This morning it’s very clear that the vacation “routine” (or lack thereof) is getting to Gracie. She’s overly sensitive, agitated, moody, grumpy, argumentative, bouncy, and flappy.
It’s always difficult for her when she’s out of the school routine even though she would almost always rather be home. This time is more difficult because I’ve been sick since the middle of the night on Christmas. At least it waited, right?
She’s testing her sisters’ patience this morning, so they’re going back and forth between having some fun at her expense and trying to teach her life lessons. In the life lessons they go back and forth between taking a hard tack and being gentle. No matter the angle they take, they get the same result: screeches and shouting and nothing for their efforts.
Anneliese finally simply said, “Gracie when we make you mad no matter what even when we aren’t trying you just have to ignore us.”
Gracie: “No I do not.”
Anna: “Gracie, you just have to learn to ignore us.”
Gracie, clearly disgusted and incredulous: “That is not something you can ‘just LEARN!’ You can not ‘learn’ to ignore! That is hard!”
Anna: “I don’t know what to tell you. You just have to.”
Now the trick will be getting her to allow me to get her to do some sensory activities. She hasn’t been receptive so far. I got a kick in a shins and a swat toward the face for my efforts several minutes ago.
It’s time to go re-teach the sisters that when their sister is on the verge of a meltdown, you back away. It’s the whole Burning Building comparison. If a building is on fire, would you run into it? No? Well, when your sister has days like this she’s a burning building. Move away from the burning building. You likely won’t teach her anything, because it will just burn up. Wait until the fire is out and it’s been rebuilt. And she stops using the very literal, “Wwaah” to get across the point that she’s upset and to start her wailing.
I probably should have said, “It’s time to go rescue the sisters…” and I said, “re-teach” instead ha ha. It’s because they really are so good about teaching her. They’re wondering teachers for her, and she pays exceptional attention to them. Most of the time they actually can calm her down without using sensory tools. She doesn’t want to be upset with them, and she doesn’t want to hurt them. When things like this morning happen she comes away from it feeling like a bad sister. In fact, yesterday she accidentally-on-purpose-but-really-accidentally ruined something Anna had set up. It could easily be redone with some patience, but the look of hurt and annoyance on Anna’s face made it clear to Gracie that she had done something wrong even though Anna told her that it was all right.
Gracie: “I feel like I must be a bad sister.”
Anna: “No, Gracie, you’re not.”
Gracie: “I feel like I must be always doing the bad thing. I am a bad sister.”
Anna: “No, Gracie, you’re not.”
Gracie: “But… I feel like I always hurting my sister! I not acting like loving my sister!”
Anna: “Gracie, I know you love me. I love you.”
Mom: “Awww, girls, why don’t you hug and make up?”
Anna: “Mommy, I’m just not ready to hug Gracie yet. She did upset me. Gracie, you need to help me fix this.”
Gracie, sniffling: “Okay.”
- Gracie Feels Better (littlefallofrain.wordpress.com)