Friday, August 2, 2013

Small Triumphs

I won't lie---the last week has been a tough one.  Janey has been crying a great deal, and has starting with the biting of her arm again, and added a new fun one in---scratching herself badly.  I cut her nails short, and at summertime school, they are keeping a jacket on her all the time for the arm biting (they have AC) but the crying---it's tough.  We really don't know what's up.  It's probably just one of those swings Janey has at times---a bad few weeks, a good few weeks, a great few weeks, a hellish few weeks---and we are never sure why.

But today, there were a few small triumphs, in the middle of a day of screaming and crying.

The first was a good library trip.  Last time at the library, which I wrote about, Janey had a fit.  Today, after picking her up at school, I told her right away we were going to the library, but I was going to just get books at the desk this time, no walking into the stacks.  I also told her if she could be a good girl in the library, we'd get a treat at the CVS, whatever she wanted (the CVS is next to the library).  Janey cried most of the way to the library, so I wasn't hopeful.  But once we got in there, she truly held it together and didn't cry at all, and stayed with me and was perfect.  So off to the CVS we went.  I was thinking that one nice thing about Janey vs. "normal" 8 year olds is that I CAN tell her she can get whatever she wants at the store, because she won't decide that what she wants is all the toys, or a hugely expensive odd thing like an "as seen on TV" wonder knife or something.  She walked right in to the store to the area where the chips are, and for the first time I remember, didn't immediately grab the thing she wanted.  She stood and looked at all the chips for quite a while, and then picked a bag of sour cream and onion ones.  I felt like she really understood the whole deal---the behaving at the library, the treat and even the picking out of the treat.  It felt nice.

When we got home, I had some packing of books I'd sold that I very much needed to do.  I put on The Goofy Movie for Janey, her current favorite, but after watching it a bit, I turned to see she was out of sight.  I was in the middle of taping something, and actually finished the taping---a risky 20 seconds or so---and then went to find Janey.  I found her in the bathroom, and I started looking right away for her usual mischief---toilet paper all over, toothpaste squeezed out, her trying to take a bath with clothes on---but inside, she saw she was wiping herself, after very, very successfully using the big girl potty for what sometimes becomes a huge mess.  I was thrilled.  She has never used the big potty for that on her own before---we've caught her about to go a few times and taken her there, but this was all her.  She got a big high five (after hand washing).

Even though most every moment not described here consisted of crying, I decided to take a risk and go to the post office with her, as I had things that very much needed mailing.  I told her that if she could be good at the post office, we'd get a doughnut.  That was probably too much for today.  She cried most of the time at the post office, even though it was very quick there and the clerk knows her well and was very sweet to her.  When we got out, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said "David Donald Do?  Dreamed a dozen donuts and a duck dog too?"  which is a quote from Dr. Seuss's ABCs.  I got her the doughnut, mostly for understanding what she was supposed to be doing and what the reward was, which is a step forward.

I have been trying, in one of my many tries at a new way of thinking or a new strategy, to see the crying as just a background thing---not something that has to be fixed or dealt with right away.  A few times today, I told Janey to try hard to calm down, and then walked away to give her a minute or two to do so.  That goes against so much of what is my instinct, but it seemed like she was trying.  I praised her a lot for even a minute of non-crying.

Maybe I'm able to see the good in today because it's the weekend, Tony is home for a few days to help, and Janey is going to the respite house for 6 hours tomorrow.  I'm going to keep trying to pick out the good from even the tougher days.

1 comment:

Julie Vasku said...

Dear Susanne, it's amazing! It reminds me of our psychologist, who told me that in her experience the alteration of "bad" a "good" times is often associated with eventual improvement and that deterioration of behavior in autists is sometimes associated with a greater developmental jump (such as that the child understands something he/she wasn't able to understand before...):-) I mean that there is deterioration before greater improvement (at least with my daughter it is really like that)... I am so happy to read that Janey was so great today:-) this is a huge success, really, Julie