Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Progress!

I'm trying to keep this ball rolling so here goes my second post in a week after a long hiatus.  I had such a positive response from so many people after my last post and for any of you that took the time to say or write something to me, you have no idea the impact of your comments.  I still oftentimes think this is just something for me to do to help myself and don't always truly believe that other people have an interest in what I have to say so it's very reassuring to me to know that you do.

It's getting to be a very rough time of year.  I'm worn down from the stresses of work and the lack of motivation I deal with on a daily basis and Tom's busy season at work is kicking into gear.  Add to that the fact that we aren't out of sick season yet (Zoey was home with Tom both Monday and Tuesday) and that our everyday lives with Tera already tend to be on the challenging side and suffice it to say, June is looking pretty good right now.  

Our weekly schedule is as follows: On Mondays Tera and Zoey both have speech therapy, Wednesdays are swim for Tera, Thursdays were dance for Tera (she just finished last week), Fridays Tera has behavior therapy and every other Friday Tom plays hockey, then Saturdays and Sundays are grocery shopping, errands, working around nap time, home projects, laundry, and preparing for the next week.  That's when we aren't dealing with an illness otherwise we also add in one to two doctor's appointments, three to four nebulizer treatments a day, worse sleep than usual, and a constant worry that another hospital visit will unexpectedly end up in our plans.  

We also try to incorporate therapy strategies and general good parenting in there when we can.  Things like giving the girls nightly responsibilities (putting plates in the sink after dinner and cleaning up toys), limiting screen time, baths, outside time when weather permits, and trying not to get discouraged about Tera's ongoing potty training are just a few things.  Some weeks we feel like rock star parents that really nailed those chore charts and not caving on screen time.  Other weeks we're so completely exhausted we're ready to let the kids eat pizza and macaroni and cheese and watch Doc McStuffins until their brains actually ooze out of their ears.


It's so hard for me, and this goes for many teachers, parents, and parent/teachers, to be the best in every hat I wear.  I realized around five years ago, and then again even more so around a year and a half ago, that I just can't be the best teacher and best mom at the same time.  My students need a lot of encouragement and support, I have a child with Down Syndrome, and another child that is a former 28 week preemie with a compromised immune system and compromised lungs.  I'm also a wife with an incredibly supportive husband and in order for our marriage to survive all this chaos, we need time with just each other.  And because of all of this, I usually feel like I'm failing someone or multiple someones.   

But today, I found success! If you recall, one week ago I made my big return to blogging as a result of a very traumatic (for me) swim lesson for Tera.  To say I was nervous about tonight is an understatement.  I knew something had to change, but I wasn't sure what.  Then this morning it occurred to me that she's been experiencing success with a visual schedule during her ST/OT sessions.  So after school before I picked her up, I made up what I hoped would be a visual list of expectations of Tera from our time of arrival at swim lessons until we left.  Here's what it looked like.
Before we got out of the car to go in, I showed Tera the schedule and we talked about each item.  We talked about it as we walked in, I let her hold it as she got changed, and we talked about it as we walked to her lane for her lesson.  The way her swim school is set up is there is a glass wall that separates the pool area from the seating area.  So I sat right in front of her lane, right up to the glass, and held the schedule so she could see it anytime she turned around to look at me.  When she did a great job not throwing her goggles or performing a skill well, I gave her a big smile and thumbs up.  When she turned around to look at me after splashing, I shook my head no and she stopped by holding her hands together.  After wards she got out of the pool with very little resistance and while the showering wasn't perfect, it was far better than last week.  She got changed with no issues, went potty again, got her promised lollipop, and we were out.  I was so incredibly proud of her.

The skills still weren't quite there, but as you can imagine with any kid, and has always been the case with Tera, we have to get the behavior component figured out first before any real learning can occur.  The tricky part is of course figuring out what that behavior component has to entail first.  At least now I have something we can work with and the biggest plus? I'm not in tears tonight! Which is really super since I have to be at parent teacher conferences tomorrow night from 6:30 to 8:30... 
What better way to kick off the playoffs??

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