Thursday, February 10, 2011

A better Rebecca day / Ronin's 2nd meltdown

2/9/11 School Report - OT: Sensory motor activities - trampoline, knee walking, scooterboard. Then worked on name printing at large wipe off board. At table - worked on v-day card.

This morning we bundled up and went to speech with Lisa. Nikko really enjoys going there. I mused it over with Denis last night and perhaps he benefits more from the change of scenery. It's really colorful and fun at APT. This makes me wonder if our ABA sessions are at a disadvantage because they take place in the home, because they are always in the basement, and because the setting is so familiar it is not as engaging. Possibly. The thought gives me some pause. His session went well. Lisa says that Nikko can say my name (Mommy, or Boppy) during questions. She'll say, "Who are we going to see?" And he'll say, "Mommy!" Lisa is using leading questions without saying the word that she wants him to say, so it's like he is answering direct questions.

I didn't have enough time to cook Ronin's crispy fish sticks before the kids had to run off to school so I stopped by McDonald's. The kids' Happy Meals were the 4 piece nuggets, fries and apple juice boxes. The toys were perfect this time around: Monster trucks for the boys, and My Little Pony for Audrey. Nikko liked his red truck and took it to school. The afternoon flew by, and Rebecca was here right as Nikko's bus pulled up to the house. He had a quick snack and diaper change before heading downstairs. Rebecca noted that Nikko saw her as he got off the bus and he didn't look thrilled. I wanted to counter that with something positive, but when we all stepped into the house Nikko hesitated in the doorway, looked at Rebecca, and then verbally protested for a minute with a whine. Thankfully he kept moving forward and he was able to go downstairs without incident.

The session seemed to go well. I didn't hear any meltdowns or protests. Rebecca came up to tell me that he did a much better job than last time, that he sat at the table the whole time and did his drills. The focus was better today. And when it was time for her to leave, I said to Nikko, "Nikko, what do we say....?" He looked over his shoulder at Rebecca and said, "Bye, Rebecca." That was really cool because I didn't prompt him verbally by saying, "Nikko, say Bye Rebecca." Instead, he said it on his own, in context. These little glimmers of verbal interaction are also present during both Lisa and Karen's sessions. I wonder if he interacts verbally at school as well or if he gets prompted. I wonder if he speaks during class at all.

This evening, right before bath time, Ronin had another meltdown similar to the one he had two weeks ago. In fact, after the first meltdown it prompted me to dig into a book I bought as a recommendation from the school parenting group called Raising Your Spirited Child. Yes, I got another volume about raising such a spirit, but this was a pretty thick book and the advice I've read thus far is helpful in that it puts things into perspective easily. Sure, Ronin may have sensitivities, but the book gives some tips on how to help deal with these meltdowns in a positive way. Of course, yelling and/or hitting/spanking is not advised. Duh.

Ronin was a bit hyperactive before bath time, running around a lot as usual. He let me brush his teeth. But when it was time to take off his clothes and either use the potty or get into the tub, Ronin suddenly became very defiant. I switched with Denis so that I was brushing Nikko's teeth while he dealt with Ronin's bath. And even though Denis has been the one giving Ronin the bath (his bonding time with the boys), Ronin has been demanding that *I* give him his bath. Ronin didn't like Denis telling him to get in the tub. Ronin didn't want to take off his clothes, didn't want to be picked up, and didn't want to have a bath in general. This wasn't going to be acceptable to either Denis or me so he put a squirming, wriggling, screaming Ronin into the tub. We switched again after a time and Ronin wanted OUT, he wanted the soap and water OFF him, he didn't want a bath at all. I was firm and tried to give him options, but I think Ronin felt like he was out of control. Even after scooping him up and bringing him to Nikko's bedroom where the PJ's were at, Ronin wasn't calm at all. It was really hard for me to see him screaming at fever pitch, but I remained calm and held him - cradled him - while he hiccuped and wailed. I told him I was there and was going to help him calm down, just like the book said. Ronin threw up in his towel but I kept him clean. When it got to the point where I kept trying to dress him and he refused his PJs but wanted his other clothes, I told him that he didn't have to wear ANY clothes, and I got up to leave. Immediately he pleaded for me to dress him up in the PJs and then I could feel the tension start to leave as he settled down. After dressing, I gave his thin little body some big hugs and he asked me to carry him into the living room, which I did. Within a minute he was back to his former self. Poor little man. Post-tantrum, I tried to pinpoint what the triggers were but can conclude that it seems to have been based on a lack of control on Ronin's part. Meaning, he could possibly be falling apart when he does not have a say in what is going to happen next. He likes to be first, likes to be in control of what he is doing. Man, it's not going to get any easier for him, but I AM going to help him through this better than the first time.

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