Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

Wash Hands and Keep Calm


I don’t encourage panic or fear regardless of the topic.  I don’t encourage listening to rumors or extremisms in media hype.  I don’t encourage “research” through propaganda sites because they will never, ever have the truth, about anything.

I encourage learning about the topic from unbiased sources because while it might sound trite, I believe that knowledge is power.

BUT EBOLA!

Well… I’m much more concerned about Strep throat, Laryngitis, Bronchitis, Shingles, Measles, Whooping Cough, and Influenza.  I’m far more likely to get any of those.

My children and I are far more likely to come into contact with the Enterovirus, which is actively killing children and adults in multiple countries because it presents as a cold at first.  But it’s causing paralysis.  Difficulties breathing to the point of not breathing.  The CDC says that

“because it is a respiratory illness, the virus can be found in an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. EV-D68 likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches a surface that is then touched by others.”

That means that direct contact is not needed.  All you have to do is go shopping, to a movie, a restaurant, church, school, work, a baby shower, a wedding reception, and anywhere else there are people interacting.

There is no treatment.  No protocol.  Nice, right?

At least with Ebola there’s a strict protocol.  It’s highly infectious, after all, and I’m not ignoring that.

The 2014 in West Africa’s Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea has killed more than 4,000 people; and since it has a 50% mortality rate there, maybe higher, double the number of people who have had it and survived.  It is not a death sentence.  Perhaps in West Africa it’s close to a death sentence, but not here in the United States where we have better medical facilities and research facilities and healthcare workers.

Strike that.We HAVE medical facilities, research facilities, and healthcare workers.

Have you seen photos of the so-called hospitals in Liberia? Tents have to serve as clinics and hospitals.

And we send the healthcare workers there, but there are so many people there who aren’t educated about Ebola.  We just sent our military over there a couple of weeks ago to West Africa.  Did you know that? Do you know why? To build hospitals.  If I recall correctly, to build seven hospitals because they don’t have any.  Well… this is what they call hospitals there, which people are afraid to go to (I’ve read) because they feel that they have a higher likelihood of dying if they seek treatment in them:

Found on Huffington Post

Redemption Hospital in Liberia; Found on Huffington Post

Close family members and medical personnel in direct, frequent contact with a very sick, progressed person that has Ebola is at risk.  That’s why over 200 medical staff over the world, mostly in West Africa, have died from Ebola themselves.

But for most people, my own research consistently say that you can’t easily contract Ebola.  It doesn’t hang out in the body for months, incubating and waiting to pounce when you least expect it.  It can’t be transmitted by insects.  You can’t get it simply by sitting next to someone who isn’t visibly sick anywhere in public because an exchange of bodily fluids has to occur.  Getting coughed on? Unlikely to infect anyone.

It CAN BE contained due to the nature of the disease, but the reason it’s such a problem in West Africa right now; they’re unable to contain it due to poor health facilities, poor general knowledge of prevention, non-sterile conditions, frequent contact between contagious individuals with lots of bodily fluids touching non-sick individuals, and people that are sick refusing to go attempt to get care because they believe it will kill them.  There was even a news report that one woman who was actively sick and showing signs of contagion, a self-proclaimed healer, was going village to village infecting people by telling them she could heal their sick but was actually actively spreading the illness.  Perhaps that was one of those stories that’s now myth, but the concept is likely: a person that’s infected doesn’t isolate themselves, doesn’t seek treatment, and goes around to infect others while contagious and showing symptoms while gooey.

The other diseases I’ve mentioned? They can’t be contained here in the U.S because of the nature of the diseases.  Some can be vaccinated against, luckily, but with the current anti-vaxx movement thanks to Vaccine Denialists the U.S. is becoming a germ pit.

But I digress.

I don’t worry about contracting Ebola, and I let my children know that.  I let them know that it’s a very serious disease, just like other serious diseases, but that it’s unlikely they’ll be in a situation where they would be in direct contact with someone who is contagious with Ebola.  No fear.  Do not feed the fear.  I let them know when I’m concerned about something, but I won’t feed the fear.

While I worry more about the other diseases like Enterovirus, I instruct the girls to do as we always do: wash your hands.  Don’t touch your face without washing your hands.  Don’t share utensils.  Don’t lick surfaces.  ;-)  Don’t use water fountains.  Don’t sit near someone who is gooey, spewing, hacking, drooling from the mouth or nose, blowing into tissues frequently that isn’t tossing those tissues and not washing hands.  Don’t shake hands at church (it’s not being unfriendly, you can still offer peace be with you).

Without feeding the fears, you can be conscientious and thoughtful about your family and the community you and your family live and work and play in.  Because while you think you need to get to work, you don’t have the right to infect your coworkers, customers, clients, consumers, or anyone else.  If your children are sick and have had vomiting, fever, or diarrhea don’t you dare send them to school until they have been free of those things for 24 hours without the aid of medications.  You don’t have the right to send your child to school to infect other people’s children and their families, forcing them to have to take sick days, especially children whose immune systems may be compromised.  You don’t have the right to infect school staff, bus drivers, or anyone else.  If that happens, take responsibility.

Be conscientious.  Be a good citizen AND be a good parent.  Don’t risk a relapse by sending your child to school too soon because you couldn’t take an “extra” sick day.  You risk having to take several additional sick days by forcing a relapse.  If that happens, take responsibility.

I think this infographic is great for trying to avoid the common cold and other respiratory illnesses.  My favorite bit of advice is “stay home when you’re sick.”

Enterovirus Prevention Found on the CDC.gov

Enterovirus Prevention
Found on the CDC.gov

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WARNING: To teen or adult autistic individuals, I’d like to take care in warning you that this blog entry could be triggering to you.  I personally will not discuss ABA in detail because due to how our doctor referred us and who we were referred to, we chose not to pursue ABA therapies for our daughter.  That means I can’t speak to this from personal experience from a parenting standpoint nor on behalf of my daughter.  However, the link titled “ABA” will be discussing ABA therapies in some detail, so if you feel it will trigger trauma for you, please consider refraining from clicking the “ABA – Unstrange Mind link.

This link I’m about to share from Unstrange Mind by Sparrow Rose is probably one of the best and most comprehensive laymen’s explanations of why ABA therapy in its original intended form is, at best, misguided and at worst terribly abusive.  It also explains the difference between “different types of ABA” considering that in order to get an appropriately non-abusive therapy covered it must be classified as ABA for insurance purposes.

Most importantly, it explains to every loving, caring parent who takes their child to ABA and might fear that they’re being accused of abusing their child by allowing abuse through ABA what to look for in the therapist and the therapy their child is attending.  It talks about intent in bringing their children to ABA.

“ABA” | Unstrange Mind (click here).

This blog entry is a gift and ought to be read by every self-proclaimed Autism specialist, advocate, pediatrician, ABA therapist, teacher, special educator, parent, Autism advocacy agency, and anyone else whose lives might ever be touched by Autism or ABA.

This is so important.  When adult autistics speak, please listen.

 

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White Tiger; this beautiful image courtesy of Harry Tan Photography on WordPress

I haven’t written about The Tiger in quite a while.  I’m sure that it shows up in my writing on occasion, especially in my more passionate posts.  I’m not writing it now because I’m depressed, but I have been more anxious than usual lately.  When my anxiety increases and doesn’t show signs of abating then I know that the risk of depression is much higher.  I feel it creeping up on me, actually, and having been thinking about it a lot so it’s probably touching me more than I think.

Sleeping at the foot of my bed.

Depression and Anxiety Disorders are Federally recognized as disabilities, as they should be.  They can be debilitating.  I’m one of the lucky ones getting treatment, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have challenging times in spite of the treatment.  Talk therapy and medication are both wonderful tools and the tools learned during therapy are helpful too, but they’re not a cure.

Depression and Anxiety Disorders are biologically based so I’ll say it again: there is no cure.

That means that in spite of my best efforts I may be able to keep The Tiger in its cage.  Most of the time it’s not in the cage, if I’m honest.  The Tiger might hang out around its cage, content to eat the morsels I toss it to keep it at bay.  With its hot breath and piercing, uncomfortable stare, making me feel like I’m always trying to catch my breath, I feel like it’s sitting on chest.  Sometimes it seems to think it’s a lap cat, and it makes itself comfortable curling up in my lap…. heavy, making itself comfortable and expecting to be petted and given the occasional scratch on the head and under the neck.  The anxiety you feel is prickly, catching in my throat, because I know that if I don’t rub and scratch The Tiger quite the right way it can turn on you in an instant with open claws and all teeth.

The Tiger might swipe in warning with claws retracted; I get knocked off my feet with my breath knocked out of my chest.

The Tiger might swipe in annoyance with claws out; I get a nasty gash in my belly from one claw, feeling as if my guts are falling out for all to see, feelings and emotions pouring out in a gooey, oozing mess for all to see.  I get a cross cut with the other claw in my vocal chords so that I can’t call for help; I’m left in a wrecked mess trying to recover in the best way I can until I feel capable enough to move on my own and ask for help.  The whole time, The Tiger is watching and in its own way is trying to help, but it’s keeping me down.  It’s licking my wounds, adding infection while it holds me down with its enormous soft paws.

It’s just a matter of time before I can wriggle enough to get close to the phone or push the The Tiger away to let someone else take its place.  Each and every time no matter what happens to ME, The Tiger comes out of it without a scratch.  She may have to lick some blood off of her claws and lick her lips, but the scratches and damage are all mine.  Occasionally someone else gets pulled in and gets scratched too.  I hate it when that happens.

The Tiger sleeps at my feet, purring deeply in its chest, one eye occasionally opening to check and make sure I’m still there.

I’m still there.

I’ve been having ongoing conversations with other people about how individuals who, even if they live with someone that has a Depressive and/or Anxiety Disorder, really can’t come from a point of view of Knowing or having full Understanding.

That doesn’t mean that there can’t be compassion, sympathy, or a level of understanding.  It doesn’t mean that we think you just don’t get it and resent us, logically speaking.

Emotionally and illogically perhaps, we fear that you do resent us.  We fear that the level of compassion and understanding we need isn’t present.  We fear that sympathy will dissipate, especially when what we really need is empathy.

It’s really hard to explain what it feels like and what the experience is like in the midst of a bout with depression.  I want you to understand that Depressive Disorders don’t look the way you think they look.  There’s a stereotypical portrayal of depression which is inaccurate, and which I think is really a portrayal of The Blues.  And is really more (d)epression than (D)epression.  The same can be said for (a)nxiety and (A)nxiety.  They can be equally difficult, but one can be “shaken off” and dealt with using all of those happy tips and food boosters and sunshine, and the other can’t.  The other is a process and has a biological, neurological basis.

We sometimes have triggers for depression and anxiety but sometimes we don’t.  Sometimes it’s situational and sometimes it isn’t.  I know that’s hard to understand.  I know that when someone tells you that they’re feeling depressed, you might not understand “why” because you see them smile, laugh, and you know that they’re happy.

The thing is, they … we… ARE happy.  We usually have a good life and we know it.  We may have a few problems or a lot; we might have a laid back life and personality or maybe not.  There are certainly times I feel more laid back than at others, and I try to appear laid back even when I don’t feel like it.  I usually feel like I’m failing at that.

We probably appear to do everything “right” in our lives because so very often we’re perfectionists.  After all, many of us who have Anxiety and Depressive Disorders will have additional diagnoses such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Agoraphobia.  We often appear to have everything; a loving spouse, great children, a great job, great friends, a loving extended family, general good health.  We look happy because we ARE happy.  Even in the middle of a Depressive episode we can smile and be happy and mean it.  We can enjoy ourselves.  It’s not quite the same as when we’re not in an episode, but we can feel it.  Things might be more hollow, more flat, or they might be more intense and hyper-sensitive.

Depression and Anxiety aren’t about our current state of happiness.  We feel everything, more or less intensely.  Anger, sadness, happiness, empathy, sympathy, joy, compassion, everything.  We can still be affected heavily by Depression and Anxiety even when we appreciate absolutely every single good thing we have in our lives because it’s not about appreciation.  It’s disordered thinking that we can’t control or snap out of.  Self-esteem, self-worth, self-view are all distorted.  We might appear more selfish, but we really are trapped in an inability to recognize the cycle.  We don’t see ourselves appropriately emotionally or even physically.  We can swing from one extreme emotion to another.  We can be full of contradictions.  We could be looking right into a mirror and our physical image often matches our current attitude of self-worth and our self-worth is often based in how we perceive, correctly or not, how others perceive us.  And we may or may not care what others think of us.  We are full of contradictions.

It’s a see-saw from hell.

It’s a vicious cycle, really.

You just can’t choose to shake it off.  You can’t just expect someone to get over it.  No amount of sunshine, exercise, vitamins, veggies, sleep, forced smiles, forced social interaction, herbs, spices, and wishful thinking can bring someone with a Depressive Disorder out of an episode.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a short episode or a long one.  All you can do is let it run its course and let that person know that you’re there without judgment.  You can’t shame someone out of an episode… in fact you will probably make it worse.  Just like if you try to fat-shame someone, chances are you’re harming that person’s self-image worse than it is and you’re not telling them anything they don’t already know; in fact you’re pushing them away from you and any desire to work toward weight loss goals.  Weight issues and Depression and Anxiety are very closely related.  Weight  issues, whether someone is over-weight or under-weight, are very often tied to Depression and Anxiety but also to physical illnesses you know nothing about… but will still trigger episodes of Depression and Anxiety.

Vicious.

It’s that heavy, breathing animal.  That Tiger waiting to sink her teeth into something hot or cold, it doesn’t matter.  She’s always there.  Breathing hot, moist, predatory breath on the back of your neck.  She’s so close you think you can hear her eyes blink and her fur rustling as she adjusts her haunches.  We feel like prey.  We feel alone.  We feel fear.  We feel everything intensely and at the same time, we’re trying to ignore it all and push it away.

We’re trying to ignore it, because if we acknowledge the Tiger, she might attack full force instead of simply injuring us.  And she doesn’t really need a reason to injure us to begin with.  She doesn’t need a reason to attack.  She’s a predator and she doesn’t need a reason for anything at all.

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Hey God, It’s Me… Jessica


Hey God, it’s me Jessica.
Thank you, for being there for me in the past and present and letting me cry on your shoulders. I think it’s pretty cool that you, the Creator of  Everything, would take time to listen to my prayers and complaints and my woes.  You know I do my best to give you thanks and props when things go well.

As it so happens, I have a couple of really Big Deal issues today.

You see, God, there are things happening around me right now that I don’t understand and I sort of feel in-over-my-head on. Some of these things make me feel weak, helpless and afraid and very unsure of myself. There are people I’m supposed to help and I’m afraid to fail them.  If I mess things up this time it will be very difficult to come back from it and it won’t just be bad for me… I’d be messing up someone else’s life in a Big Way.  That’s Too Big.  Yet… there are people relying on me.  They think I know what to do.

Even in the midst of this, I know that you can help and get us through these situations. I know that it’s in Your hands, and I trust You; I just don’t always trust myself. I would appreciate if you could help me out with strength and wisdom and some knowledge too, in order to get through these various situations for these various people and be able to handle them in a way that would make you happy and help the people I’m intended to help.

Thanks so much, God. I love you.

Catch you later,

Amen.

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microwave dangerWe packed up the baby factory years ago.  My youngest is 9 years old going on 40.  I’m turning 40 next month.  Well… 30 with ten years experience.  Seeing babies and pregnant women often makes me want to have more of my own.  I miss the newborn and infant stages… all of the littleness stages.The practicality of it is obvious, I suppose, but the emotions of it aren’t gone so I need a new rundown of why it’s probably good that we’re done having babies.

  1. I’m not a spring chicken
  2. We can come and go from the house without having to pack up lots and lots of gear
  3. The children are mostly self-sufficient and independent
  4. I wouldn’t have to deal with morning sickness that lasts 24/7
  5. We don’t have to think up cutesy ways of telling people that “we” are pregnant
  6. We don’t have to decide if we want to wait or find out the sex of a baby and then answer endless questions about it
  7. I won’t have to hear old wives tales about how I’m carrying, eating, looking
  8. No more diaper changing or spit up unless I’m babysitting for someone else
  9. I won’t have to answer personal questions about pregnancy or jokes about how I got that way
  10. We don’t need to see people’s facial expressions when they hear name considerations that they dislike
  11. We don’t need to worry about agreeing on a name together for a brand new human
  12. We won’t have to rearrange bedrooms for a crib
  13. We won’t have to tip-toe around nap times or worry about getting a baby used to a noisy house
  14. We won’t have to answer questions on what style of parenting we’re going to use
  15. I won’t have to take 6 weeks maternity leave from work and then get so emotional that I have to quit my job to stay home because I just can’t leave my baby
  16. I can look at other pregnant women and feel a little jealous or envious, but the feeling passes
  17. I don’t have to argue for or against natural birth or epidurals or c-sections or hospital birth or home birth or magic wands
  18. I don’t have to share my opinion on “push presents”
  19. I can hold other babies and spend time with toddlers, but I get to go home with my own daughters
  20. I get to keep being the cool auntie to new babies
  21. I don’t have to worry about SIDS unless a newborn is sleeping over my house
  22. I baby-talk at the cats
  23. Toilet training is over
  24. We no longer watch Blue’s Clues and Dora the Explorer on endless loops
  25. I can no longer remember all of the names of each Wiggle
  26. I don’t have to worry about whether I have to defend breastfeeding or bottle feeding
  27. I don’t have to worry about whether I have to defend cloth diapering or disposable diapering
  28. Regarding 17, 18, 26 and 27… I don’t mind my brain to mouth filter quite as much as I used to in my old-ish age
  29. I really need the coffee and pregnancy would hinder that, and more children would increase my need for it
  30. I have a chronic pain disorder and let’s face it, pregnancy would exacerbate my Fibromyalgia
  31. Babies are expensive
  32. We would need all new baby gear and clothes
  33. We really need a new dishwasher
  34. And a new heater
  35. And a new hot water boiler
  36. We could also use some new windows
  37. Maybe some curtains too
  38. I’d also love a new living room set
  39. We also need to get the girls some new bedroom furniture
  40. And I really enjoy being able to get my hair done every few months
  41. We also enjoy buying groceries
  42. And affording coffee
  43. My memory is not what it used to be, and a new baby could end up on the middle school bus while my middle schooler is happily sleeping in a crib
  44. I need far more sleep than a newborn would give me
  45. Or a toddler for that matter
  46. I recently had a dream that I was still in high school and left my baby in the gymnasium because the bell rang and it was lunch time but when I went back the baby was gone
  47. My daughters are perfectly happy with our family dynamic
  48. My husband is perfectly happy with our family dynamic
  49. I’m pretty sure the cats are somewhat, sort of, maybe happy with our family dynamic
  50. My daughters are old enough to do chores and a new baby isn’t
  51. I threw away all of my old maternity clothes
  52. It would be really difficult pushing a stroller and using my cane at the same time
  53. Kitty litter is bad for pregnant women and babies
  54. The microwave oven at my work place… just saying
  55. I have already achieved perfection in the three daughters that I have

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Happy Friday [I forgot where I got this image, sorry... I just googled for Lemonade Happy Friday, although I know it's not lemonade ;-)  ]

Happy Friday [I forgot where I got this image, sorry... I just googled for "Lemonade Happy Friday" although I know it's not lemonade ;-) ]

This morning, Sweet Girl had an apple for breakfast and while munching on that apple she sat on the couch with me and watched the Today Show with me… and she was just so happy.  Since she didn’t have to get up as the asscrack of dawn (aka 6:30) for extended school year bus, she got up at 7:30 with me.  Gracie had me all to herself and she took advantage of it, snuggled up next to me on the couch.

She talked my ear off.  Yes, yes she did.  Because there was no one except Daisy the cat to listen in and interrupt and tell her she was wrong, stupid, to stop talking, to interject with something or other behaving jealously…

She just had Mommy all to herself.

She talked mostly about getting her own android so that she can show me all of the talking she won’t do on it and all of the apps and texting she will do on it.

She wants my phone when I turn it in for an upgrade.

I had to explain that when I turn it in for an upgrade, it will be considered an Old Lady phone and so decrepit it will be useless.  I wait until my phones are useless, with the exception of my last phone when I gave it to my eldest so she could have one when she started middle school.

She tried her darnedest to convince me to get her a cell phone and why she deserves one over her little sister.  You’ll note by the length of the rest of our conversation that it’s about much, much more than the cell phone.  It’s about sisterly relationships.  She must have been ruminating on this for quite some time and trying to figure out how to introduce her problem with her little sister in a way that Mommy would finally Get It.

“But you will give me your phone.”

“No, honey, we talked about this.  A lot.  My phone will be broken when I upgrade.”

“I am old enough.  Anna is not old enough.  I am starting 6th grade.  Anna is not responsible.”

“I already let you use my phone when you want to at home.  What happens during the school day with cell phones?”

“Electronics are NOT ALLOWED.  I would get in trouble if I use electronics.  I would use a Chromebook.  I do not want to get in trouble.  Chromebooks are for school.”

“You’re right.”

“Yes, because it is against the rules to use your electronics in class.  The teacher will TAKE IT” quick swipe of her arms through the air “AWAY!!!”

“I think you’re right.”

“I know.  Do I get your phone when you get a new one?” with a squeal.

“Not yet.  It won’t happen for a while.”

She paused here, and her face darkened.

“What’s wrong, Sweet Girl?”

“Anna thinks she is the boss of me.  She thinks she can tell me what to do.  She thinks she knows everything.”

“Like what? Tell me.”

“She is always saying I will get hurt and, um, she yells and it hurts my ears.”

“Do you get hurt if you don’t listen to her?”

“I… sometimes.”

“Do you want to know a secret about Anna?”

PENSIVE FACE WITH FURROWED BROW… she’s preparing to hear something she doesn’t like.

“Your little sister loves you with her whole heart.  She loves you more than anyone else in the world.  That means that if she thinks you’re not safe she’s going to try to protect you.”

“Hmm.” nods

“And do you want to know why it seems like she thinks she knows more than you?”

“Hmm.” glances at me

“It’s because she remembers some things better than you do sometimes; she remembers how things work a little bit better or that doing something a certain way might get you hurt.  She doesn’t want that to happen.  Right?”

“Hmm.” scowls but nods

“What she wants is to take care of you.  She enjoys that.  She likes to know that you’re safe and happy.  She doesn’t think you’re a little baby or a little kid that she has to take care of.  She just wants to make sure that her big sister doesn’t get hurt and that she’s happy.  Does that make sense?”

“Hmm.”

“She doesn’t like to fight with you.  She hates to fight with you.  It hurts her feelings when you fight.”

“She thinks she is more grown up.  She is not more responsible, I am more responsible.  I am older.  I am going in a middle school.”

“You are definitely learning to be responsible.  You’ve been helping around the house a lot more lately.  You help me when we go shopping together.  You did a great job with the grocery list yesterday.”

“Yes, I did.”

“I think you’re both learning and growing up, and I think your little sister is trying to help you grow up so that you can do it together.”

“She is bossy.  She tells me what to do.”

“Well, do you think that maybe sometimes you tell her what to do too?”

PAUSE

“I think that she’s trying to show you how to do things safely, and you know how she likes things to be ‘just right’ but you know what else? She also wants to do things WITH you so that you’re not alone.”

“Yes.”

“And you know, she just thinks about things in a different way than you do.  Your little sister’s brain works a little differently than your does so she doesn’t always understand what you’re thinking.”

“Yes, yes.”

“It might sound bossy if she thinks that she has to talk more loudly so that you’ll pay attention.  Do you understand?”

“Hmm.”  BIG PAUSE “Juliana is bossy.”

“Well… um… but she’s your big sister and you’re supposed to think she’s bossy.  She’s a leader too.  And not for nothing, honey, but when Mommy and Daddy aren’t here, she’s the boss.”

“Mom, did you hide your Kindle?”

“No honey, it’s plugged in.  Did you want to read today?”

“I don’t know.”

 

 

Oh my gosh, I love this girl.  Dear God, I love my daughters.  Love, love, love.

 

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My Sweet Girl doesn’t like talking on the phone.  Clarifying:  the boring land line which all you can do with is talk on it; the android, which you could speak into in order to have conversations except for the fact that she hates doing that.  She doesn’t like pleasantries, conversations of a fun or serious nature, and doesn’t “get” what’s so great about the entire vocalizing conversations thing.

She much prefers my android and the fun things the phone actually does.  Youtube, Kindle books, Angry Birds.  She looks forward to having her own one day so that she can have Youtube, Kindle books, and Angry Birds and text all of the friends and family that she doesn’t want to speak with.

During the second PPT of the school year I asked her team to build into the social therapies “telephone speaking skills.”  At 11 years old she doesn’t know, or care to know, how to make a phone call on the house phone or the android (or even her dad’s basic phone).  She doesn’t know, or care to know, how to answer any of the phones.  She does know how to view a text I’ve received.  She knows how to open any app that interests her.  She knows how to open up Chrome and do an internet search for My Little Ponies and Frozen and Angel Cat Sugar.  She knows how to do all of these things on my Kindle too.

I wasn’t sure how the social therapy regarding the phone skills was working because she’s still resistant to using the phone, and although I encourage her to take calls that come in for her, I don’t force her to do more than listen to the other person and be polite.  I also don’t force her to make a phone call, although I will have her listen to me make a phone call and watch what I do.  Her response every time is,

“I do not like the phone. I do not… know.”

I get it.  I do.  She has nonverbal learning disorder, and she has some anxiety regarding phone usage because, I’m guessing, telephone conversations generally don’t have an easily identifiable script.  There isn’t an expected beginning, middle, or end.  People say and ask unexpected things and since it’s not face to face, responding more quickly (as opposed to taking some time to respond) feels more urgent and anxiety inducing.

It’s ok.  But it’s still important that she knows how to do these things.  I want her to know how in case she NEEDS to make a call or respond to a call.  Emergencies could happen.  She needs to know emergency contact numbers too, but that’s been a very long difficult lesson that worries her.  We usually have a medical alert bracelet for her with ICE info on it, but the last one broke so it’s time to get a new one.  It helped her feel secure.

So you can imagine my surprise when my youngest princess called me today (as requested) with a grocery list I asked her to help me with.  I asked her if the Sweet Girl had helped make the list, offered suggestions, or anything.  She said no and then forced her sister on the phone.

I fully expected Sweet Girl to drop the phone and walk away.  She didn’t.  She didn’t because with forceful determination, my youngest daughter told her to speak up and tell Mom what she wanted for groceries.  I said “Hello” and asked her what she’d like when I went shopping after work.

Suddenly…

“Ummm… yes.  Tomato.”

“Ok. Tomato… sauce?”

“Yes.  But red soup.  Gramma calls it red soup.  It is red.”

“Great idea!”

“Mmm hmmm, yes.  Sauce.  Your sauce is better.  You need enough.”

“I need enough cans to make sauce AND soup?”

“Yes, you do.”

“Good idea.  What’s next?”

“I need hummus chips.  They are healthy.  I do not like hummus.  Hummus chips are good.”

“Uh, yeah.”

“I need black bean chips.  I do not like black beans.  I do not like texture.  Black bean hummus chips are good.”

“On the list.  Thanks, honey.”

“Chocolate pretzels… uhhh… Special K.  They have the chocolate pretzels I like.”

“Ok, thank you.  Anything else?”

“Yes. Apples.  Strawberries are good.  I do not like bananas.  Anna and Daddy like bananas, I do not like them.  You should buy them.”

“Great, I almost forgot those on the list.”

“Mmm hmmm, yes.  My pretzels, the ones I like.”

“Mustard?”

“Yes, mustard pretzels.”

“Well, should we get veggies? I think those would be healthy.”

“Yes, get veggies.”

I fully expected her to remind me that she doesn’t eat veggies or meat, only fruit and carbs and cheese, so this surprised me.  :-)

“Oh! Well what veggies would you like?”

“Rhubarb.  I miss rhu…rhubarb.  I like cauliflower.  You have to get cheesy, um, the giant one.”

“Sure! We did run out of the cauliflower.”

“We ran out of rhubarb.  Last summer.”

“That too, I hope I can find it.”

“Hmmm, yes.  You should get my fruit bars.  They are frozen.  I like strawberry.  I like lemon.  I want coconut.”

“But the coconut has milk in it.”

“Yes, you say that.  I like strawberry.”

“Do you miss yogurt?”

“I like yogurt.  Get one with chocolate.”

“You’re such a big help on this list honey.”

“Yes.  I need allergy medicine.  And nut clust… clusters.  I runned out of Lactaid.  I need chocolate Chex.”

“We ran out of a lot.  Are you hungry?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you think the list is done?”

…..

…..

“Hi Mommy, Gracie just dropped the phone.”

 

Oh! My! Gosh! That girl kept me on the phone for 15 minutes! I complimented her when I got home from grocery shopping, and made sure she saw the healthy foods she added to the list.  She may not eat the majority of the food she PUT on that list, but she created a grocery list! Over the phone! For 15 minutes!

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