Friday, July 17, 2015

First week of summer school

I can't begin to say how happy I was to have Janey back in school, summer school.  I hope I don't sound like the world's worst mother saying that, but boy, do I love that school bus showing up and taking her off to school land for a while.  Luckily, I think Janey feels the same way.  She was more than ready to go to school again, after a long time off.  Her school year ended abruptly in May, with a bang and a burst---appendix, that is---and she was getting bored.

Summer school this year is only 4 days a week, so Janey was home today.  I forgot to explain to her in the morning why she wasn't at school.  She got angrier all day long, after about a week of model behavior, and finally, I realized that as happens so often, she had somehow counted the days and felt she should be in school.  She of course can't express this, and I feel stupid that I don't always remember to talk to her about it, especially after how Veterans Day last year affected her.   Around two, I finally said "I know you think there should be school today.  But summertime school is only 4 days a week.  On Fridays, you will be home with Mama"  Almost right away, she calmed down.

It's times like this I wish so much that Janey could communicate more.  I wish I knew how to unlock her voice, or if it is unlockable.  Her talking ebbs and flows, but overall, it never gets better.  She talks about as well as she did at three, and not as well as she did before her regression, when she was two.  Sometimes, that just doesn't make sense to me.  I know she knows more words than she did then.  She understands so much, and shows her understanding by following complex directions.  I can say something to her like "if you want to go in the car, go get your shoes and then bring me the phone so I can call Daddy"  She'll do all that with ease, and even directions with several more steps than that.  When she is in the mood and I give her pointing vocabulary tests, where she can pick from four pictures, she knows all kinds of words like "castle", "raccoon", "padlock", "helicopter"---to name a few I can remember.  She doesn't say them, but she knows them.  And she has not much trouble pronouncing words.  So why does this never translate into more talking?

For some kids like Janey, speech apps on the iPad help.  They don't, with Janey.  She hates them, every single time I've tried them or anyone else has.   Because the iPad talking is indeed talking, the same issues come up that do with verbal talking.  She either can't form the thoughts she has into words, to enter into a keyboard or say out loud, or she doesn't want to.  It seems sometimes like every word she says costs her a great deal of money, and she wants to save her money.  But this leaves us so often with no way to know what she wants, what is upsetting her, what is making her happy, even.

On days like this, when Janey and I are alone all day with nothing to do, I try hard to sort of shadow her, to try to figure out what she likes to do.  I sat with her for a long time today as she watched TV.  She knows a little how to work the Amazon Fire TV box that lets her watch shows on streaming services, but she needs help with the passcode sometimes (which we need, or she buys shows!)  Instead of trying to get a little done in between her need to change shows, I sat with her and immediately responded to anything she wanted done.  What she wanted was to watch the beginning of a certain episode of "Word World" over and over and over.  It was one where the word friends played baseball.  I have no idea what the appeal is, but there must be something in it she likes.  Usually, I try to encourage her to view new episodes of shows she likes, or new shows.  She resists this a great deal.  There must be some reason certain episodes appeal to her so much, and it's another mystery to add to the many she presents to us.

I tried at points today to get Janey to branch out with activities, but as she gets older, she seems to have less interest in a lot of things.  She used to love to be in the wading pool, but today, despite me giving her several new pool toys and trying my damnedest, she would stay in it only for ten minutes or so.  I tried reading to her over and over---she politely closed the books.  I pulled out her toys and knocked myself out trying to get her interested, and she gently took them and put them away.  What she likes lately is two things---watching videos and going places in the car while listening to music.  That is another reason I love having her go to school.  I know she's at least doing something different there.

I'm rambling on here a bit.  It's how my mind feels lately.  I feel out of new ideas about Janey, and fairly low on energy.  Her hospitalization took a lot out of her, and us.  I think for now we are so happy to have her healthy that we have a slightly different perspective on things than we did before. We are happy to have her here with us, and we want her to have a life she enjoys.  There is so much about her we don't understand and can't control, and the older she gets, the more likely it seems she is becoming the person she is going to be for life.  We need to find a way to let her live the best life she can while we also try to live the best lives we can.  That's going to be a challenge, but we are happy to have her with us to work on that challenge.

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