Thursday, May 20, 2010

Think like an OT

Fascinating. Ronin was napping between 2:15 and 3:45ish today. It was during that time I was trying to eat some lunch with Audrey watching TV and Nikko dashing back and forth between rooms, pausing to get a glimpse of The Wiggles. It was maybe a minute that passed by with complete silence - no peep from any of the three. And that is a bad thing in this house. Then I heard a tiny scuffle in the hallway and ran to see Nikko standing near the doorway to his bedroom. His pants were on the floor, but thankfully his diaper was still on. It wasn't destined to be, from the looks of things. I ushered an anxious Nikko to the bathroom and put him on the toilet, willingly. His diaper had some poo in it, and it was probably beginning to irritate him to the point of scratching. That's usually the case when it comes to the diaper-ripping-off scenarios. After cleaning him up and putting a new diaper on, Nikko refused to put on his pants. He was running away from me, twisting and kicking when I tried to lie him down, and whining loudly in protest. I was pretty irritated, saying that if he wouldn't continue to sit on the toilet, and he refused to wear his pants or shorts, then I'd have to watch him like a hawk because I don't trust him to go around the house in just a diaper anymore. Too many opportunities to scratch or reach in and get his hands dirty. I tolerated this for a few minutes, but then opted to force a pair of gray shorts on him. Nikko was MAD and tried to push them off, but I wouldn't let him. I kept blocking his attempts and he ran away screaming. He flopped belly down on the hardwood floor right in front of Ronin's room and was screaming and crying. I didn't want him to prematurely wake up Ronin, but that was Nikko's chosen spot and I knew better than to try to pick him up and rationalize with him at this stage. I sat on the couch and let him continue to tantrum. If he tried to push down his shorts I said his name sharply in a cold tone and he would scream all over again. I really hate that all I could do was ride out his tantrum until he calmed down. Not wanting to draw attention to what just happened, I invited Nikko to come to the kitchen and have a bowl of Chocolate Cheerios with milk. That sounded enticing so he got up and trotted to the kitchen for his snack. I've been trying to figure out WHY he didn't want to wear his pants anymore. They were the same pair he wore to school. He didn't want the shorts either, which was my alternative because maybe he was too hot for pants. It could have been a sensory thing, not wanting to wear pants or shorts because he was uncomfortable or itchy, but I didn't see him doing any odd itching before or after the diaper incident. All I know is that Nikko reached certain levels where no amount of comforting was going to help.

So why is this fascinating? Because I just read a blog from one that I follow and it was about patience.
The key line is as follows:
“So, on the days when I need an EXTRA dose of MEGA patience with her, I pretend in my mind that I'm an OT working with a belligerent stroke patient”.

I am forever searching for patience to deal with Nikko's whining and tantrums, as well as Ronin's (but for that, I've discovered the ear plugs). Don't I always talk about digging deep to China for patience? But this simple perspective makes a ton of sense. It would allow me to detatch myself emotionally from Nikko, especially when I'm ready to pitch myself over a cliff when I can't stand his reactions anymore. Another thing stated in the blog was:
"And to help me shed all of the excess emotional baggage I carry around from conversation to conversation with him, I am going to put on my imaginary OT hat and ... will approach each teachable moment as though I am a professional with a client. A client who needs me, respects me, and who is going to have a better life because of me – but who’s choices in that small moment define neither his success, nor my own."

This is why it is so hard for me to have patience. I am so emotionally connected with my kids, bound by fears of their future successes and failures. I worry that if they don't listen to me and what I'm trying to teach them, they won't get it and will grow up the wrong way. It's a heavy burden that may very well be very unrealistic, but has become hard for me to control. Some emotional distance, like the kind I displayed this afternoon by not intervening while Nikko tantrummed, will probably benefit my sanity while not devaluing my relationship with Nikko. Thanks, Cailtin Wray. :)

Nikko's speech report: Worked on body parts, & added clothes to categorization.

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