Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer Round Up

In one week, Blink will be starting at his new school.  At the outset of this summer, which was three times the length of previous summer breaks since the move from a year-round school program to a traditional schedule, I anticipated I would be clawing my eyeballs out and begging for mercy by the end of the summer.  (Yeah, we didn't begin summer on a good note...)

But really, I'm a little wistful.  It's been nice having Blink around in the background while I work (attended by our amazing PCA...he wasn't being neglected!).  No doubt I am looking forward to a quiet house next week, but it has really been a great summer.

Just as I'd hoped and wished, Blink has decompressed quite a bit from the stressfest that was the end of his school year at the old school.  We've worked hard to get his anxiety under control. Looking back, I see that I haven't mentioned one critical piece of the puzzle here:  we started seeing a new specialist for medication management and over the past 6 weeks, we've really increased his Prozac dose.  And it's helping.

Today, for instance, we were running late to get out the door in time for his social skills group.  Blink had gone upstairs to get socks and gotten distracted. When he came back sock-less, I suggested (ok, maybe snapped) that he just wear his sandals.  Ordinarily this would have become quite the power struggle.  Today?  With just a little bit of exasperation, he said, "Oh, alriiiiiiiight."  I am pretty sure I stopped and blinked, myself, I was so shocked!

I'm nervous about the greater demands of mainstreaming in the school year ahead. And excited at the possibilities.  I will be holding my breath for the first few weeks, to be sure.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Strategies and Teaching Moments

Don't you love it when a strategy works? Tonight was Happy Hour Playdate (best invention ever) among my friends.  Picture about a dozen kids running amok while adults sip drinks on the patio and nosh on delicious food.  Blink is the only child over the age of 5, however, which makes for a challenging situation.  He does really well with children a year or two younger, but a gaggle of his little sister's peers?  That's kind of his nightmare.

The first Happy Hour Playdate, Blink had to be carried out kicking and screaming. It wasn't until he was agitated that I'd found a quiet place for him.

After that, I admit, I arranged for him to spend extra time with his father and avoided it altogether.  But that wasn't possible tonight, so we had a few strategies in place.

We went over the fact that the rule is, if you have a problem you get your mother. And try to remember how young everyone is.

I had him ask the hostess if there was a quiet room he could use as his space.  We brought a book and an ipod.

It totally worked!  He did a great job. There were a few, um, teaching moments. Like when he wanted to ask everyone not to eat the shrimp.  (As of today, he's a vegetarian?!)  Or when he thought the girl who was trying to impress him was being mean and hated him.  (What?!  That's not how she can impress me.  I have a list of things she can do to impress me.  Like eating a worm.  That would impress me.)

But no meltdowns!  No altercations.  Go Blink!

(Full disclosure:  I did also let him play with my iPhone a lot more than I usually do.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Two Conversations

Two recent conversations with Blink stick in my mind.

The first was when we were on vacation and I was beyond frustrated with Blink. Out of sheer frustration, I said something like, "Sometimes it seems like you only care about other people's feelings when it directly affects you.  I'm not raising you to be like that."  His response?  "Well I guess you are." I'm pretty sure I burst into tears at that point.  I mean, what do you do?  I'm haunted by it.

The second conversation was this morning.  We were just chatting and Blink called me out for using imprecise language. It was rude, though I knew that wasn't his intent.  We were all in good moods, so I said very calmly and evenly, "Blink, you know, that sounded kind of rude." He sighed and said, "People think everything I say is rude." I nodded and explained maybe it's not always what he says, but how he says it, adding that people like nice voices. He sighed again and said, "I just have no idea how everybody does that." So true!  It was insightful.