After a great start on our therapy homework earlier this weekend, we encountered a bit of a hiccup. It seems a mild level of frustration has set in, and Simon has been a little less willing to "go with it" when it comes to completing our home exercises.
We've been trying very hard to make them into play. For example, we were to practice picking things up from the floor, tossing things, and carrying a bucket 50 feet. To "kill 3 birds" I pulled out his little Tellytubby plush toys (a favorite character) and a mini sand pail. I put the Tubbies on the floor and Simon and I got very excited about going to collect them in the bucket. This went well. Then, we carried the bucket to show Daddy in the kitchen. No problem. Afterwards, we dropped the pail "uh-oh!" (in our best imitation of the Tellytubbies voices), and so we had to toss them back in the bucket. Okay. Simon wasn't able to toss anything at all, but we tried, and everybody was pretty happy.
Until the next time.
We have to repeat these exercises each day, sometimes more than once according to the worksheet we were given. Simon, I think, just got tired. It has also started to occur to him that some favorite activities are a lot more difficult -- or impossible, at present. The worst was the upset over his Leapster. I should have thought about putting this toy away in advance, and do I feel awful about it. It is a favorite activity (he is very fond of anything with tech, or video, or music, or buttons, and this has it all!), but even on a good day he struggles a little. It is difficult to operate the controller with only one hand, but with is right he manages, mostly. Unfortunately, his left hand is too weak to even push the buttons. This made him very, very upset. I tried to offset his frustration by helping him play, but it wasn't the same, and the poor kid dissolved into a well-deserved inconsolable melt-down that lasted quite awhile.
By they end of this weekend Simon was tired, crabby and frustrated, and so were we. However, we still had some therapy homework to complete, and we are really trying to avoid the "let's just pop a video in and get some peace" tactic as much as possible (we did use that eventually, but we saved it for last). Instead, we used a tactic that we have refined into an art form over the past 8 years of parenting, particularly the last 4.75 - Divide and Conquer. This method really began in force when Simon was a baby and didn't sleep through the night for his first year of life. With all he'd been through physically, we were reluctant to attempt the "cry it out" method. For months we walked around like zombies, until somehow, somewhere, in that fog it dawned on us to take turns. One night on, one night off. One night you sleep when you can get it, but the next -- blissful, uninterrupted unconsciousness! (Does anyone appreciate sleep more than the parents of a newborn?) From that time on, living by this motto, we have survived.
Now we exercise this more for sanity's sake. If we have a lot of errands to run, or things to do over a weekend, we will each take a kid. This afternoon, when we'd about reached the end of our stamina, we took turns simply to get a break. Brian went first -- hiding in the basement to chill and watch the football game. I went after, working on a crochet project and catching part of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon (yup, I just confessed to that).
In the end, Simon did his homework without completely dissolving into a puddle, and Brian and I can both claim to have gotten a little R&R. The kids are now tucked snugly into bed, and it is time to get ready for the Monday post-holiday (guaranteed to be a most Mondayish Monday.)
There's laundry to fold, lunches to make, and a yoga bag to pack. Then, I think I will go find my PJ's and catch the rest of Buffy. Sweet dreams, everyone!