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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dennis the Menace was a slacker

I'm compelled to write about Janey's afternoon yesterday, partly just because I dearly hope someday I'll be able to look back on it and laugh, and find it hard to believe it even happened. Now is too soon. About fifty years too soon, I think.

As I picked Janey up from school yesterday, I got a report on her day from her special ed teacher. I love hearing these reports, as her teacher is so wonderful and also has a great sense of humor. It's great hearing about Janey's day, even when, as it was yesterday, it's a mixed report. Janey didn't feel like sharing the iPad, and slapped her friend she was supposed to be sharing with. She didn't feel like concentrating on her work, and had to stay in for part of recess, which made her very, very angry. I could just picture her, and we both were feeling happy that Janey understood what was happening and reacted with the reaction a lot of first graders would have. She also did a lot of good talking, and said a complete long sentence about wanting to make a ladybug in speech therapy.

On the way home, I talked to her about her day, as I try to do every day, although it's a one sided conversation. I went over how we don't slap people, how I was glad she was talking a lot, all that. In the rear view mirror I could see Janey looked a bit surprised I knew about the less great parts of her day---another age appropriate reaction I remember well from the boys!

Then...we got home. And started what can only be called the HOUR FROM HELL.

First, I tried to have us play outside a bit before going in. The weather has been great lately. Usually, Janey loves to be outside, but for some reason, she wanted to go in. I insisted we stay outside for a few minutes. As I was admiring my daffodills, with Janey feet away, she decided to take off her clothes and play in dirt. Well played, Janey---she figured out that would get her inside fast. So we went in, and I started a bath for her. She entertained herself while the water was running by slamming down the toilet seat repeatedly. I got her into the bath, and she quick as a wink grabbed some shampoo and poured it almost all into the water, to make bubbles. I moved all the shampoo and conditioner out of reach, and got the bath done.

Then, I thought we'd play a little iPad, and practice sharing. But Janey thought instead she'd grab a bottle of soda and practice pouring into a small glass. As I rushed over, the glass overflowed and Janey delightedly poured soda all over the floor. A huge sticky mess ensured. I put her in time out (which I doubted does a bit of good, but she'll usually stay there and it gives me time to clean up). Luckily she didn't get much on herself, so I decided against a second bath for the moment.

Then---the fateful phone call. As she was in time out, I looked for the phone (anyone who calls us knows we can never find the phones, a result of having to always be where Janey is, and walking around the house while we talk). I blame myself, really, for thinking I deserved the luxury of talking to whoever might be calling. At that point I would have chatted with a bill collector for some adult conversation. I yelled over to Freddy to keep an eye on Janey, and he said he would. We both must have let down our guard for a minute, thinking she was still sitting in time out. But she wasn't. When Freddy got up to check on her, literally just a minute later, I heard a scream from him "JANEY! JANEY! I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS!" I ran to the kitchen, where she was, and where she had decided to open a new jar of peanut butter, which I had left in her reach thinking she couldn't get it open (I barely can open jars lately), or open the inner seal, both of which she had done, and then had quickly grabbed a handful or two of the stuff, completely covered her chest and face and hair with it, and was getting started on spreading it over the kitchen. At that fateful moment, Tony walked in, coming home from work, to a scene I'm sure is burnt in his mind. At first, he thought an even more upsetting "diaper incident" had occured. I can see why. I led Janey to the bathtub, trying my darnest to keep her from touching anything. I gave her a second bath. And learned something new---you can't wash off peanut butter very easily. It takes scrubbing. It doesn't come out of hair until you've shampooed it about three times. It was a long bath, made longer by tears, not Janey's (she who can cry for an afternoon over nothing was not shedding a single tear) but mine. Tony and Freddy worked on cleaning the kitchen.

And that, my friends, was an hour in my life.

I'm trying to analyze it. Why? I can't think this was all just impulse, although I might be wrong. I think Janey was acting out, at least to some extent. She was probably annoyed I talked to her about school, annoyed to be home (she loves school) and also had had a bit of a thinking breakthrough---I can be naughty on purpose. It makes all kinds of wild things happen.

I have no idea where to go from here. Except little things---never assume she can't open soda or peanut butter. Although we literally try to ALWAYS have someone watching her (not just casually, but literally with their eyes on her), she's getting quicker, and we don't have that nice 30 second window any more.

How is this going to be possible? Should we stop sleeping, as there's always that possibility she will wake up when we are asleep? What the hell are we going to do? Where do we go from here?

1 comment:

Fab said...

Oh Suzy this sounds like a very stressful day. I'm so sorry. I wonder too, was it connected to her day at school even? Perhaps it was just an extreme sensory need? Dirt, peanut butter, water..And just as I'm writing this, maybe it was connected in that she needed that sensory stuff? I know it gets to be too much trying to figure these things all out. Just a thought I had. You write so well, I love your blog. {{{HUGS}}}