Today was “back to school Monday” after five days off from school for the holiday. The girls had the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off, so it was a nice long holiday. They were, of course, thrilled. The problem was being so close in calendar time to the week they had off from the freak October snow storm that knocked our power out for a whole week ie. too much time off.
That translates to “Gracie having anxiety nearly the entire five days off about having to go back to school on Monday.” We used every distraction technique available including the joyous fact that it was her birthday on Sunday. Of course that brings anxieties all its own, but my baby turned nine this weekend!
I’m quite proud of her for how she handled herself all week, but her anxiety was high the whole time. She had trouble falling asleep and awoke early rather than sleeping in as she likes to do with sleep disturbances in between. She regularly cried about not wanting to go back to school since she lost track of time. She handled herself really well when we went out visiting family, but we knew to keep her out of stores thanks to the mad rush of “Black Friday Weekend.”
Last night was the hardest night we’ve had in a long time. She simply lost all control and didn’t know what she wanted. She was contrary just because she could be. It was an impulse. It was opposite night. I figured if I said:
“Its time for bed”
and she screamed and gasped:
“NO! NO! I HATE YOU! I WILL FROW! SCHOOL! UP! SIDE! DOWN! I! NOT! TIRED!”
then clearly she meant to say:
“Yes, mother, you are indeed correct. I’m over-tired and desperately need my beauty rest. I would be thrilled to pieces if you would aid me in helping me on my way to restful slumber.”
…in spite of the body thrashing, kicking, tears, wailing, beating of the breast, curses to die the burning death of a thousand fiery suns, and warbled shrieks.
In the middle of a pause for breath, I whispered in her ear that I would give her joint compressions and body brushing on her arms and legs if she would calm down enough to go upstairs and lay herself down on my bed. In choking sobs, she shouted “NO!” and yet she gathered herself together enough to go upstairs and then she dug around in my purse for her body brushing brush without my having to ask.
Every joint except hips, shoulders, and above the shoulders. Brushed her arms and legs downward, evenly, with equal number of strokes and in the exact same spots on both sides. Everything was symmetrical. Body brushing was done twice. Compressions are only ever done once at at time.
By the time I reached her knees for compressions she said:
“That… hurts… but… gooooood.”
By the time I finished brushing her, she was jelly and her eyes were rolling and ready for sleep. She was so drowsy she looked drunk.
This … above bacon, above chocolate, above chamomile tea and chocolate peppermint soymilk… is my magic bullet. She started the compression/brushing routine almost resignedly, but knowing it would make her feel better. She slept soundly last night, soundly and solidly. It didn’t make it easier to get her up this morning, but oh, it was a wonderful way to end her birthday. I let her fall asleep on my bed like that, so I could look at her beautiful China doll features. So peaceful.
Then I wondered why it took me so long to remember that particular tool in my parenting tool kit and how well it usually works. Never underestimate the power of joint compressions and body brushing in a child with a Sensory Disorder and Autism.
- …And Then It Was About Chocolate (littlefallofrain.wordpress.com)