Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year New Me.....

Well, it's that time of year. That time when people think of the changes they want to make in the new year, I am no different. This year I turn 30 *gasp* yes the big 3 - 0. Really the number isn't that big a deal to me, it just drives home the fact that my life needs to change. My big goal for this year and to continue for life is health. Yes of course that means losing weight, more about that a different time, but just as important is my mental and emotional health. My 20's were a rough time for me, and I vow to make my 30's great!!

So big one is that I want to live in the moment and to focus on how blessed I am. Not to let anxiety and frustrations get the best of me, not to let others' drama interfere with my peace : ) I particularly wanted to apply this in the area of the kids. The last couple of months Ella has had me at my wits end when I take her anywhere. She pushes me, with her behavior, to near tears (occasionally to tears). I get embarrassed, frustrated and begin to doubt my ability to "deal" with her. This little girl knows how to push my buttons in a big way. So I resolved to change the way I handle her, not to let it get to me etc. Well, that did not last very long at all.

Yesterday Ella began private physical therapy. She received PT from 18 months old to 3 years old at the Spokane Guild's School, where she was in a group and received her other therapies as well. She turned 3 on August 30th and began public school on Sept 8th where she has received therapies since. We had to wait for our insurance to pick back up on Jan 1st to begin outside therapies, we get 30 sessions a year and had used all of those in just a few months at the Guild School. Anyhow, yesterday was day 1. Ella was HORRIBLE. This young sweet physical therapist (brand new to this facility) was trying to re-eval Ella and set some goals for her. Ella did NOT do one single thing that therapist asked her to do. She was screaming, SCREAMING NO NO NO NO NO NO, NO WAY, etc. I would pick Ella up and take her back to the therapist trying to get her to cooperate so then we added tears to the screaming. For an entire hour this went on, I tried giving her a timeout, nothing worked. Needless to say by the time we got home and I put her down for a nap I was frazzled, pissed, frustrated and very near tears. 5 days into the new me and I have failed.

Chris was here when I got home and I told him about Ella's appointment. He asks me "what would you do if Hunter did that?" I said "Hunter would NEVER do that, not when he was 3 and not now." Chris says "Well what if he did?" Seriously......then he wouldn't be Hunter!!!! I'm not saying that Hunter is a saint, sure he has had little break downs from time to time but I am always able to reason with him. If I tell him to go to time out (when he was little) he would go to time out and sit there, he didn't have to be held there. If I said to him "if you don't stop you won't be able to play outside" the behavior stops immediately. You get the point. With Ella there is NO reasoning, not even a little bit. I guess it bothers me so much because she is smart and she knows exactly what I am saying to her and understands it and yet she is stuck. I really believe the kid gets stuck. I don't know if this has to do with her having Down syndrome, but the inability for her to deviate from her plan is a real problem. I think she just really is physically or mentally unable to do it. This all comes with a complete meltdown, real tears and everything, I can see that it's not an act, I can see that she is frustrated and yet I don't know how to help her get over this. It's interesting to me, the special ed teacher at her school said to me that she has "no cognitive or social goals for Ella" and so she only works on communication stuff with her. But do other 3 year olds act this way??? None that I know. What I also find interesting is that she mostly just has this problem with me. So am I too hard on her??? I just don't get it. She does great at school, sure she has her stubborn streaks and little battles with her aide (who does not back down to Ella, which I love!!!!) but it doesn't end the way it does with me.
At home I rarely have a problem with Ella. I think it's because home is safe, Ella is able to roam the house freely, does not have to stay with me, and knows what she can and cannot play with. In public she usually has to hold my hand, be carried or be in a stroller because she is a runner. If she has the opportunity that kid is gone.

I think part of the issue at her PT session was that we walked into this brand new room, there were toys, mats, balls, windows all around and she began her frantically running from one thing to the next routine ( I think this is her behavior when she gets overwhelmed or overstimulated.) But then Ella does not have a problem at all doing what she is supposed to in a class with 14 other kids all running around. I just don't get it. I don't know what to do with her. This behavior is not acceptable to me and yet I refuse to never take her anywhere. What to do???

On the plus side Ella's speech is taking off. She is frequently putting together 2 and 3 words and is becoming more and more clear. We start private speech therapy next week and I am so glad!!!

Before Christmas I had this picture taken of Ella as an angel. I love the picture!!! Hey, I can pretend my child is angelic like right???? One can dream : )


Jennie said...

Oh, Kacey. I'm so sorry about your frustrations with your "angel." LOL Just keep thinking of that adorable picture when you are getting frustrated.

I'm wondering if she has a lovey or a favorite doll or stuffed animal. Can you teach her that when she's frustrated she can tell lovey about it and lovey will understand? Maybe that would give her a way to regroup and not feel like a real person has to understand her (she's at that hard age where she knows what she wants to say but can't always say it).

Hey, look at me. I'm giving parenting advice. Ha! Know your sources, Kacey. I'm all talk. I have no idea what I'm doing in this parenting thing.

Cate said...

well, she sounds an awful lot like my three-year-old (who also has DS.). No reasoning.

One thing that strikes me, it sounds like that PT should have maybe stepped in more. Hopefully it'll get better as they both get used to it.

Molly said...

1. love the pic, GORGEOUS!
2. What happens if you aren't in the room? I know that I'd rather be with mommy than the PT. Hmmm. Do you think she just needs to get used to the new chick? If that was me I'd grab Ella, plop her on my lap, grab a toy or a stuffed animal, start rocking or cuddling her and singing some totlally absurd song to try to get her attention. I'd scrap the eval and just play with her in an attempt to get her comfortable with me and the room!

Krissy said...

Love love love the picture!

Denise said...

No advice yet as my Ella really is still an Angel (ha, ha if you read my blog) but you have me worried of what is to come because you know that I think my Ella is going to be just like your Ella :) LOVE the picture!! Didn't you do something with fairies last year? Was it the same photographer? Hang in there!!

Also, can't remember if I told you or not but we absolutely treasured that picture of Ella you sent in your Christmas card. I hang mine on my kitchen cabinets so we can look at them all the time and many people commented on how beautiful she is!!!

Unknown said...

I often find it very difficult to reason with Carly. And she just turned 8! It's very frustrating not being able to reason with Carly as I could with my other two. She just doesn't always grasp it. Although, Carly very rarely has moments like you described Ella having. I do feel for you because it is frustrating for us mom's. And it does make us feel like failures for not being able to make our kids understand. That's when I have to just step back and realize. It's okay that Carly doesn't get the whole reasoning thing. She is still a work in progress. I do believe, one day, our kids will "get it".

Love the picture!!! My goodness she looks pure angelic.

Anonymous said...

The photo is fabulous!

Ask for a small/er room next time. Cue the young PT by asking, can you determine her motor skills by watching her instead of having her do specific things on command? (Usually older therapists do this anyway.) And/or to the PTbaby: How can we get more benefit from this visit? (offering her some responsibility and control for the visit).

Best, Barbara (an old PT)

Bethany said...

Aww, I'm sorry to hear about the little buggers attitude when you are out. Not sure what you think about this, but after starting our girls on Gingko, we really noticed a difference in their attention and their focus ... I wonder if that would help Ella?

Colleen said...

That is a gorgeous picture! Love it! May your 30's be the best decade yet!

Tricia said...

I wanted to tell you that this post speaks to me SO LOUDLY AND CLEARLY I could have written it myself! The way Georgia acts, and how I feel about it.

I was recently reading about the gingko, too. Have you tried it? I think we are going to. Also, a friend of mine, the president of our local DS group and I were just talking the other night about how her daighter (DS, 10) was the same way when she was younger. She said after going to many specialists/homeopathic folks they discovered that Ellen was sensitive to the dairy in her diet. They cut dairy out of her diet and she stopped being a runner and having some of the other behaviors. Now, Ellen can have some dairy, but it's very limited.

I know that might sound a little wacky-woo-woo, but we're considering at LEAST cutting way back on the dairy to see if we get any results.

Good luck to you (and me)! :)

Aunt Tami said...

Ok....LOVE LOVE LOVE the pic!!! She IS a little angel....even when she is being a little devil!!! I dont know if that has anything to do with the DS or not...but i gotta say it has EVERYTHING to do with being a GIRL!!!!!! As you know Brendan is the perfect child (A LOT like Hunter)...always listened, etc...Shaylin on the other hand totally stubborn and fiercely independent!!! Challenges me to the limit!!! Now she didnt do temper tantrums or throw fits or anything like that..but like missy she does what she wants and doesnt like being told anything else!! I think if we got these 2 little girls together they would give each other a run for it!!! Who knows maybe they could keep each other busy!! LOL!!! Good luck on the new year new you outlook....i think it sounds great!!!! Love ya's!!!! Aunt Tami and family!!! :) <3

kecia said...

really that picture is breathtaking! LOVE it! I wish I had words of wisdom for you...BRee is definitely a runner too and I don't know what lies ahead for her temperment because of it!

Robin said...

Hi Kacey,

been a while! Love the picture. SUch a beautiful young lady!!! Please email me if you would like me to share my tactics I use with Morgan. I know all about stubborn.

Teri said...

That is the most precious picture...I love it!