Hello there! How was your day? I hope it was productive and positive 🙂
My day was a bit of a mixed bag actually. I had the usual Kindy drop off drama with BB 😦 He clings and cries and tells me how much he hates it and tells me “I want to stay wishoooooooo” (translation: I want to stay with you). I often think back to this time last year when he had just started there and people kept telling me “don’t worry, he will get used to it” or “he will get over it” or “in no time he will be happy to go”. Just one of the many examples of well-meaning parents with neuro-typical kids applying their experience to my kids on the Spectrum – BB doesn’t just “get over” anything, BB is habitual and once a routine is established it takes A LOT to break it. Over a year later, we still haven’t ended the Kindy drop off dramatics.
After that, GG and I went home to do some yard work. A little something you need to know about me is that I am NOT a gardener. I have always had a black thumb (which is the EXACT opposite of a green thumb), I have even killed multiple cacti, which I was assured were practically fool proof. Anyway, now that I am a single lady and I have a yard to maintain, the responsibility falls on me (although my beautiful parents paid someone to mow for me once, which I was so grateful for). I got myself an electric mower off a local Facebook buy sell swap page for the bargain price of $15 just after we moved house last year. No one ever taught me how to mow when I was younger, but I knew the basic principal: Turn it on, push it and don’t run over your feet. Not a drama!
I was so proud of myself the first time I mowed. I learned some very important lessons. 1) Hydrate! Make sure you drink enough water whilst you are mowing so you don’t get dehydrated. 2) When you start leaving cut grass clumps all over the place that means your catcher needs emptying. And most importantly, 3) when using an electric mower, make sure you DON’T run over the extension cord as the blades will slice it up pretty good and quickly! Other than that, to me, it isn’t dissimilar to vacuuming.
Today’s effort was relatively uneventful, although I did only get half done as I had to get GG to a psychology appointment. I got annoyed with the catcher as it is so small and there was so much grass (as I hadn’t mowed in weeks) that it was taking me longer to remove the catcher, gather the leftover clippings, walk it to the green bin, empty it, walk back to the mower reattach the catcher, arrange the cord and continue, than it took to mow until the catcher was full again. So I mowed minus catcher with the intention of raking it all up before heading inside to shower. But, by the time I finished mowing outside the fence I really only had time to get the blower vac out to clean the footpath and vacuum up the clippings out there.
I headed back to the garage to grab the blower vac only to find a colony of ants had made it their home. Thankfully though, it still worked, so I had to simply brush the little buggers off and continue on. By this stage I was sooooo hot, sweaty and had a headache looming from not drinking enough water, I was shaking with my mornings exertions. I rushed through the rest of the clean-up before racing into the shower as I realised that we were running late for GG’s psychology appointment.
I hurriedly washed my hair with soap because I wanted to save the last bit of shampoo for shopping day next week when I will hopefully be able to afford shampoo (my weird scalp and its aversion to standard hair products is a post for another day!). I found clean (creased) clothes in the basket of washing I had taken off the line 2 days earlier, threw them on (minus underwear because there wasn’t any in the basket and I didn’t have time to go looking for some) and headed off in a hurry to the car as we had 20 minutes to make the 30 minute drive to the appointment. I pulled over to call the office on the way to let them know we were running 10 minutes late only to discover that the appointment was actually an hour later than I had thought! The pleasure I felt at realising we didn’t have to rush was short lived as I upended a large cup of water on the floor of my car – which at 11pm at night I realise I didn’t do anything about when I returned home, that will be another job to add to the list for tomorrow!
We took a little detour and investigated an unusual shopping complex that we had never been to before which was a lot of fun. Upon our arrival at the psychologists office, I glanced at my reflection in the outside window and discovered that my shorts looked awful and the shirt I was wearing wasn’t long enough to cover them! I looked dreadful with my red, makeup free face and my soap washed and un-brushed hair. That was the moment that it hit me that I had also forgotten to apply deodorant before leaving the house and the car (I have recently started keeping deodorant in the car as I keep forgetting to apply before I leave home!). Note to self: ALWAYS look in the mirror before leaving the house and check my underarms before getting out of the car!
GG and the psychologist continued their work on anxiety and calming the body through action and thoughts/internal dialogue. As BB is normally with us, I usually sit in the waiting room with him whilst GG has her session. We were sans BB today, so I was allowed to sit in and it was amazing!
The psychologist played a youtube video for GG of underwater scenes with lovely calm music. I was able to sit back and observe my baby girl visibly relax, her legs stopped moving, her fingers were only moving a little, her shoulders relaxed and she had a big smile on her face (the kid LOVES underwater stuff) and her eyes were glued to the screen “look a mantaray!” she smiled happily. Next the psych put a video on entitled Sensory Overload. I watched my gorgeous girl begin to tense, I saw her hands grip her thighs, her legs start to vibrate, her face begin to contort, her shoulders elevate as she tried to retreat like a turtle into her shell. It was just awful. It was only on for less than a minute but seeing her like that made me really emotional, I had tears in my eyes and I began to get choked up.
It occurred to me that I don’t often see that reaction in her and the reason is most likely because when we are out and about places I am not usually sitting back and watching my kids, I am holding their hands constantly on the lookout for meltdown triggers or flight triggers or fear triggers around us, I look for potential hazards that they could injure themselves on or that they could use to damage property in some way. We don’t avoid the triggers, I prepare them for the possibility of a trigger arising and work with them on not allowing it to press their buttons until it has passed.
So being able to sit back in a safe environment and see the effect that construction noise, traffic etc had on my wonderful little girl was just heartbreaking. Very soon after it started the psychologist turned it off and she spoke with GG about how it affected GG’s body (racing heart, clenching her hands etc). Then the psych put on another relaxing music type video with sheep on it which helped GG calm again quickly. They talked about how quickly your body can go from calm to stressed and back to calm again – the aim of this exercise was to show GG that even when something does stress her out that she can get calm again quickly, she doesn’t HAVE to stay in that stressed state which GG thought was absolutely brilliant! She was so pleased with this revelation. It was a great session for the little lady.
Here’s a link to the underwater clip in case any of you are interested. It goes for over 2 hours, so you could play it on the TV at home or wherever https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdnHKdb-Oss&index=1&list=PLdm7W4bBIB8Xy-jBo1rQEcoHvtORyqrbP
I had a chat with the psychologist about BB and the issues that we discussed in his appointment earlier in the week related to his (sometimes dangerously) oppositional, non-compliance where I am concerned. It has been really scary to take him out of the house as he won’t follow instructions and has been running away. It is just so out of character, he has always wanted to be where I was, he has always been my little buddy (I lovingly referring to him as my little stalker from infancy as if I was in the room he would follow me with his eyes, or if we were in the car, every time I looked back at him he was always looking at me etc) but now he does things like look me in the eye and step onto the road during school pick up when I tell him to come away from the road, for example. The psych told me of a theory (this isn’t the exact wording, and it is just a theory) where some males get to a point where they can’t follow instructions from a female any longer. She has seen it in her practice with some of the male clients, they just stop listening to her. She brings a male colleague in to deliver (word for word) the exact same instructions and they follow them without a problem. There was a lightbulb moment for me as I have seen this in action too over the course of my life. It made sense because BB genuinely seems to want to do the “right” thing but he can’t always make himself do it, he also does look at me blankly when I ask him to complete tasks, like what I am saying has just bounced off him. When I try to talk to him about specific incidents after they have occurred, he gets a really sad look on his face and says “sorry mum, there’s something wrong with me!”. I explain that there’s nothing wrong with him, that he is extraordinary and that we will just have to keep trying different things until we can find a solution. I queried him on the theory tonight (in an age appropriate way) and he as good as said that if there was someone else around with a penis (his words) that he would be able to do what is asked of him. So that theory seems to fit my little BB – which doesn’t bode well for me as a single mum, especially considering that both his therapists are female too! So feeling a little redundant here, but I have a few ideas from his psychology session this week, so hopefully they will help us get back on track, but that’s a post for another day.
Excuse the profanity, but I saw this and thought it was fitting lol 😉