Yesterday a few things happened that made me feel encouraged, and I thought I'd write about them, since I don't want to have the reputation of the most depressing blog there is! Mostly I just have that reputation with my son Freddy, who has started reading this and whose main critique is that I am too downbeat (and also made typos sometimes).
One of them was only encouraging in retrospect. The boys were going to a friend's house for a sleepover birthday party. The friend's mother is a close friend of mine, and I decided we'd all take the ride to drop them off, and I could get a little time in with the friend. Janey was in a good mood, and she was excited to be going in the care with everyone. She was dancing around and said "We can go! We can go!" which is a line from The Cat in the Hat. About half way through the half hour ride, though, she got upset. We were on the highway and stuck a little, but I don't know if that was it. She started crying, then screaming. Then totally breaking down, Janey style. By the time we got there, she was in full screaming hysterically mode. It was like last spring all over again. I tried to stay a minute or two, but no-one could even hear themselves talk, and it was distressing to everyone to see Janey that way. We gave up, said goodbye to the boys and went home.
So what was encouraging? It was that I knew I could handle it. I knew I could calm Janey down in time, and so did Tony. We both felt relief once we were in the car. We knew the tricks that would get her under control---we knew that once we had her out of the situation that was upsetting her, she would be okay. She screamed all the way home, but in the middle of the crying stopped now and then to say what she wanted "I need snuggle on Mama's bed! I need water with ice! I need a straw box!" We both told her we would be home soon and she could have all those things, and her crying was different---it was a crying because she was upset she wasn't home yet, but not a crying that seemed desperate and never-ending. And when we got home, it took her a few minutes to calm down, but she did. We snuggled, she had her water and juice, all was okay.
It felt a bit like a turning point to me. Neither Tony or I got the feeling we used to get, the feeling that this was simply not possible to handle. We were troubled by the crying, but not overwhelmed. We knew that we could handle it. It's a little triumph, but I'll take it.
The other little step was during the day, when Janey was at school. Tony and I were walking around the upscale outdoor mall near us, in the great weather. We can't actually buy much there, but it's fun to play rich people for a while and look around. We went into the fancy toy store, where even basics cost twice as much as they would at your everyday ToysRus. I was poking around, and realized I was seeing many things I thought Janey would enjoy. Even a short time ago, I would go to a toy store and get depressed as there would be nothing Janey would like at all. But this time, there were actually things I wish I had the money for! There were several of the stuffed cats she loves so much, by BlaBla. They were $35, which is beyond what I am willing to pay for a stuffed toy, but she loves the 3 I bought at a store closing sale long ago. We have been playing with them non-stop--mainly it's me singing to them and giving them "here we go to Boston" rides on my lap, while she watched, but she loves it. I saw some square big magnets I thought she's have fun with, some playground balls that she'd like, a few toys meant for babies but that she'd have sensory fun with---it felt nice. It made me see she has made some baby steps lately. She is reaching out a tiny bit from herself.