Last week when I posted about Olivia’s absolute meltdown over me not understanding what she was trying to say, I was moved by everyone’s response. I sometimes take for granted how wonderful this blogging community is. I swear that night I was thinking I was going to somehow find her regular ed teacher’s phone number and call her at home to ask…that’s how desperate I was! I do have her special ed teacher’s number but try really hard not to call it after school hours. So I didn’t. They did clear it up the next day and when Olivia got home, we talked about it and she had a huge smile on her face.
But we’re still having major meltdowns. Like 3 or 4 a week.
This is really not like her unless she’s really tired or really overwhelmed. I’m thinking it’s what Tommie said; maybe she’s ready to make another huge leap milestone-wise. I’m hoping that’s all it is. I think she’s finally to the point with language that she has SO MUCH to say…but doesn’t quite have the skill to get it all out. Whereas before, she’d just want to tell me “I read a book”, now she wants to tell me details. Last week when she was upset, she was trying to tell me that her teacher was reading “Aliens for Breakfast” and there was a character named Aric and her teacher did a funny voice for him. Now that’s a lot to say! She stopped after “Today Ms. M…” and then freaked out. I did manage to get “Aric” out of her…but I thought she said “Derek” and, of course, had no clue who it was. Can’t you see her sweet little brain having all of that to say and then her mouth not being able to cooperate to get it all out? It broke my heart. I don’t know how after 10 years of dealing with this it still breaks my heart, but it does. Anything that makes her feel that bad just does me in.
Another incident was on the trampoline. She can’t jump. She wants to desperately. But between her bad knees and her low muscle tone, she just can’t quite do it. She said “I wanna jump!”. I was trying to help her by holding her hands and jumping with her, but she’s no dummy. She knew she was not jumping. So she fell to the trampoline and started kicking and pinching and screaming. I wanted to do that right along with her. Because it’s not fair that she has to struggle so hard. And it’s not fair that there are things she can’t do. But it is what it is.
Last night she had another meltdown because her friend came over for some help with math. I think it was partly because I was helping her friend and partly because she wanted to play with her. Nevertheless, the freakout ensued and I had to send her to her room to calm down. I just wish I could figure out a better way to help her cope with her strong emotions. We have tried yoga breaths but those only work when she’s semi-calm. When she’s all bat-shit crazy, there’s not much I can do.
I know it’s not cancer, and I know it could be worse, blah-blah-blah, but watching your child suffer day in and day out in any way is not fun at all. It’s absolutely heart-wrenching. I’m just hoping I can find ways for her to cope better. Or I’m hoping it’s a phase. I haven’t felt myself lately either with all of this gloomy weather. Fingers crossed that’s all it is. I thank you all for all of your kind words last week; it really does make a difference. Here’s hoping we can find a way to help my little one.
Not being able to put myself in your shoes…it’s hard to offer any kind of advice. I can only say that you are one of the strongest and well adjusted people (person?) I know. I think it all comes from the incredible family you have. A great husband that you love and loves you back. A great support group for Olivia (and the rest of you) comprised of family, friends and professionals. Life has a cruel way of sneakining up on us and testing us …you seem to have learned how to pass everytime. NICE JOB!!! You make it look easy…even when I know it’s not.
So there were no words of advice, but you should know I think you are doing a great job from my point of view!!!!!
I have a son who has receptive and expressive language disorder so know the challenges. When he was having problems communicating his day, we started a notebook that the teacher would write in and send home and I could write notes back. This worked because our teacher would make sure to capture what my son wanted to tell me as at school he could point to the book and character to help give details so I could decode what was being said at home.
You’re right–she’s no dummy. Thoughts are swirling through that head. It’s got to be heartbreaking–for both of you–to navigate your way through even a day of this.
You think the weather is affecting her, too? I know that probably isn’t all, but if it is, the freak outs will fluctuate a good deal.
Of course, this has probably occurred to you.
When I read your first post, I just couldn’t respond because we’re at the beginning stages of this meltdown thing, seeing as he’s so young. And, when I read about your experiences with Olivia, I thought, “Oh MAN! This isn’t going to end next week for us!” And, so I had to soak it all in.
But, I just want to respond to the trampoline situation. You know how you said you just wanted to kick and pinch and scream right along with her? Well, I do that (minus the kicking and pinching!). But I do! I sometimes just slump down next to the little guy and freak out right along with him, until… he stops… because… well, what the heck is mom doing anyway? And then… he laughs. And he forgets. And it’s over. I’m not saying this is a good strategy. I’m not even saying it’s a sane one. (*wink*) But, at the moment it happens, I just go with the flow, and sometimes, the flow is telling me to scream, and scream and scream until we’re laughing our heads off. Might not work with a 10 year old, but it worked, quite by accident, with a 3 year old!
Keep the stories coming. They are good therapy for all of us!
Just to validate what Gabriella said, my boys have found that making the same melt-down sounds that J. is making tends to make her stop! Haven’t tried it myself, but have seen them do it.
My first thought about Olivia’s recent frustrations was, maybe the hormones kicking in?
I had a couple of ideas about the trampoline. They make smaller ones with a bar, that she could hold on to and be able to jump. Then she’d be able to do it “by herself”. I know it’s not like the big trampoline, but at least she’d be able to bounce and who knows, she may be able to one day bounce on the big trampoline. She is the girl that wasn’t supposed to do anything that she does—she’s AMAZING!! Or you could see if there is a local gymnastics place that she could go and maybe the could put a harness on her and let her try it that way. I know it’s still not her doing it all by herself, but at least it would make her a little more independent?
It’s okay that you feel the way you do about it all, because it is HARD and this is not something that you are going to wake up one morning and Olivia is curred, it is something you have to deal with for the rest of your life and her life. (BTW YOU ROCK AT DEALING WITH IT!)
I can say that I am in your shoes. I go through the same things with Angel. The older she gets,the more she gets frustrated trying to tell a story, or the details about something simple she wants to say. She is 8 and I’m afraid the hormones might be kicking in and be one of the reasons . Thats crazy cause she is so young . She has other signs. You are right it is heartbreaking seeing them go through some everyday things that are so hard for them. I think the hardest thing is how we should react or how to punish for the negative behavior……Olivia reminds me of Angel so much! And I too, overeact when she gets off the bus upset and I have a hard time figuring out what happened and stuff. I think that is my mother hen instinct!! We just want to make it all better.
I don’t think ten years or even thirty years or more is enough to stop a mom’s heart from breaking when her child suffers. And there are no pain Olympics. Just because other parents have bigger worries than you doesn’t negate the fact that your worries are significant. Those big worries don’t make your worries small, if you know what I mean.
I really hope this is a phase too and that when the sun finally shines and the flowers bloom and these lakes of water recede both you and Olivia find your balance.
As for the jumping…have you considered gymnastics for O? My O takes it and she loves it. After almost nine months of gymnastics she know how to fall (I know that sounds so stupid, but it’s true) and she can jump, by herself, on a trampoline. These days, she’s catapulting herself over the back of my mom’s couch (it makes me a nervous wreck but she loves it) just like her typical sister and cousin. I can’t say enough about gymnastics. My O is in a regular class that her instructor let me turn into a Mommy & Me class just for her. But she’s four. I think your O would be annoyed if you were out there with her when none of the other moms were. but it’s a thought, it could help. We moms need all the help we can get, even when we have a hard time asking for it. 🙂
Much love to you and your sweet Olivia. Her brain is definitely developing faster than her mouth and that’s just so, so frustrating.
Enough with the not wanting to call me after school hours!!! You know that I will do anything for that child and that includes tearing myself away from Wheel of Fortune (haha!) and doing dishes to help figure out what she’s freaking out about! I may be her teacher, but you’re the one who tells me to take off my teacher hat and put on my friend hat sometimes… please USE me as a teacher AND friend! 🙂
PS… It was good to see you tonight!!!!
Hang in there… I struggle like this when I watch Eli being unable to control what his body does, how it moves. It’s nowhere near what you are dealing with, but I understand the pain. And you’re right. It’s not cancer, it’s not some horrible disease. But it affects your child nonetheless and that alone makes it the worst thing in the world.
Thinking of you and Olivia. Hang in there. It’s got to be hard for you and Olivia. But I’d like to think her recent frustration is all in preparation of a huge milestone.