Monday, October 6, 2014

Day 6: 31 for 21: Trying Too Hard

So, as I knew I would, I missed a day yesterday.  It was our Buddy Walk, so we were out of the house early and pretty beat by the time we got home.  I was just going through some of my old posts to see what I could give you today, and came across this one, from October of 2010, when she was 4 years old, about trying to make fun, positive, memorable experiences for our children.  A lot of what I had written below still holds true today, although my understanding of Samantha's reticence has grown and my ability to recognize triggers and environments that will not work for her has become more finely-tuned, so I'm able to avoid them.  Samantha is able to give me her own opinions about things, so sometimes just asking her will give me the answer I need before we barrel into a situation that becomes unpleasant for us both. 

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 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...? 

Nah.



 
 
 

2 comments:

Stephanie said...

When Owen started walking, I thought, OK cool! Now we can do some stuff that I've been wanting to do. But the key to that sentence was I, not him! So I try really hard to follow his lead. Sometimes he surprises me.....he used to be terrified of bounce houses, especially the ones with slides. Now I can't tear him away from them to the point that I'm planning to have his birthday part y at just such a place next year. I've come to the realization that if I force him to do something, even though I know it could be fun, he won't enjoy it and neither will I. So I just go with my gut!

Fivehearts Onefamily said...

My daughter's question to us used to always be, "Are you happy?" Although I haven't heard her ask it in quite some time.