Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mommy's New Mantra

     I'm not really sure if it's an extreme case of "we've really just had enough of winter and need some spring" or what, but the last several weeks seem to have been tougher than most. It seems to me that this has been the winter that just wouldn't end, the snow, so deep on our yard that Jacob couldn't even safely go out to play in it, no seriously, I thought I would loose him or that he would be completely swallowed by it the few times I tried to get him playing in it.
     We can commence with the rejoicing now, an end is finally in sight and spring is coming, I promise !
Being stuck in the house most of the winter is not fun for most people, now try doing it to a child that to a child who is sensory seeking and super active. There is only so much "heavy work" and input you can find to give a 3 year old inside of the house before said three year old starts to become bored, destructive, disobedient, and down right hard to be around.  To say that Jacob has become demanding is putting it mildly, to say the he has really become fresh is also putting it mildly. When Jacob wants my attention and I ask him to wait for just a minute, he starts to demand it by acting out, crashing into me, pulling on on me, making sure he is directly in my way no matter what I'm doing, he yells or screams so loud that your are forced to turn your attention to him immediately because you cannot hear what it was you were originally doing anyway. If he asks you for something and you ask him to wait he will act as though he never heard you and continue to ask the question until you feel like your ear drums will explode. Because his older siblings do not particularly enjoy his company he acts out toward them by screaming at them, crashing into them or even at times hitting them, which really is just a vicious cycle of him acting out, them wanting even less to do with him.......and round and round it goes. I have tried just about everything I can think of to gain control of the situation without losing my mind completely. I have yelled back, employed the patience of a saint, put on time out, sat with on time in, taken away things and ignored, all to no real working solution so far. Even after doing therapy with an OT for several months now, things have gotten worse not better.
     I continue to hold onto spring and some major outdoor sensory input filling hours and my last best hope.  In the mean time I have had to sit down and do some major thinking about the best way to approach this situation before it further spirals out of control. In thinking and researching on line I have worked out some new techniques that I am hoping will work. The first thing I am trying is visual cuing, a daily picture schedule, a big red stop sign, an "If......Then" picture board, and more sign language so that he can visually "hear" the word while I sign it and say it. I will get a large timer so that he can see elapsed time if he is waiting for something. Rewarding positive behavior with things he enjoys, like playing games together or extra quiet reading time with mommy. 
     Added to these new, more visual tools, I have given myself a new "Mommy Mantra" to follow and say to myself when things start to get out of control.
         1. Have patience mommy, he is just a sweet little boy with special needs and right now his need is you,
             his mommy.
         2. Understand mommy, because he is too young to understand his own special needs.
         3. Teach him mommy, use this opportunity to teach him the right way to handle situations.
         4. Believe mommy, believe in yourself, never second guess your ability to be a good parent,
             believe in him, he will overcome every tough spot life puts in his way, he just needs someone who
             will never stop believing in him.
         5. Love him mommy, unconditionally, the same way he loves you.

I guess if I needed to add a number 6 it would have to be: Dirt and mud is our friend mommy, puddles are a dream come true, and rain is just wet. It all comes out in the wash so if "Mud Day" seems best, even if its the fourth day in a row, it's ok, at the end of the day it will just be a ring around the tub and some water down the drain.

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