Tuesday, 8 May 2012


My daughter tied herself in knots today, struggling with choices.

She was red-eyed and wild-headed when she got home from school.

Her teachers are trying to gently wean her off her current obsession with Hello Kitty by trying to get her to occasionally choose something else when she has the option. 

She’s so single-minded about her inexplicable love for the Japanese animated cat character that she’s announced she doesn’t like anything apart from Hello Kitty.

So the innocent suggestion that maybe she could pick a different picture to be used on her reward tokens went down like a cat in a sack in a well.

The tokens are little laminated pictures that the teachers stick on the wall of the classroom under the pupils’ names when they complete good work, or behave well. Unsuprisingly, my daughter’s icons have a feline theme. And she really didn’t want to change them.

We had a good hour of discussion on the matter. I say discussion, it was like looping the loop on a verbal rollercoaster and ending up back where we started, slightly out of breath and with a headache.

After some further contemplation, however, she suddenly voiced a new mantra.

“I am going to try and be good with choices, Mum,” she informed me. “You have to learn to make choices, don’t you? That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to try and choose different things. Because you need to choose, don’t you?”

I agreed. The first time she said it, and then the second, third, fourth and fifth. By the 50th, despite my ability to filter out the repetition (a skill I’ve developed over the years to cope with the perseveration element of her syndrome, although my Mum would say I’ve always had ‘selective hearing’) I’d lost interest and much of the will to live.

I patiently explained to her that perhaps she’d talked about this whole thing for a little bit too long and that it might possibly have started to become annoying.

She tipped her head to one side, raised her eyebrow, and gave me a withering look.

“It’s because I’ve got Prader-Willi Syndrome, mum. You should know that by now.”

Video is Fat Boy Slim - Weapon Of Choice

"You can go with this,
Or you can go with that".

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1 comment:

  1. Well, do you really think that her Hello Kitty obsession is such a life or death matter ?
    If she prefers having her room with only Hello Kitty photos, it's not the end of the world :D

    And to tell you the truth, typical teenagers can have an obsession for a group, a movie star... I think that it's more dangerous in a certain way, because they can do something dangerous just to meet them, or think about a romance etc etc.....
    As long as the obsession does not make her do something dangerous, like eating something she cannot eat, or foraging, or hitting.... I would let it go.

    Trying to cancel an obsession never works, because it's always replaced by another obsession.
    I am also quite an obsessional person, and unfortunately, when you quit an obsession, another obsession comes out. The other can be way worse, even a matter of life or death.
    Hello Kitty's obsession is relatively inappropriate, but be careful about not quitting a relatively inappropriate obsession for a completely and totally inappropriate obsession, like an obsession which can lead herself to death (hitting someone etc etc...).
    I have no PWS, but it does not prevent me from having obsessional/perseverative traits.

    It annoys mom sometimes, it annoys my friends sometimes, but unfortunately, we can only try to deal with obsessional traits.
    So in this case, make her quit an obsession which is harmful because it's a matter of life or death. And let go the harmless annoying obsessions, like Hello Kitty.
    If the obsession makes her self injury, foraging or such, then it will be time to take measures against it. Unless an obsession is just annoying but not harmful, that it is not a matter of life or death, let it go.

    And without having PWS, many girls of her age or even older love Hello Kitty, to the point they are obsessed.
    It's not necessarily harmful.

    So be careful about not substituting relatively inappropriate obsessions (Hello Kitty) by absolutely and completely inappropriate obsessions, even dangerous obsessions (foraging food).
    Be extra careful about it, it is my main concern from what you are telling.