Editor’s note: With the return to “normal” just around the corner, this contribution is a timely reminder that our kiddos from hard places may need a little extra connection to make it through the transition to 2017 unscathed.
Had a good win this morning. Our therapist recently reminded us: sleep and connection are more important than school. Sweetpea had a rough, late night. We let her sleep in. I called the school, and said we’ll be late. We were half-way dressed when she may have felt rushed or not had enough time to process my request, and she started throwing [things]. I reminded “no hurts” and put up both hands in a stop motion.
I said, “You are mad at me. (big pause) How can I help you?”
She said “go away.”
I waited in MY waiting spot just outside her door. She slammed around, broke a plate. She kept checking to see that I was there. We have learned that she needs physical space around her when she’s angry.
Eventually she wandered near, still angry, and I said my recent mantra to her, “I love you when you’re happy. I love you when you’re sad. I love you when you’re angry. I love you always.” She didn’t respond to that, but said she saw the falling snow and Christmas tree. Said she wanted to be a present, so we wrapped her up in a red blanket like a present, and let me “open my present” over and over. As I “guessed” what my gift was, I did some deep pressure on her arms and legs. I exclaimed about how she is the best present ever, and cuddled her every time.
She was still only about half way regulated, even though she was giggling. I offered to play a hand of Uno – something that gets her “back in her brain” is usually our trick to getting fully regulated. We played. We giggled. She gave me a kiss on the cheek when I hugged her. We were an hour late to school. So what? We’ll clean up the plate after school, and I will apologize for rushing her, and teach her to say, “You’re rushing me” or “I need more time.”
And I just got a first call from her at school. Her tiny voice saying, “Hi,” and asking me to tell Kitty and Bonkers (the cats) “Hi,” too.
💗 Connection before everything, y’all… She couldn’t have done anything at school today if I’d just forced the socks on and made her take her meds and strapped her angry into her car seat. All time spent connecting is worth it.💗
When have you been glad you’ve taken just a little extra time to connect?