Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fruit Snacks to the rescue/poolside with Jovy

This morning's speech therapy puzzled me. When Gloria walked through the door, Nikko went into retreat mode. He avoided the mirrored corner and dragged me to the DVD player. He wasn't satisfied with me handing him the Signing Time DVD, he wanted me to put it on. I definitely had to refuse him and then he started tantruming. We decided to make the DVD disappear and the tantrum increased tenfold. I struggled with him for a minute or two, and then at the same time Gloria suggested (as did I) that maybe we try soothing him with fruit snacks and working with them through the session. I got them and instantly Nikko calmed down. I encouraged him to sit down and when he did I gave him a FS. Gloria took out some Play Doh and we coaxed Nikko into playing with it via FS. He complied, picked up the green stuff and let Gloria help him shape it in squeezable tubes or cut it with cookie cutters. Then she segued into these foam stickers of Noah's ark animals. Each colored piece had a white paper backing with adhesive on the back. Nikko would (with hand over hand) peel the paper and stick the white ark or green cloud or yellow giraffe or blue hippo onto a piece of paper. He'd get praised and then get a FS. Then came stringing wooden shapes onto a shoelace. He'd do a few and then get a FS. I told Gloria that we did this exact same FS strategy during last week's OT session to get Nikko to work. I voiced to Gloria that while it seemed to work, I didn't want to rely on FS to get Nikko to do something, in the same vein as the ABA way of working with autistic kids (I've discussed this in an earlier but more recent post). I didn't want Nikko to be robotic in his actions. Gloria agreed, but also said that if FS is what is working for us right now, she would recommend sticking to it. While I don't want to get Nikko hooked on FS to get something done, things will definitely change in preschool. He might welcome the structure and routine of their program. The FS, according to Gloria seem to be working by helping him to focus and do what I ask, while keeping me from going insane. Things are going to change all over again in preschool, so working hard to change things again now are probably just going to stress us all out. I agree, and will proceed with caution. Case in point, later in the afternoon we were at Target and Costco, and at both places Nikko signed More for FS. I wanted him to behave but I didn't want to be feeding him constantly so I tried to hold off on the FS. Well, more so at Costco than at Target, Nikko was melting down until he got some FS. I feel defeated when I have to break open a bag and give it to him, but right now I don't have another solution except to let him cry and scream and wriggle out of the shopping cart, unless I have some other distraction that will work. Explaining to him that he has to wait until we are in the store, or out of the store, or until we get to the car does not calm him in the least.

We got a very kind invitation from Anna and Pat to have the kids over at their house around 5ish to play in the backyard with Jovy in the wading pool. After running our errands with Chinny, we headed to their house. I wondered if I could stand the heat because in my opinion it was quite oppressive, but since we don't get to play with cousin Jovy that much I saw it as an opportunity for socialization and water play. I also like how spacious their house is and think their patio is the envy of all patios, with luxurious 3-person covered swing, nice patio table and chairs, paver bricks on the ground, grill, play hut and slide, garden and green grass like a thick carpet. My brother did all that work, what a dad! :) Garden is Anna's handiwork, even while she's 6 months pregnant. After an early dinner (Nikko ate pizza, thank goodness, and Ronin ate lots of rice with a few nuggets) we ventured outside where the boys and Jovy got to stomp around in the kiddie pool, run through a circular sprinkler and enjoy the bubble machine. We have one at home, too, which they like to put their fingers through, but it might destroy the machine so I had to turn it off. Whereas on Father's Day Nikko didn't venture near the kiddie pool, today he was the first one to literally get his feet wet by putting his Croc'ed foot into the pool. Later he was taking a kiddie hoe and scooping water into the air for an unexpected shower. The sprinkler was a hit as all the kids put their faces into the streams of water and tried to drink up the droplets. Meanwhile, Audrey was not really appreciating all this aquatic access. She did tolerate sitting in the grass, however, until her plastic pizza slice slid out of reach. She was a crankypants for a while and I wondered if she were hungry. On the way home I realized that she needed a nap and wasn't getting one when she wanted it. I had showered the boys at Anna's, and Mr. Ronin the Curious yanked on a corner shower caddy and it unhinged itself into the tub. Nikko seemed unfazed by all the activity, and was mellow at home after I put on Signing Time Disc 3 per his urgent request. I'll make sure to pack along all 3 DVDs when we go to Florida since we'll have to wait in the airport for a few hours until Denis gets off work and comes to pick us up. I'll look for a wall that has an outlet and set up shop for us. I'll also make a safety ID for Nikko and clip it to the back of his shorts in the event that we get separated at the airport.

We don't have any therapies tomorrow and the weather is supposed to be sunny and hot. If I can keep us indoors and cool, I will. But if the opportunity arises that we can play outside without me fainting, (drama queen, I know) I'll take that, too. I'll call over to Mom's house to see if anything's going on with Fran and his fam.

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