(Originally written January30th, 2011) I wrote the first draft of this blog, two weeks ago. I had forgotten about writing this and even the experience we had just two weeks ago. Life has been so moment to moment for me lately. I have had a particularly challenging week and so my own blog has helped me to gain insight and perspective. Here is the post:
I had a successful moment last night, so I thought I would share it.
Many months ago (I can’t even remember when I did this, might be over a year ago), I sat down with my older two children individually and asked them what their goals were (in words they understood, one is now 13 and the other 8). and wrote down what they wanted to work on and made a plan as well as looking at the week.
It was the best connection I had with my 8-year-old (or she might have been 7 at the time, to date with our “home/unschool journey”. She had many ideas and talked about what she wanted to do. I wrote it down and we even got books on animals at the library like she wanted and started a notebook for her like she asked for. I think we met again one more time but then life got in the way…
Her issues snowballed into full-blown OCD last spring and my youngest became more active as he got closer to two years….
Then I hurt my back on New Year’s eve and pain sure brings perspective.
I was “out of it” for 2 weeks, at home but taking 600 mg of ibuprofen every day (and I almost never take pain medication) and laying down most of the time because standing and sitting were too painful. I had a lot of thinking time. Once I felt better, I really wanted to sit down with each child and look at our week. For the past 4 months or so, I’ve been working nearly every weekend, usually Sat and Sun and so when I get home, I am tired and we eat and then it’s time to start a bedtime routine.
So I seized the opportunity before I went back to work and sat down with each child again on a Sunday. My husband and I talked some first, looking at our calendars, something we used to do often but has not been doing for way too long despite both of us bringing it up saying we wanted to. And then I went in the basement with my 13-year-old.
He opened up and shared his frustrations. Something he has not had much of a chance to do but has needed to with how the past year has been with me watching a toddler and caring for my 8-year-old daughter who has OCD. And I wrote some of what we talked about as far as a plan of our days and what he wanted to work on. And after about a half-hour, my toddler needed mommy and she came down with us but we were able to continue talking for a bit longer.
And then I had time with my daughter while she played solitaire. I think she needed that to help her concentrate and keep the OCD thoughts at bay. And it was good. Now, this is after me bringing up this idea just before dinner and her getting mad and resisting all my ideas, saying she wanted to play cards. Despite my efforts to point out how this has been helpful to both her and us in the past, she resisted and kept interrupting me. I got mad, but appropriately expressed it! (big for me) I let her know how I felt and why I was upset and how important I felt this was for all of us. So after we talked, she was doing the best she has in a while!!!!!!!!
So despite her initial resistance, I needed to stay strong but kind and calm and keep on and in the long run(as in that same day), it helped her! And I saw it that evening….she was talking on and on as we got ready for bed and playing with her younger brother. a sure sign of how well she was doing, with the OCD, she gets stuck and is in this angry, stuck place where she resists getting ready for bed and needs to wash her hands but doesn’t want to, but has too….and on and on and on… So this was huge, to see her talking and talking like she used to and happy! And I looked at my husband and despite his desire for quiet time in the evening, I said just enough, to keep him from stopping her from her enthusiasm and loud playfulness. She also showed her little sister how to brush her teeth. Another good sign, is that she usually freaks out if she comes in the bathroom with her when she is brushing her teeth.
We now really know, we can not “hush” her when we want quiet, because it can hush her spirit, and that is not good. As I type this and think about this, it was just last night, it feels like a miracle with all we have been through. Sure she still can’t sit down and her list of things she can not touch grows and grows, but, she had fun with her brother in the evening and jabbered on in her old self, happy-go-lucky full of imagination, Abby self that we have missed so much over the past year with her tormented soul going through OCD.