Just now, Janey did something she's hardly ever been able to do---calmed herself down (with a little help). She had just been at the grocery store with Tony, and had seen a cake she wanted. Tony didn't mind getting it, but in the bustle, forgot to. At home, Janey asked for the cake, and of course there was no cake. She had been in a wonderful mood all day, but fell apart at the cake news---I guess she really had quite a craving. She screamed and cried and looked to be in sadness/hysteria mode. I went over to her, put my hands on her shoulders and asked her to take a deep breath, and said if she could calm down and ask nicely, Tony would go back and get the cake (he believes very heavily on following through on promises to kids, and he had told her at the store she could have it). Janey took a minute, looked at me, and said in a controlled voice "Do you want to get a cake?", her usual means of asking for things. We gave her a big hug, got on her shoes, and they are now off to get the cake.
It made me realize there is progress. It's slow, it's back and forth, it's inconsistent, but it's progress. Her getting upset is no longer always the sure sentence to hours of hell it used to be. It often still is, but not always. It's a combination---we are figuring her out and she is figuring us and herself out. And we'll have some cake to celebrate.