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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What to do, what to do...

I mean the title in two ways. First, summer school will be over Friday. I need to keep Janey busy and out of trouble for about a month until school starts. Literally, I need to figure out what to do with her, how to keep her happy and give her a good summer while also staying sane and keeping her safe. The options are fairly limited, and part of that is the other "what to do"---how Janey has been stepping up her game in terms of being naughty. I had a good talk with her great summer school teacher and great ABA specialist this morning. I told them about my tough night with Janey (more on that later) and they told me about some of her antics at school. The big one is the playground there. They sometimes go to a bigger playground down the street, but sometimes to the smaller school one. Janey likes the bigger one, and when they go to the smaller one, she is constantly on alert for ways to try to sneak out and go to the bigger one. The other day, she was watching the gate, and waited until it was opened by a teacher, looked around and saw that the figures of authority were across the playground, and made a run for it. She didn't make it, as they, like us, are always, always on alert for Janey, but they noticed how she is getting better at planning and more determined to get her way.

At home, it's a battle without end to keep her from destroying the house. The worst time for me is the time between when we get home from school and when Tony gets home, especially days the boys aren't here. That's about 2 hours, from 3-5. Last night, it felt like 200 hours or 2000. Janey had several goals. She wanted to get the Febreeze down from the top of the fridge and spray it around, she wanted to have some pepperoni, she wanted to run water in the bathroom sink until it overflowed, she wanted to throw crackers on the ground. Literally every time I was more than a few feet from her, she did something toward her goals---pushed a chair over to try to climb and get the Febreeze, worked on figuring out how to open our new fridge belt to look for pepperoni (which we were out of), run to the bathroom and turn on the water full blast, ask me for crackers, promise to eat them nicely, then toss them everywhere, and when told to pick them up, pretend to pick them up while actually stomping on all of them. I was at my wit's end.

And I truly don't know what to do to stop all this. I go down my list of ideas. Time out is useless, although I still try it. Yelling does less than no good. I try to "identify the antecedent" which is the behavioral approach, and it's pretty easy to identify---she wants what she wants. It's often a sensory thing, and I try hard to give her alternatives. The house is full of sensory toys, at one point yesterday I gave her a bath to let her play with water, she is always welcome to play outside in the wading pool, we have spray bottles with water I let her use in the kitchen or bathroom---but she doesn't accept substitutes. She doesn't care if I don't want her doing what she is doing. That makes little to no difference to her.

And taking her places, like playgrounds or splash parks, is terrifying. She does not stay with me. She runs, and I am increasingly unable to run as fast as she can. I have asthma, and I am 46 and not in Olympic shape. She is almost 8 and very, very strong and athletic. I can't pick her up any more.

I feel like I'm writing this post too often. But it's all that's on my mind lately. I do hope this stage passes. Meanwhile, I have a month to fill up. Somehow.

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