I just had this realisation! Girl hates dolls with a passion but when she was in FC she always pushed a doll around in a little pushchair, I never really got why she wouldn’t play with them here and I did buy her new ones when she was really young but now I am thinking (and I could be totally wrong here) that they spark something in her subconscious mind. It has got to a point that recently she asked for all of the dolls to be removed from her room, she did not want to look at them.
I just had a think through what she bought back with her from her FC. Two dolls, a pushchair, a doll’s cot, a washing machine and cooker that belonged to the FC’s kids when they were little, a vacuum cleaner (beginning to sound like the FC’s life in miniature), 2 shape sorters, an alphabet bus and a wiggly ball thing. I don’t think they really had much more than that for her to play with. I do remember her playing with a tea set but she didn’t bring that. Interesting that most of the toys revolved around cleaning and childcare (FC was OCD herself).
In a way Girl has always struggled to play with toys, I guess probably from the lack of stimulation in those first couple of years and preferred to dress up and pretend to be somebody else but baby toys we bought her over the years are suddenly interesting and it doesn’t seem a competitive thing because she will watch Boy play and when he is finished she will pick up the toy and play with it herself for ages, sometimes coming back to it the next day. Of course I could be doing 2+2=5 and over-thinking it but I am glad at least that Boy seems to be teaching her to play.
When I picked her up from school I made the suggestion of painting or sticking and gluing – giving her two positive choices of how we could spend the evening.
After she made her choice we went via the town to pick up some new paintbrushes, paper and disposable tablecloths. Why am I telling you about the shopping? Well it was all part of the plan, to help prepare her mind for what would be happening and get her involved, sort of like it was an idea we came up with and prepared for together.
We spent over an hour-and-a-half painting together, the quality time and attention was just the thing to relax her mind after a difficult start to the day. So we are now twelve days without a meltdown, disaster averted.
Things are starting to deteriorate, the good behaviour is beginning to slide and I can hear the low rumblings of a storm approaching. The tics and stammering have returned, the argumentative behaviour, our personal space allowance is getting smaller (well you could say it’s actually non-existent right now), the whinging and whining, the reluctance to get dressed in the morning and I don’t think it’s any coincidence Girl has been back at school for a full week…
We have a fairly new and simple strategy in place for getting dressed for school. Girl has to get start getting dressed thirty minutes before everybody else then she can take as much time as she likes getting dressed and dealing with distractions, this gives her a clear hour to get dressed at her own pace and it is a stress free approach for all of us. She knows that the quicker she gets dressed the more TV she gets to watch (also part of the new strategy). So far this has been working pretty well and she has got dressed a lot quicker because she really loves TV but the length of time to get dressed despite the enticement is creeping up again. Is it time for a re-think already?
So what do we do about the demanding and argumentative behaviour? Well I have a plan for today at least. Dinner is cooking in the slow cooker so that means I have some extra time for activities, a walk always helps and maybe some scrapbooking or art.
I am anticipating that with some quality attention we could quite possibly get through another day without a storm and maybe I can even try and get to the bottom of what is bothering her. (I live in hope).
Just before midday yesterday the hubster decided we were going to the seaside. We were already out anyway so could not prepare for such a trip as any sane person would, Boy had left his beloved Bunny at home, Girl had no coat, we had no towels, no food, no drinks, no bucket and spades, no spare clothes and all Girl wanted to do was look for creepy crawlies in the forest (which would have been a ten minute drive instead of a ninety-minute drive) and the weather was iffy at best. Everything indicated that this was a totally insane decision but off we went with a rumbling noise echoing round the car like a distant storm approaching (it was actually Girl moaning about not going to the forest).
Two hours later we arrived at our destination our heads spinning from the sound of Boy screaming his impatience for the last thirty minutes of the journey (please, please learn to use your words soon Boy), Girl’s insistence that she need a wee and that she hated long car journeys and wanted to go to the forest not the beach, the kids favourite songs on loop and me insisting on singing ‘Oh I Do Like to be Besides the Seaside!’ loudly and repeatedly for the end leg of the journey just to try and buoy up everybody’s flagging moods. Unfortunately I could only remember the first two lines of the song so there was a lot of pom-tiddly pom-pomming going on and not much else.
I can’t tell you how wrong I was about it being an insane idea; we had such a lovely day. The weather was good, the scenery just beautiful and revisiting a childhood haunt on a whim felt so indulgent it was the biggest treat ever. We ate fish and chips by our old caravan park, flew kites, paddled, the kids stripped down to their pants and nappies. We had not a care in the world and it was so joyful to be so carefree!
Now all I have to do is convince the hubster we need to buy a static caravan so we can do it more often!