If you didn't read yesterday's post, please head there first. It'll all make so much more sense when you read this one :)
After Li'l Empress's traumatic Tuesday and Wednesday, we tried really hard to resume as normal a Thursday as we could. We had kids to taxi around, bulletins to write, jobs to catch up on, laundry to fold, and friends coming in and out all afternoon to swim. The weather was still brutally hot and Li'l Empress was still super clingy and whiny and anxious. Her restlessness was evident in her hair-twirling and myopic focus on various things throughout the day. Heh, by lunch time if I'd heard one more request for a freezer pop, my head would have exploded. We managed most of the day by tools of re-direction, distraction, and short-term goals and little rewards along the way. We gave her short periods of time on and off the hearing aide throughout the day but didn't push it when she was ready for a break. We just re-introduced it later, as per the parameters of the trial.
Earlier in the week, friends had extended an offer of a free trip to Hershey Park for The Gang on Friday. We spent most of our down time on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday debating the merits of going or not. I knew in my gut that it would not be the best choice for Li'l Empress, given the continued heat and her still-lingering anxieties. So I decided to take advantage of the opportunity presented and made the choice for Li'l Empress and I to unplug for the day while the rest of the Gang enjoyed the sweet (pun intended) treat.
The Gang headed out bright and early Friday morning, water bottles and iPods in hand for the trip out to our friends' house and all things Hershey Park Happy. And as soon as they pulled out of the drive, the unplugging began. I let Li'l Empress sit quietly with her dry cereal and juice to watch a couple of her morning kid shows. I sat in the other room and folded towels and watched the news.
When her shows were over, the tv went off and she got dressed, made her bed, brushed her teeth, did her hair and started her day. Unplugged.
No hearing aid.
We occupied ourselves all day long, sometimes together, sometimes separately. We played the Memory Game. (I got beat soundly!) We read books. We had a couple snacks. We ate lunch together.
She colored. She did puzzle after puzzle. She played with her wubby. She read books. She had quiet time in her room with just her stuffed "buddies" and her blankie. No sleep, but she rested quietly.
I cleaned the hall closet and the game cupboard. I re-organized the crafts and consolidated them into one tidy cupboard. I made blueberry cobbler. I folded lots of laundry. I read a suspense novel.
We ate dinner quietly. We read more books. She colored and made love notes for the whole family. She took out the window markers (a rare treat usually reserved for really rainy days).
And slowly but surely over the course of the day, I could see her relaxing. She was no longer hobbling between rooms. She was laughing. She was forgetting about the band-aids. She was finding peace again.
It wasn't perfect, by any means. She freaked out a little when she first woke up and found out that she couldn't watch tv till all the kids and Daddy were gone. But I reminded her that she wouldn't watch anything if she couldn't improve her attitude and she chose wisely. She did melt down at lunch when one of the band-aids fell off. But I quietly and matter-of-factly just replaced it with a smaller, clean band-aid and moved on. So did she, after a couple prompts.
By the time she headed off to bed, I could see a huge improvement in her eyes and her posture. So much less fear, and certainly less anxiety. She was able to giggle during bedtime snuggles and prayers and was happy to crawl in for the night. Such a marked difference from the previous night even.
I'm so glad I listened to my gut instinct. I'm not a huge fan of amusement parks, so the decision wasn't going to cost me anything personally, beyond missing out on some time with our friends and watching the big kids enjoy themselves. But I knew by then (heh, again, slow on the uptake!) it could and would cost Li'l Empress dearly. A LOT more than I was willing for her to pay at the end of that difficult week. I am blessed to be married to a man who trusts my gut when it comes to our kids and this time was no exception.
And you know what? It was worth it. Though it definitely took some doing, some cajoling, and some bargaining and a couple missteps along the way, Li'l Empress was able to get in the pool and play with her sibs and her cousins for a little while on Saturday. She steered clear of the diving board, but she did it. And did it on her own terms. Considering how much she loves our pool and how much she NEEDS the activity and movement that it provides, I'm really glad she conquered that on Saturday.
Now, if we can just get past those darned band-aids. Loves them. Hates them. Can't stop thinking about them or talking about them. Sigh.