It's not easy for a lot of parents. It hurts when our children are unhappy, and it hurts when our children resist things that we, ourselves, would deem as highly enjoyable. We expose them, little by little, to new things, new places, new ideas, we hope they will adapt more as they grow, and we learn to make concessions to avoid what we know to be disastrous.
Are there things I wish Samantha would enjoy doing? Ohhhh, yes... I could go on and on about those. Have I set them aside and stopped badgering her about doing them when she clearly doesn't want to? Mostly. Am I hopeful that one day she'll change her mind or her triggers (whatever they may be) will disappear and she'll be ready, willing and able to do them? Absolutely. But I won't count on it, just to be safe.
October 4, 2010
Sometimes I feel like I try too hard to ensure that Samantha is having great and varied experiences. I'll read the blogs or Facebook posts of other people and wonder, "why can't we do that?" For example, people will take their young children (including those with Ds) camping, or to ball games, or hiking, or to music festivals. And I'll just think, "no way on Earth will Sammi sit still for that," or, "she'd have a meltdown - not worth chancing it." But I think we should. Lastnight we watched a sitcom rerun where a married couple accidentally picks up the wrong family's pictures at the drugstore photo-processing counter. They become obsessed with the idea that their lives are dull and that they should try to do all the wonderful, adventurous things the other family did. So they tried, and felt rediculous. They realized that their lives were rich enough with the experiences they had, mundane as they may seem. A pretty timely program to have watched after yesterday, but I didn't actually realize it until now, as I write this post.
So I do try to take Samantha to different places, but her difficulty in transitioning often leads to frustration for me, and, what I perceive to be torture for her. Granted, she's certainly better than she used to be. And sometimes she really does have fun.
Yesterday started off well-enough. It was probably the most beautiful day we've had in about 4 months. I had gotten her pretty excited about going to a pumpkin pick on a farm run by a lovely family who open it up to our Down syndrome association every year for a day of festivities and celebration. Her aide, N., came with us. I'm always happy to have an extra set of hands, and thank goodness I did yesterday. Samantha, who has remained dry for all but sleeping hours for the better part of a few months now, fell asleep in the car on the long ride to the middle-of-nowhere. She was wearing a pull-up (I haven't gotten brave enough to eliminate them yet). She was soaked when we got there. Sopping wet. Complete nappy failure. And, horribly ambitious (?), optimistic, unprepared mom that I am, I didn't have a change of clothes. Or a clean pull-up. What kind of mom does that??? Ugh. So N. stayed with Sammi at the car while I ran to the group to filch off the good-graces of a few folks with kids that may be approximately Sammi's size. Bingo. A fresh pull-up and a pair of pants. Hooray!
Next adventure of the day, a still-tired, super-cranky child who became obsessed first with cookies, then with an open police car, set up to allow kids to explore. Pulling her away and re-directing her from both was not pretty. But we were there to take a hay ride out to a field to pick pumpkins, and damnit, that's what we were going to do. That was the wonderful experience I was bound and determined to make for her. Here was the result:
I'm pretty sure PMS fueled some of my own crankiness and insistence. But it's not like she didn't have any fun at all...there were moments, mostly captured by someone else's camera, since smiling for mommy was not on the agenda.
Sammi's gauge of how people are feeling when she suspects something is amiss is to ask, "you happy?" On the ride home, she said, "N., you happy?" to which N. replied, "Yes." N. said, "Sammi, are you happy?" to which Samantha replied, "Yes. Mommy mad." Yikes. (Reassurances to the contrary followed, btw.)
When it rains, it pours. I know I probably just need to chill out a bit, take the time to smell the roses. Put my camera away...?