This had to be the longest week ever! It started out fun but slowly became frustrating. Out of the five-day school week the kids went to school one day. Now, I am normally that parent that loves it when school is out. I really like the laziness of the day and the time with the Jake and Allie. But this week tested my patience. When the kid’s school districts closed school on Friday I was instantly tired and to be honest not too happy.
Last Sunday John went to Nashville for work. Allie, Jake and I went to Nathan and Kara’s house for a family get-together. I was a little nervous about going to Nathan’s as they have a really big dog and there were going to be lots of adults. I knew it would be a crap shoot; never knowing how Jake will do. I found myself playing out different scenarios in my head before I let it go. The worst thing that would happen is we would leave earlier than we wanted. Jake was super excited go to see his brother and soon to be sister-in-law. Jake was a little tense going in the front door. He heard a lot of voices and I could feel his heartbeat quicken. The unknown was scaring him. I picked him up and got him inside and he was fine after about 10 minutes. The dog, Jax, scared Jake at first but because we recently got a new dog ourselves he quickly became okay with this sweet dog that was nearly as tall as him. Jake lasted about an hour and half; which is what I had hoped for. Overall Jake seemed to have a good time and behaved.
Monday came and we were hit with a lot of ice. Schools were closed. It was a great day with the exception of Jake coming down with a nasty cold. But because he didn’t feel well Allie, Jake and I laid around most of the day staying warm.
Tuesday, another ice day. Jake was feeling a tad bit better and starting to test the boundaries. He didn’t want to go outside, he didn’t want to listen. He really wanted to do the opposite of what I asked him to do.
Wednesday, another ice day. Jake woke up feeling defiant and ready to test me at every turn. He didn’t like the outcome of his obstinate behavior but I warned him. I believe this day his iPad, Leap Pad and computer all had time outs. Time outs don’t really work for Jake. Almost always he goes right back to the behavior that sent him to time out. But put one of his favorite toys in time out; that will get him listening for sure!
Thursday both Allie and Jake went to school. I think I did a little happy dance 🙂 Jake didn’t have such a great day. He had a tantrum that led to a meltdown that lead to a phone call from his special needs teacher. The best part of this day was that John came home from his trip!
We wake up Friday morning to yet another “snow” day. I was not excited about this at all!! Jake spent a good part of the day throwing tantrums, melting down, his favorite toys went to time out and by noon he told me he needed a nap! Thank GOD!!! Seriously, I was never so happy that he wanted to take a nap. He actually went to sleep, something he never does unless he is sick.
Saturday more of the same behaviors. I am not sure if he just doesn’t care or doesn’t understand or doesn’t think I will stick to what I say I am going to do. I am pretty sure he understands. I think he really wants to test me to see what will truly happen. It is almost like a game. I tell him don’t sit on the desk, he looks at me then sits on the desk. I walk over to him and take his iPad and it goes to time out. Jake screams and pitches a fit. I have him sit with me on the couch under his weighted blanket. He calms a little. Next thing I know he goes back to the desk and attempts to sit on it again. I feel like he is going through the terrible twos; again!
Jake has sensory processing disorder and much of the time this plays a huge role in his behaviors. If his body isn’t regulated he has a hard time following directions. I am not making excuses for Jake’s behaviors, please don’t get me wrong here but it does help me to understand better why he does certain things.
For instance, if Jake wakes up being defiant and I see him struggling like I have this week. I give him a deep pressure massage, turn down the lights and let him listen to a classical music CD (QuickShift) that helps regulate his sensory issues. After all of this you can see his body relaxing. You can see the focus coming back into his eyes and then he can make better choices. I don’t always jump to these techniques first. Sometimes I let the behavior play out and then I resort to the strategies listed above. I try this tactic to see if I can get him to regulate on his own. But more times than not he needs extra help to wake up his senses, so to speak. On school days I start with the massages and let him listen to his “music” in hopes that it will help him while at school.
At times it is hard to know or see the difference from bad behavior or sensory related behaviors. But for the most part I can tell. Jake has found his voice and has realized that he can use it to say “no”. He has become aware that he doesn’t have to do whatever I ask him and he can run from me, drop to the floor and cry. He tests the limits almost daily. It is a struggle. But those times where I know and I can see he can’t help it; that is when it hurts. He has told me in the past that he can’t stop. He has come to me and asked me to massage him or he has requested his weighted blanket so he can calm down. We both are slowly figuring all of this out. Jake is slowly getting to that place where he can tell me when he needs help.
This past week will be one I won’t forget for a while and that’s okay. I can look back and see what I did wrong and what I did right. As I’ve said before…we are all constantly learning.
Proverbs 1:5 “Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance” (NLT)