It started with the car ride, and the music in the car. Earlier this summer, we were going crazy with Janey's constant need to have us switch songs. We would hear about 10 seconds of a song, and she'd say "Music, please! Music!" which meant she wanted us to go to the next song. We decided to gradually stand our ground on a few songs here and there, just calmly saying "I really like this one! I'm going to listen to it!" Then after that song was done, we'd switch as much as she wanted to for a while more. It was surprising how quickly she got used to listening to songs that weren't her total choice, and actually liking some of them. On this ride, I played a song list of songs from the early 80s, my high school era, and Janey seems to like that era too. She rocked out a lot and I was very happy!
|Janey at the Whole Foods|
I told Janey before we went in that she could pick out some salami. That's her biggest treat, the extremely expensive salami rack at the Whole Paycheck. She picked out some very thinly sliced kind that I think if you stuffed it all in, you could eat in one bite, at a cost much closer to ten dollars than five, but a promise is a promise. And I realized she totally understands now that you have to pay and get out of the store before you eat. We used to wait until the very end of the trip to get her treat, and then if Tony and I were both shopping, we'd buy hers separately and go right out for her to eat it, but she happily this time dropped it in the cart and didn't mention it while we shopped.
As we walked the aisles, Janey started singing "Oh Susanna" I love to hear her sing, and she wasn't at all loud, just tuneful. And we got looks, but not really stares. Or maybe I'm made progress too, and I don't see things as stares. We got a lot of smiles, and I felt proud of Janey. I'm almost always proud of Janey inside, but this was a different kind of proud, a feeling like "Sure, she's different, but she's also so cool, so pretty, so interesting, just a neat kid" I was on a bit of a high, just thinking how wonderful it was to be walking the store with so few worries about Janey.
We checked out, Janey still being patient, went out to the car, and I asked her if she wanted the salami in the car. She said no, so I put it with the rest in the trunk. On the way home, she asked for salami about three times, but each time, when I reminded her we'd have it at home and that it was in the trunk, she accepted the answer calmly. We got home, and she ate her salami in about two seconds flat.
|Janey's reserved look, like at the Five Guys|
It's been a long summer. And a hugely hot and humid summer, a lot of the time. But for the first summer in a while without summer school, seeing Janey the last few days, I do think there's been progress, behavioral progress especially. It's a wonderful feeling, seeing that.
School starts two weeks from today. I'm still keeping close tabs on that special day. But I don't feel desperate or close to breaking, as I've felt some summers. My Janey is growing up, and our journey together, to mutual understanding and compromise and acceptance, is marching on along with the years.