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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Summer Summary

If I had to use one word to describe this summer with Janey, I'd have to say "uneventful".  Not much happened.  We did very little.  There weren't many huge ups or downs.  And I guess that is mostly good, but of course, as always, I still feel like I failed somehow.  I had big plans to take Janey places this summer, to keep her busy, to plan out our days.  I should really know better, by this point.  I'm not a summer person, and to be fair to myself, it was close to the hottest summer ever in Boston, with much horrible humidity.  On the very bad days that way, and there were lots of them, I felt accomplished if we left the house and the AC at all.  But still...

What DID we do?  Freddy was home all summer, and that was great.  Most every day, we did do a walk to the nearby 7-11, the "ice cream store" as Janey calls it.  And about twice a week, we got lunch out at either Five Guys or Chipotle.  Once a week or so, we went to Whole Foods and shopped.  I had Janey help me water the garden every few days, and that turned into some fun spraying water around.  We "snuggled on Mama's bed", Janey's term for lying together on what is actually her bed, not mine, and me singing to her, reciting nursery rhymes, reading or just cuddling.  And Janey watched TV, plenty of TV. She had a lot of showers, sometimes several a day, which she loves.  In the evenings most nights, she had a car ride with Daddy. That was the summer.

Janey awaits the bus
Most of the time, Janey was fairly happy.  When she got upset, it was almost always because I couldn't do what she wanted right away, because I said she needed to wait a minute for snuggling or a shower or a walk.  That turned into one of my summer projects, getting Janey to understand and honor "wait a minute!"  I would praise her heavily for being patient for even tiny amounts of time, and I started gradually asking her to wait a minute even if I could do something right away, and by a minute, I mean a minute, or sometimes less.  I think she made a little progress with patience.

I had thoughts of working a lot on her "talker", her AAC apps.  I put three on her new iPad, but she almost always chose Proloquo2Go over the other two, including TouchChat, which is the one they use at school.  However, as I've seen in the past, Janey did NOT want me teaching her, or demonstrating for her, or basically touching the apps at all.  I honored this, because I want her to like the apps, and she does.  She often chooses to use them instead of watching YouTube Kids, her usual favorite iPad thing.  She doesn't use them for conventional conversation, but rather sort of play around with, which is fine---it's how you start learning to talk, but I wish she would communicate with them, I do admit.  Generally she'll pick two words and hit one after the other, like "play" and "read" or "happy" and "silly", and will push them in turn over and over and over and over, for up to half an hour.  She seems to delight in this.  I think she loves how it makes having a word be said an easy thing to do.  But when I tried to get her to say what she was feeling, for example, when she was screaming, she'd either push away the iPad or would always pick "happy", as if she wanted to tell me what she thought I wanted to hear.

Janey's verbal talking sometimes improves after being at home and not in school for vacations or other longer time periods.  That didn't happen this summer.  In fact, by the end of the summer, her talking was at one of its lows.  She has been saying very little at all.  As the summer wore on, more and more, she wanted to snuggle, and to have me next to her, with us looking at each other, without talking.  It seemed to make her happy, but it's a pretty passive activity, and I must admit I get bored of it after a while.

I think Janey was excited to go to school this morning.  I will say freely I was excited to have a day with her at school, where I know she is loved and cared for, and where there is a lot of things going on.  I don't regret skipping summer school this year, though.  I think Janey needed that break.  We'll try summer school again next summer, but if she needs another summer off in the future, we'll that.

I hope you all had a good summer, and I hope school is off to a good start!  Much love to all of you and to your girls (or boys!)

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