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Sunday, January 11, 2015

A better weekend, with guesses why

I've said many times that Janey's moods often seem to have no rhyme or reason.  Of course, that doesn't stop me from trying to figure them out.  I have to.  If there's any pattern, I have to try to find it.  I think I do this more with bad moods than good ones, but I'm trying to make more of an effort to figure out Janey's good moods, as after all, they are the moods I want her to have more of.  This weekend was mostly a good mood weekend.  That's not to say there weren't crying moments, or hitting moments, but overall, Janey's mood was quite good.  So...why?

I have a few theories.

One factor might have been that we made an effort to get Janey out of the house for a good period of time each day.  These weren't exciting trips.  They were shopping trips with Daddy, going to a lot of different stores, and a trip to take William back to college.  But when we told Janey she was going to go for a ride in the car, each time, she was thrilled.  She is an easily bored kid at times, and she craves being places other than here.

Another possible factor----I tried, each night and each morning, to outline what the day to come would be like.  I think one problem on the awful day from hell last Thursday was I didn't do enough to explain to Janey why she was home.  I couldn't at night---we got the call about school once she was already asleep, but I think the minute she woke up, I should have explained very clearly that she was going to be home, Daddy was going to be at work, and her brothers were home.  Many people have suggested visual schedules for Janey, and we have tried them, as they have at school, but Janey simply isn't very visual.  I have never once seen her look at a visual schedule unless I directed her to.  But anyone that knows Janey knows that she remembers everything she hears.  She might not give an indication of that, but she listens very well.  So I've started saying each night something like "Tomorrow is a school day.  You will go to school, and Daddy will go to work.  Freddy will go to school, and William is away at his college school.  You will come home, and Daddy won't be home yet.  Freddy will come home, and then Daddy will come home."  I tell it slowly and in parts, and repeat it a lot, and I think this helps Janey know what to expect.  So she knew, this weekend, that Daddy was home and she was home.

We also had sunny weather, which we haven't had much of this winter.  Janey loves the sun.  She somehow remembered a song I can't recall playing for her, Katrina and the Waves singing "Walking on Sunshine" and she sang that a lot this weekend, with a look of joy on her face.

We also, as much as possible, gave Janey a lot of concentrated attention.  For whatever reason, she is no longer much interested in TV or videos.  I'm sort of glad about that, but I admit, we got used to that being a lot of her day.  So we are needing to step up to the plate and fill in that time.  Luckily, Janey has gotten very into books lately.  This is a dream come true for me.  We spent a large part of the weekend reading.  She loved hearing "McElligot's Pool", an old Dr. Seuss book, and we read a lot of other Dr. Seuss books.  We also played toys a lot.  I put all of Janey's toys in one big huge bag, and started doing something I call The Lucky Dip---just grabbing a handful of them and playing with what I get.  This keeps us from getting too stereotyped with the play, which is good because if you do something once with a toy, that becomes for Janey what always must be done with it, and she gets upset if I change the routine.

Food, of course, also helps.  Daddy gave Janey huge amounts of food she likes, mostly in the morning, which is her preferred schedule.  The bacon, chicken, greens and pesto were flowing freely.

And, maybe, the mood stablizer is doing something.  I don't know.  It's so hard to isolate out what medication might be doing or not doing, just like it's hard to figure out if anything I've written here had anything to do with Janey's mood, or if she just somehow internally felt happier.

You will forgive me if say that I don't think the mood will last.  I can hope it will, but that is not usually the case.  I think the best we can do is try to figure out how to extend the good moods when they occur and to shorten the bad moods when they happen.  So I'd be thrilled if this mood lasts a few days into the school week, even!


Unknown said...

This is great. Age is like that too. Could be good or bad and never could figure out why or what helps. What may help before would do nothing the next time. You tend to enjoy the small stuff and just go with the flow of how she is rather then how you are. We noticed big time Age will feed off of our own emotions. If we are stressed or even angry for something, she will get angry or stressed. Half the time I spend so much work trying to make myself happier just so she doesn't feed off the stress I have from work. Anyways. Good to hear. Hope for more blog posts like this!

cee said...

I imagine that you guys don't have a lot of money laying around, and it also introduces fragile equipment to your house and I don't know how you'd get her to use it (reading while sitting in front of it?). That said: have you considered one of those seasonal affective disorder lamps? They make a big difference for some people.

Yuji said...

Hi Suzanne, I am getting caught up on all the events of the past couple months. I cannot imagine how stressful that whole experience at the hospitals must have been for you. We are starting to think that something like that may be necessary for my son one day, and so your posts were of particular interest, and a huge eye opener.

I am happy that you had a better weekend. I do think the things you mention such as getting out of the house, the weather, and giving her a lot of attention make a difference. But I also totally understand your skepticism that the good mood will last. Here's hoping...