I could not believe it yesterday. Such a sweet, adorable child... so willing, so happy, so loving! And I let her know just how much I appreciated and enjoyed her.
And then she asked me for the new clothes I had forgotten about.
I happily consented. I told her she had earned them. They were school clothes I had picked up for her on Monday, but when she had given Vanessa such a hard time that very evening I just put the bag on the dresser and never told her about them. I figured she didn't need to be rewarded for her behavior. Out of sight, out of mind for me.... but she found them a few days later and I told her I had bought them for her on Monday but couldn't give them to her when she was so out of control and she would have to wait until I had seen some improvement in her respect to others before I was willing to share them with her.
She got the clothes and she was very excited to lay them out for school last night. Sigh...! This morning such a different child got up and put those clothes on. There was nothing left to work for, I guess. The unbelievable change was night and day.
So challenging to accept when I know it does NOT have to be this way.
I tried everything in the book to work with her. Finally I took the clothes back and folded them and put them away. I found her another outfit and literally dressed her because she wasn't cooperating in anything. It went from there... James left to catch the bus and she was refusing to eat, etc.... then the tantrum started because the bus left without her.
THREE HOURS of it.
It is so amazing how much and how far a child can regress in seconds.
She carried on much like a two year old would (only longer, harder). There was no reasoning left. Her speech was the next to go - she was completely back to her old pronunciations, and weird speech patterns. She "could not" so much as repeat a phrase without changing the structure back to her old way of leaving out most words and was mostly unintelligible.
IT WAS A HARD DAY.
I did everything I knew.
We eventually wore out the tantrum but defiance would not leave.
We ended up nose to nose - both refusing to budge. I told her she wouldn't win and I wouldn't lose on this one. Too much was at stake. I do a lot to avoid getting to this point with her. REALLY HONESTLY... It is not wise for things to come to this, and I pray it never happens again, but there we were and I COULD NOT LOSE this battle.
And suddenly she gave in. Her face softened and she was willing to work with me. It was over, but it was too late for school. She vacuumed and washed floors, and folded laundry, and went walking the rest of the day. This evening she participated with the family just fine.
We have a behavior management program being offered to us for free. It's designed for Developmentally Delayed kids. Someone will come out to our house and work with us to find ways to handle her and ways for her to handle herself. I have no expectations. It's free. It's offered. I have to take advantage of whatever is available. Should things get worse (which I don't expect, but can't predict) I need to have at least be fully informed and aware of what is available to her. Who knows, maybe we will both learn something. I have to do everything possible to make life better for her. Tantrums take their toll on her (and the rest of us) - especially these long ones.
We're back to really tight reins, which will be cause for frequent outbursts. She knows cause and effect. She knows she's been out of control. She understands that she needs outside boundaries as she obviously doesn't have any of her own right now, but she's not happy about it.
My child, I pray for your heart. I know you can be happy and I know you can do so well. Choices are everything. His grace is sufficient... YOU can make the right ones.