Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 4: Trying Too Hard

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 doThat was the wonderful experience I was bound and determined to make for her.  Here was the result:
These photos really, really pain me.  I feel so guilty for dragging her out there, forcing her to pick out a pumpkin, forcing her to sit for a photo that she didn't want to sit for, but that I wanted to have so we could see later what a fun time we had.

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. 
By the time we got back to the car, we were all completely done.  Nothing could possibly feel better than to sit in the air conditioning and get the heck home.  Except a quick need by Samantha for the portable potty I carry around in the trunk.  As I loaded up the car, N. pulled Sammi's pants down to situate her on the little toilet.  Unfortunately, there was a miss, resulting in the soaking of the borrowed pull-up and the borrowed pants (sorry, Heather!  They have been re-washed, though...), and there was a bottom-less ride home.

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...? 



Anonymous said...

Love that last photo!

Beth said...

I hear ya! On both the "we WILL have fun if it kills you" and the "PMS" level.

Hannah had limited social and sensory stamina. Put her in a noisy or unfamiliar environment and she will shut down. I think our first 6 Buddy Walks were miserable for her.

Knowing how much to push forward is a delicate art, and I'm rarely delicate.

Things will improve--the transitions do get better. And she graciously accepts my apology (given the day after PMS exits) when I'm overbearing.

Jenee said...

Your honesty is refreshing. I understand completely where you are coming from. I too am always trying to create those meaningful memories and it usually doesn't go as planned. I need to learn more to take the kids lead and give up my agenda that I have planned for them. When I started blogging I promised myself I would stay honest in my posts, the ups and downs. I feel for you and your difficult day, but it is comforting to know I'm not out there alone.

Renee said...

In most of the pictures Samantha looks like she is having fun! Maybe you will be able to look back on the misses and laugh. I think you are being too hard on yourself.

I have left the house twice without the baby's diaper bag. The second time I had to go to Walmart and buy diapers and wipes. Once I had to buy Wesley a new pair of pants while we were out. But my main problem is that I over react to what the kids are doing. I am so afraid that someone will think they are behaving badly that it clouds my interaction with them.

Nathan'smama said...

I DO take Nathan places, but a lot of the time the fun he has is either not the fun he's "supposed" to have and/or not the fun the other kids are having. I just kind of have to be okay with him being the kid sitting down waving a party hat back and forth while other kids run circles around him. Whenever he does what he's "supposed to do" I get excited and snap a picture - lol.

Mandy said...

You did get some good shots of her :) I've been so torn lately since we are planning a trip to Disneyworld without our 2 boys with Ds. I KNOW without a doubt that it would not be fun for anyone to take them completely out of their norm but the mom guilt on what I "should be" can really put a damper on things.

Kelly said...

I think we've all felt that way at one time or another. We do bring Landon, everywhere, but we have always been a "busy" family to begin with. We spend more time out of the house than in, by far. I am just so grateful that Landon just goes with the flow. But he most definitely has his moments. I bring a camera everywhere we go, snap pics of the good & bad, both will make for really great memories!! Funny thing is, I miss a lot of good shots, because I would much rather enjoy them as they happen. Don't put so much pressure on yourself. Just as every child is different, so aren't their "enjoyable moments"!!

Rochelle said...

This was such a good post.
I think we all try to hard at times.
Glad you all had some fun even if the whole day wasn't sunshine and roses, but wait what day is all sunshine and roses? Must be someone elses family bc it sure isn't mine. LOL

Sun said...

LOVE this post! With Riley it takes experiencing something new at least twice and usually three times for him to enjoy it. I have dragged him around to all sorts of fun/torturous places because I know in the long run it's good for him. If it was up to him, he would sit around watching The Office... All. Day. Long.
We do try too hard but it's because we have to.

Kacey Bode said...

Oh my goodness....I am so with you on this one. Ella is not so great at transitioning either, better but not great. I am always setting out to do things that I declare will be FUN, that Ella and sometimes Hunter don't care to do. I also feel ya on the camera. As soon as I pull it out I get so much attitude, sometimes I think I should just leave it at home because I know if I have it I will be pestering the crap out of my poor kids. BUT I WANT the pictures : )

Sammi is adorable as always even if she is not happy!

Also.... Ella does the "mommy, you happy?" if I say yes and she knows I'm not she says "no, mommy angry." I always feel SOOOO bad.

Zoey's mom said...

As I was reading this post,my oldest daughter looked over at me from the kitchen and asked,"What are you smiling about mom?"And my smile was based on a few things.Mainly,after having 6 children,this day could have been me,a hundred times over!Irregardless of the extra chromosome.

I was smiling because you are one,funny and two,honest.Both of which I love.

The last thing that struck me and I was reminded of, was a scene I saw play out the other day at my boys school which just so happens to be the school also for k-5 special education .. a little girl,about 8 and sporting the extra chromosome,comes out of school,begins to cross the road with her mom and decides to plop herself in the road and is NOT budging.One bit.I'm smiling because I so want Zoey to throw a tantrum and,put on a personal sit in in the inopportune places ... I want that. But what I need to realize and what you made me realize today was,when I am missing my "typical Down syndrome"experience,I need to remember,we all got stuff.Good days.Bad days.Easy days and hard days.Thanks for the reminder ... so sorry it was at Samantha's expense!

Beautiful pictures as always though ...even the sad ones.

Sally Carter said...

With everyone else - this is a fabby post. It means so much to know it's 'not just me'. Thing is, in our house I'd say we usually don't push enough with my girl - I always think 'maybe next year' and then I wonder why I'm sad that the kids are growing up so fast! Thank you...xx

Melissa M said...

I love this post! And I do it too...wonder why we don't do more fun things, more experiences. I worry that I am short changing Claire. Like you, I see pictures of camping trips and days at the beach and it seems like all she gets to do is go to daycare or rush around doing errands on my days off. I know she's still little and won't remember, but I worry that if I can't find the time to do the fun stuff now, how will I ever do it when we have more kids...

Dawn said...

You are not alone in the club of trying too hard. If Taylor had her way, she'd only go out to go to the grocery store or to his sister's house (but only twice a week).

She is a homebody who would rather play on the deck, on her computer, or read car magazines while laying in her bed flipping channels with her remote.

I drag her out because I think she needs human interaction with someone other than me. In reality, honestly, it's me that needs socialization.

One of these days you'll look back on this post and laugh. I promise.

Bethany said...

Becca, am I allowed to say that I think you underestimate her? LOL! Sammi does so well 97% (??) of the time, just like the rest of our kids! There are always going to be meltdowns, cranky kids, etc ... but just roll with it! I think having the experiences gives them so much more than having to deal with a few minutes of chaos. :) I'll trade you your one for my three! LOL

Stephanie said...

I'm sure Aiden would love for me to put the camera away, but I don't see it happening anytime in the near future. LOL!

As far as the meltdowns go, we just work through them. He has to learn that everyone has to do something they don't want to do.

Carol N. said...

Love that you include the happy and not-so-happy shots. More realistic than if you edited out the cranky ones :O)