Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Summertime, and the living is...not so hard

Yes, I wouldn't call the living easy, but it's closer to easy than it usually is with Janey.  Here's an account of a typical day this summer with Janey....

8 am ...  Wake up.  Janey has shown that left to make her our schedule, as I pretty much do with my kids in the summer, she is a night owl.  She's been staying up late and wanting to wake up late.  Actually, thinking about it, 8 am is not that late, but in our family of mainly larks, it is.  

8-9 am  Get ready for summer school.  I tell Janey it's a school day as soon as she wakes up, along with any other vital information about the day.  The problem with that is that she's always ready to move on to the next part of the day, so if it's a school day, she wants to be out waiting for the bus.  I delay her as long as possible, but we always wind up waiting for the bus long before it actually comes at 9.  Some days, there's screaming and arm biting as she gets tired of waiting but it's too late to go back in, but most days, it's been okay.  I sing some special bus waiting songs, mostly songs from Oklahoma, which for some reason I've sung each summer as we waited for the summer school bus.  I comment on each car or truck or bus that goes by, using my excited voice, which tends to keep Janey happy.  And then the bus arrives, and she hops on quite readily, to head off to the black hole of summer school.

9-3  I call it the black hole of summer school as I have little idea what she does there.  Her teacher does write now and then, and I know there's ABA and going in the sprinklers and breakfast and lunch, but of course Janey tells me nothing about her day, not a word.  That is a tough part of having a minimally verbal child.  Her life when not with me is a blank to me.  However, she seems happy!  I do dishes and laundry, and garden and play Scrabble on Facebook and try to make myself clean, and usually sneak in a nap.

3-4  The Waiting For Daddy Hour   Tony goes into work very early in the summer, so he can get home around 4.  Janey knows EXACTLY when he should be home.  I don't know if she can tell time somehow, or is just a very good judge of how long time chunks are.  But every day, about 3:45, she asks to "go see Daddy", which means walk down the street to meet Daddy coming home from the train.  If Daddy is late, or takes the train that comes in a different place, it's not very pretty.

4-6   This is Janey's favorite time of the day.  It's when Daddy does one of three things with her, sometimes all three.  He takes her for a ride in the car, a ride to nowhere, just cruising around and listening to mix CDs he has made for her.  She's become a huge fan of The Animals and The Monkees, and it's mostly those they listen to, with a few other songs thrown in---some Black Sabbath, some Beach Boys.  If they aren't riding in the car, they are cooking together.  Janey's favorite is "soup", which means kale or collard greens fried in oil and topped with hot sauce.  The third activity is a fire in a little fire pit Tony got.  We of course watch her extremely closely during this activity, but she adores looking at the fire.

6-9 (or whenever) This is video or TV time, combined with YouTube and iPad time, with occasional snack time or brother time thrown in.  Janey is in love especially with one movie this summer "The Little Mermaid 2:  Return to the Sea"  I am not sure what the appeal of it is, but we know it by heart.  There's also a lot of Word World and some Little Bear thrown in.

9 TV unplugged time, bed time.  We have to unplug the TV, as when Janey gets tired, she gets dissatisfied with shows after about a minute.  Most of the shows she likes are on Amazon Prime, which we have to use a password for, as otherwise, Janey can and has bought shows that aren't included in our membership.  So we are called upon to enter the password every time she gets tired fo a show, even if she just wants to watch a different episode of the same show.  We do let Janey have the iPad in bed.  It doesn't keep her awake, as once she's ready to sleep, she sleeps, instantly.  There is no drowsy period with her---she's wide awake or fast asleep.  Some nights, she's up until 10 or 11, but I'd say 9:30 is a good average.
So....we are hanging in there.  I left out a lot of times that there is screaming or arm biting, not just to make the days look better, but because these episodes are far shorter than usual lately.  We can edit them out of our days because I'd say the longest they have lasted all summer is half an hour in a row, which in the scheme of things, is very short.

I think we've been catering to Janey, to how she likes things, more than other summers.  I am sure this has to do with her time in the hospital.  We needed to keep her fed and keep her calm there, and once she first came home, at all costs.  It was a life or death matter, and I am not overstating things to say that.  And I think we realized, after doing that for a while, that we were all happier if Janey was happier.  We don't bother as much to say no to the little stuff.  If Janey needs a ride, if Janey wants to wait for the bus early, if Janey desires 5 viewings in a row of Little Mermaid 2, who cares?  If we are creating a monster...well, we aren't.  We are creating a happy girl, and one who because she is happy is making us happy.  We've done more family drives and had more of those spontaneous little good times than in years this summer.  I'm going to write more about some thoughts about what I'd call a new approach to life with Janey, but for now, I'm going to go meet her bus, cut up cheese into thin slices while she watches, the only way she likes cheese, put on a show and then change it if she needs it, and walk to meet Daddy.  And I'm glad to do it.

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