Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Art of Distraction

Today was crazy busy.

Sebastian has been wonderful today. He has been doing what I ask with little argument & has been working very well with his siblings. Tonight at dinner he got up from his chair, went over to Willow & told her he wanted to tell her a secret. As he whispered into her ear, she smiled & giggled. Then he went back to his seat & ate his dinner. How sweet is that! I wonder what he told her.

Willow understands so much. I can ask her to do just about anything. Even if she doesn't completely understand she will still try to figure it out. She learns quickly! She imitates us physically & verbally all the time! My most valuable tool to use with her is the art of distraction. She goes from one activity, person, toy to the next within seconds. I can't predict where she will go or what she will do, but it isn't hard for me to predict what her emotions will be. When I know she is going to get upset I distract her with something completely different than what she is focused on. And it works most of the time, because she forgets that she was getting ready to have a fit. However, there's no doubt in my mind that she will catch onto my trick very soon. She's a smart one. Judah hit her a few times today & she did not cry. She didn't react at all, but I comforted her regardless. Obviously that's not something we want her to be getting used to. With the hitting I can usually predict as well, unless I'm too far away, then I usually can't stop it before it starts. Today we drove by McDonald's and Judah kept saying, "Look! Chip!" This meant that he wanted French fries. He can't have fries due to his constipation issues, so of course I couldn't stop. I reached back & held his hand & danced it around to the music, making silly noises. Sebastian joined in and before I knew it they were laughing! I guarantee he would have hit Sebastian, probably more than once, if I had just kept driving and done nothing. Distraction is one of the most useful keys I have when it comes to my children.

Judah arrived home on the bus over 45 minutes late today. His teacher called me after I had been waiting about 20 minutes. She said the driver was late & made it sound like Judah would be home soon. She said that Judah was very upset about the bus not being there on time & that they had spent a lot of time calming him down. She also told me that Judah's pants (which were actually now shorts) would be wet because he went down a wet slide, which they were. She did NOT tell me that he would be in a summer outfit on a freezing rainy day wearing no socks & tennis shoes that were so soaked I could wring them out. His little feet were wet & freezing! Why didn't they call me to bring in warmer clothes other than the ones that were in his bag? Why was the outfit I sent him to school in soaking wet inside a plastic bag in his backpack? Was he out in the rain without his raincoat? Why didn't she mention any of this on the phone? Did they think we wouldn't notice? I have no idea what happened today! It is so upsetting. I depend on the staff there to take care of him - he can't do those things on his own.

This morning when I went into his classroom the teacher did not motivate him to find his cubby & instead allowed him to hang his coat & backpack wherever he wanted. The fact that he took his coat off and hung it lets me know that he could easily learn to put it in the right place (given some consistent guidance). I tried to show him his name & photo on his cubby, but he was off & running. And at that point she should have given him his cue to go to his chair where he starts class everyday, not let him run around doing whatever looks fun. I was so disappointed that she was not starting him off with his routine, there's no excuse for that. It's very important. And she's the teacher, which means the aides likely follow her lead. Given all that happened today I feel like I need to stay through his entire class on his next school day. I talked to her about this recently and she asked me to wait a few weeks. I don't feel I can do that now. If it is not a healthy, safe environment that helps him to progress we will have to request a new classroom.

Back to the bus. I see the bus go down our street, turn around & come back again. Our street is about half a block long & our house is clearly marked with our address. He parked across the street & I went inside the bus to get Judah. Judah was not happy. I snatched him up & gave him lots of kisses. I didn't even know what to say to the driver. He immediately apologized and started talking about this & that, not making much sense but in a way letting me know that this situation was his fault. He told me he had gotten lost (not to mention he was late to work). He asked when the bus usually drops Judah and I told him, "45 minutes ago". I let him know that Judah gets very upset when his routine is disrupted like this. He annoyed me even further by asking me if the kids on the bus are the same or different each day. I told him I didn't know. It's so unnerving to know that your non-verbal 3 year old has just been roaming around town on a bus somewhere, not headed in your direction at all. It's even more unnerving to know that it's THIS GUY driving the bus. To make things even worse he tells me that he is going to "fix this problem" by asking to become a permanent driver on our route so we won't have different bus drivers all of the time. We'll be calling tomorrow to discuss these issues. Scott was probably more upset than I was. He will be the one calling. We will be calling about the classroom too. Unfortunately for Judah he won't be riding the bus anymore this year. Sebastian, Willow and I will wait for Judah to get out of class, half an hour after Sebastian. The bus system has been continuously awful this year. They have forgotten to pick up kids on more than one occasion (when they only have to pick up maybe 5 kids total!), been extremely off schedule making kids very late to school, tried to drop a kid at our house and then couldn't figure out where to take him. I can't keep putting Judah in their hands.

When Judah got home (way past lunch time), he rushed to the table to eat. It was upsetting to see. Amazingly enough, he bounced back to his normal self, probably just happy to be home. He didn't let all of the situations he had just gone through (that NEVER should have happened) get him down at all. I am very proud of him.

Judah has shown more progress today - trying to say words that he hears in music, on TV & that I say. Through his words & actions he is letting us know that he understands. Today I told him I needed him to get up from the table so I could clean it off. He got up from his chair, said "bye!", walked over to the couch and sat down. We were having lots of snuggle & play time tonight, but then it was time for bed. I gave him a kiss and hug & headed off to the bedroom to put Willow down. Normally he would try to follow me & cry & scream when he couldn't stay with me. Tonight he said, "Goodnight", walked up to Daddy & motioned for Daddy to carry him. He acknowledged that Daddy was the one who puts him to bed & that Mommy had to get Willow to sleep. Serious progress!!

The kids all made a Play-Doh racetrack on the kitchen table today. I had to remind Sebastian a few different times today to share with Judah & play with Judah. I told him that was the only way Judah was going to learn to do those things. So Judah helped Sebastian make the racetrack, he rolled out the Play-Doh and then ran his car down the track. Willow joined in as well. She attempted to eat the Play-Doh a few times. Sebastian & Willow did a wonderful job cleaning up the Play-Doh with absolutely no fussing from Sebastian.

This evening Sebastian slid into the bathroom on the wet floor & banged his ribs against the toilet. There was no cry for help. He just asked me to help him get up. Minutes later Willow slipped on the floor & banged her head on the wall. Again, no crying. She just got up & kept going! Sebastian dropped a rock about the size of my fist on the top of Judah's head today. Judah cried hard for a bit, then stopped & went right back outside to play some more with the rocks. These kids are fearless & tough!!

Judah's constipation pains are lessening, but still there. He had a big, liquid poop today that seemed to make him feel better. I had to take a poop sample from Sebastian's stool today. Yuck!! All of the kids came into the bathroom as I was doing that. None of them seemed remotely affected by the stench that was making me hold back vomit. Sebastian looked at the face I was making & asked in a very concerned manner, "Mommy what is wrong with you?" 

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