?
Protocol for when she’s upset or overwhelmed.  She wants to know what to do.
Issues with males,
She is stressed and uncomfortable in the cafeteria when the general ed high school students (versus the special school program that Kitty is in} are present

Additional Posts:
DreamKiller Letter to Kitty's School - explaining "dream killing" concerns to child's school case manager
Choosing Joy - Explaining Age-Appropriate Parenting to Your Child
Co-Conspirator Dreamkiller -
enlisting others in explaining dream killing concerns
Life After High School - College, Career, Lifestyle - handling the difference between vocational goals and skills and abilities
Overlapping Diagnoses in Children - why "our kids" often struggle with differences in their skills and abilities
When An Adult Child Moves Out -
attempting to explain limitations to an adult child.
Marriage and SSI Benefits - how having limitations can affect a child's future.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bear's Trial - Part 1 and SSI question

Got a call today from Bear.  He finally met his attorney (didn't ask him how long before the trial, but he called me after it was over at 11am so it couldn't have been more than a couple of hours at the most).  The attorney said he did get the papers I sent.  So that's good.

He's got another court date set for October 4th.  First there has to be an LSI ,which assesses offender attributes and offender situations relevant for making decisions about levels of supervision and treatment.  The good news is that they are evaluating him.  The bad news is that this semi-structured interview appears to be done by probation officers, parole officers, and correctional workers instead of being a psychological evaluation by a psychologist.  Bear did mention a mental health facility, so maybe they'll be involved.

Bear was told there were three options for him, based on the results from the LSI:

1.  Anna McBride Court - part of a growing national trend to divert nonviolent offenders with mental health problems from jail into treatment. Bear was told if he is eligible then he would be placed in a treatment facility where he can work in the community.

2.  Regimented Inmate Discipline (RID) Program  - aka Boot Camp - a "shock incarceration" or "shock probation" discipline and treatment program.  Bear would be fine in this program, but there are some fundamental questions that have been raised about several aspects of boot camp type programs that very much apply to Bear.

  • Confrontational elements. Sechrest (1989) questions the continued use of confrontation and verbal abuse when the military and juvenile agencies have abandoned the practice. 
  • Military boot camp and prison boot camp have distinctly different purposes (i.e., the purpose of military training is to kill).   Boot camp is a dehumanizing experience, and the question is, how obedience to authority leads to prosocial behavior? 
  •  What happens afterward?  Military boot camp graduates remain in the military... long enough to realize the benefits of their initial experience.") (Sechrest, 1989, p. 19). From another perspective, Feeley and Simon (1992, p. 464) wondered if the "soldier" who graduates from a boot camp will have a "company" to join. They fear that discipline and organization learned in boot camps will be utilized in the distribution of drugs or gang activity. 
3.  Community Sentencing - This means Bear would live and work in the "outside world" while on probation.  He would be paying back any fines and possibly attending technical school classes.  Biggest problem with this is he HAS to stay in Oklahoma, and therefore would need someone there to help and support him.  The only family he has in Oklahoma are the bio Grandfather and an Aunt.  He's done some yard work for the aunt and says she has an old house in her front yard that they're thinking of tearing down.  He thinks he could rent it.

Obviously I'm hoping for the first option.  Don't know what we'll do if he ends up with Community Sentencing.  There's a small possibility if he gets option #3, that we can get him into some kind of residential treatment facility.

I was actually impressed with how much information he retained and was able to relay to me (although he just gave me acronyms and I had to look them up).  The rest of the 15 minute call was all about his latest "Back Up Girl."  *sigh*  I don't really expect him to change, but...


Wanted to answer a comment from another post here:  

r. has left a new comment on your post "Bear's Trial - Prayer request":

"Do you know if Bear's SSI will continue into adulthood? I know of another kid with FASD who had his SSI up for re-evaluation after he became an adult (although there might have been a year or two delay from the time he turned 18 I think, I don't remember). It's a LOT harder to get SSI for mental issues when you're an adult and a lot of times there are multiple appeals involved. If his SSI hasn't already come up for reevaluation, that might be something to look out for in the mail. I'm not sure how one proves one's case from jail though :-/" 
Bear turned 19 in July and has never had SSI.  He was not eligible for SSI as a child, because before age 18 our family income counted against him.  After age 18 he still didn't qualify because our adoption subsidy counted as "income" for him (don't know why!).  The adoption subsidy stopped at age 19 and we planned to apply for SSI then... but he was in jail and they won't pay SSI if your food and housing are being paid for by a third party.  

His benefits coordinator at the MHMR thought he had a very good chance of qualifying for SSI as an adult, but of course we won't know what will happen until he's eligible again and can apply.

Bear's Trial - Prayer request

Bear is going to trial today.  He/ we could really use some prayers.

We still haven't heard from the attorney.  Bear is very depressed and giving up, and now his girlfriend has dumped him (she said someone told her he was cheating on her?).

He's being beaten up and is pretty battered.  He's afraid he'll be killed.  People who commit the type of crime that he did are NOT treated well in prison, and the charges have become common knowledge among the inmates (a fellow inmate was at his bail hearing and told everyone)..

He wants to go to a psych hospital if he's released and I'm encouraging him to advocate for that.  It's so hard to cope with hearing him this way.  Hubby and I spent most of our 15 minute collect call assuring Bear that he has people all over the country who love him and are praying for him, including bio family.  Just because people cannot take care of him, doesn't mean they don't love him.

He doesn't want to move back to Texas, probably because he is afraid that there are warrants out for his arrest for stealing.  He's talking about moving to Missouri because he doesn't have family there.  We tried to convince him that he really needs to live near someone who can help him get the services he needs.

So here's the letter I finally faxed to the attorney, since he won't return my calls:

Dear Mr. Public Attorney,
According to the court clerk, my son, Bear, is now your client.  I have tried to reach you by phone several times, but have been unable to reach you, so I have decided to fax you this information.
Bear is severely mentally ill (Bipolar Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder), has a brain injury (cerebral dysrhythmia), and a borderline IQ (I’d be happy to provide psychological evaluations documenting this).  Against his psychiatrist’s recommendations, Bear stopped taking his medications about 6 months ago.  He also moved out of our, his adoptive parents’ home, and after bouncing from friend to friend, moved in with a member of his biological family in Oklahoma.
We have several concerns I feel need to be addressed:
  • ·         Bear needs a CURRENT psychological evaluation based on his CURRENT symptoms.  He was properly medicated during all past evaluations, and therefore they do not reflect his current mental state.  I question his mental competence to stand trial, which was borderline to begin with and is now a much bigger concern.
  • ·         Bear also needs to be evaluated so he can be put back on psychotropic medications (he is in agreement with this).  At the moment he sounds severely depressed (understandable of course), but I do have concerns that he will attempt suicide again or impulsively make life-altering decisions.  I understand he has been getting into some altercations already – he has definite anger management and impulse issues when not properly medicated.
  • ·         Court-mandated taking of his medications would be a very good idea.
  • ·         Bear is under the impression that he will be getting off with probation.  We do not feel safe taking Bear back into our home after his release from prison (especially if he is not on medication) and his biological family has expressed to us that they are unwilling/ unable to take him into their homes.  I’d like to recommend that Bear go to a psych hospital, mental institution, group home, half-way house, or at the very least Job Corp.  He has NOT been able to demonstrate that he is capable of living independently.  Having him move near us so that I can continue his case management and support is acceptable.
  • ·         Bear is eligible for SSI (Social Security Income) which includes Medicaid to pay for his psychiatric care and medications, but has been unable to start it while he is in jail.

Please contact me with any questions and for any needed documentation.  Attached is a list of medications Bear was taking before he stopped, a letter from his psychiatrist, a copy of the letter I sent to the jail administrator trying to get psychiatric care for Bear, and the Statutory Durable Power of Attorney that Bear signed which should allow you to discuss his case with me.

Mary Themom

Adventures in Babysitting - Kitty's Summer Job

Kitty likes children and had decided she wants to be a preschool teacher (this has been her plan ever since I had to tell her she couldn't become a surgeon).  Since she's graduating high school in less than 2 years and would most likely not do well in college, I decided to let her do a free internship with a friend of mine who runs a home daycare.  Kitty loved it, but it did stress her out when the toddlers didn't listen, she needed to multi-task (like break up an argument while watching babies - she left the babies on the couch and the toddler pushed the infant off), or dealing with the older children (6-10yrs) who were teasing the younger kids (she'd come home and tell me how she wanted to punch them in the face because they "knew better").

Despite me repeatedly relaying my concerns to my friend, my friend kept leaving Kitty alone with the kids while she talked on the phone, changed a diaper, went to the restroom... While I do think she was listening to me, I don't think she really believed me because Kitty is ssooo conscientious and helpful.  She LOVED having Kitty there, and the kids loved Kitty too.  It went from being a few hours twice a week, to every afternoon.  Kitty loved it so much, although she did find it very draining.

Kitty would never deliberately hurt a small child, but she has very little empathy, can't multi-task or prioritize, and can't make quick decisions when things go wrong.  So why did I let her work in a daycare?  Because we have no proof until we let them attempt it, right?   I'm constantly getting pressure to allow her to get job-related skills, especially in areas she's motivated in, like preschool teaching.  Plus, I thought this would be a controlled enough environment and a good assessment of whether or not we should try to find another direction for Kitty while we still have a little time.

The other day another Trauma Mama invited Kitty, Ponito and I over for a play date with her two kids of trauma (girl age 8 and boy age 12) and her 3yo bio triplets.  The mom mentioned that she wished she knew Kitty was interested in childcare, because she would have hired her as a Mother's Helper this Summer. While the mom and I tried to chat, Ponito played with the boy and Kitty was left to play with the remaining kids.  Usually at least 1 of the triplets was hanging on mom while another vied for our attention, but they alternated hanging all over Kitty.  Between them and the 6yo, Kitty was complaining of a headache and begging to go home within an hour.

I don't know what to think of the results.of this Summer's experiments.

The mothers of the daycare and my friend gave Kitty gifts on her last day (one of the joys of working in daycare!).  Kitty got $50 in cash from my friend, $10 gift cards to Bath and Bodyworks and a place that sells games, candles, lotions, even a pair of pajama bottoms.  She loved all the loot.


Have to laugh at Kitty with money in her pocket.  To say it burns a hole is a uber-understatement!  She's been trying to spend it on something, anything, since the day she got it.  "Mom, can I have my money so I can buy lunch at school?"  "I'm dying of thirst.  Let's get smoothies/ ice cream/ Sonic... I'll spend my money." Kitty:  "I want to go to {Barbecue place}"
Me:  "We don't have the money for that right now.  Plus, many people in the family don't like barbecue.  Maybe we can go this weekend."
Kitty:  "*whine*  *beg*  I'll pay for it with my own money! *whine* *beg*"
Me:  "You mean you're going to pay for the whole family to eat barbecue with your money?"
Kitty:  "NOOOO!  I'm just gonna pay for me!"
Me:  "Well then I don't think we'll be eating out tonight."
Kitty:  "*whine*  *whine* *beg*  *whine*"

Memorial Day weekend I needed to go to the fabric store during the sales to pick up some supplies for my first bridal customer in years.  Bob needed new (appropriate) shorts, and a friend had told her to go to a particular store in the mall.  Normally we never go to the mall because I can't stand paying retail after years of resale/thrift store shopping!  Plus, Kitty gets the gimmies.  This time though I figured she needed to use her gift card and hopefully there would be big sales.

So off we went.  Kitty was over the moon!  After hitting the fabric store we went to the store in the mall that had shorts.  Kitty, appropriately, asked if she could also look for shorts.  I said yes to both girls, but warned them the shorts had to be on clearance.  Kitty found 2 pair with enough bling to satisfy her, and Bob found 3 pair that were long enough for school (shorts that are fine on other kids, look like Daisy Duke's on Bob's loooong legs - she's 6ft tall now).

Then it was time to actually brave the main mall.  We went to Bath and Body works first.  I mostly waited outside because smelly stuff makes my eyes water and my head ache.  Finally went in because Kitty couldn't make up her mind.  She managed to find $11.50 worth of stuff and used her debit card to pay the $1.50.

Then I decided it was Kitty's money and if she wanted to blow it at Hot Topic (which she considers the ULTIMATE store, and I never let her shop at), then that was her choice.  Whew!  She handled it OK, despite there being so many choices... until it came time to figure out how much she could spend.

The t-shirts were buy one get one 1/2 off.  Kitty couldn't do the math.  I walked her through dividing the cost of the less expensive t-shirt in half and then adding the amount to the cost of the other t-shirt.  Then subtracting that amount from the $50, minus the $1.50 she'd spent at the other store.  Mostly I tried to stand back and let her choose (I nixed an item or two) and pay for the items.  She got to the front of the line, handed the guy her debit card... and found out she needed photo ID.  *sigh*  She hadn't wanted to bring in her wallet so she only had the gift card and the debit card.  Plus she'd lost her student ID card.  I ended up paying for it.

Kitty was a happy little camper for a whole 20 minutes!

NOT Kitty!