Thursday, May 7, 2009

Every Now and Again...

Abby needed a bath last night and I was not in the mood to do bath time. So I thought she could just jump in the shower, play for a few minutes, I'd wash her hair and she'd jump out. She has done this many, many times over the course of her life.

So last night, I told Abby that I was going to go run a shower for her.
"No!" she yelled.
"Yeah." I said, "It will be fun. You haven't had a shower for while. It will be quick."
"No!" she yelled, a bit more emphatically this time.

Me being just as persistent as she is, went ahead and ran a shower anyway. There was a time when she preferred the shower over the bath and I assumed that once she was in there, she'd get over it and take her shower.

I was wrong.

She screamed all the way to the bathroom and once I put her in the shower, she screamed some more. Screamed and screamed and screamed as she clawed at the shower curtain trying to find a way out, screamed as she jumped out and ran screaming naked and dripping wet through the house. Screaming long after I said, "Ok, ok! You don't have to take a shower! It's ok, Abby! ABBY! IT'S OK! YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE A SHOWER! ABBBYYYYY! IT'S OK!"

Jeeze, Louise.

Screaming, screaming, screaming. It had been a while since she'd had a scream-fest like that. Let's hope it's a long while before we see another.

After a nice relaxing BATH, dried off and dressed in clean pj's, Abby sat quietly watching the latest DVR'd "Super Why" while I did her hair. She let me put it in 5 tight little buns to sleep in overnight, so she could have curly hair the next day. I'm always surprised by the intricate hair styles she lets me do. There are many quote/unquote "normal" kids her age who would NEVER let their parents do the buns, braids and ponytail styles that Abby lets me do. As I sat parting, combing and twisting her soft hair, I was reminded of another scream-fest we'd had when she was two.

Abby's hair was getting long and was constantly in her eyes. I thought of cutting it into a cute little pixie cut, but couldn't imagine the wrath she would bring on anyone coming near her head with scissors. I didn't figure that would be safe for her or for the stylist wielding those scissors. So I opted to go with barrettes and pony holders. But even those simple devices were regarded with extreme contempt. Whenever I tried to snap a simple butterfly shaped barrette into her hair, she reacted as if I was shoving thumb tacks into her skull. She would scream and rip it out taking a clump of hair with it.

(Notice the "Quiet" face posted in the middle of the mirror as a constant reminder)

Ok, so why force the issue, right? Right. I'm with you. Except that the only thing that would make her more crazy than her mother trying to put barrettes in her hair, was hair in her mouth. This would make her gag and scream and throw herself on the floor and scream some more. (Have I mentioned screaming in this post?) So after months of wrestling with this issue, I decide after one particularly "fun" screaming/gagging/hair-in-the-mouth session, that she was going to wear barrettes. Period.

I took 20 deep breaths, muttered some prayers for patience and persistence on my part, and gently (or not so gently) told Abby that she was going to wear barrettes that day, and if she took them out, I would put them back in, and if she took them out again, I would put them back in, and if she took them out... well you get the idea.

And I did. She screamed, I put the barrettes in, she ripped them out, screaming all the while, and I would put them back. This went on for about 15 minutes until she was sweaty and exhausted (so was I). I finally put her barrettes back in, pulled her up onto my lap with her blankie-snuggle and pacifier, and whispered softly in her ear,

"It's ok, see. Feel the barrettes in your hair. They don't hurt, do they? They will keep your hair out of your mouth. Mamma wouldn't do anything to hurt you, Abby. We're going to put barrettes in every day, so the hair stays out of your eyes and your mouth."

She settled down and literally to this day, has let me do her hair ever since, and rarely complains. I felt sooo bad that day, but I know Abby's temperament. Sometimes she needs to be forced to try new things. I try to let her make her own choices, but every now and again, she needs a little push.

Now let me say again that I felt terrible. I hate forcing her to do things. I question myself at every turn. Was that the right thing to do or the right way to do it?! Well this is one example of not liking the process, but appreciating the outcome.

After watching me get my last hair cut, Abby announced, "Abby's turn!" She wants a hair cut, so I think she's ready for her first trim. Maybe we'll make a day of it for her 4th birthday.


Becky said...

Hey Erin!
Good story, and i think u should do her hair like thatmore often during the day time!
Super Cute!
Lots of love to u all!

My name is Erin. said...

I thought the same thing, Becky. I actually thought about leaving it and said to Abby that we'd have to do that hair-do someday this summer. It was adorable. Keenan loved it, too. He kept trying to grab onto the knots. I have a picture of him lunging at her hair with a big grin on his face and Ab is running away.

Fidgeting Gidget said...

Hi! Just found you through Extranjera's blog....your pictures are great and I have a soft spot in my heart for autistic children...I worked with a non-verbal little guy a few days a week when I lived in Michigan. They are such special kids with so much love to give. Your Abby is beautiful. I can't wait to read more of your adventures and see more of your gorgeous pictures!

My name is Erin. said...

Where in Michigan did you live? We live in the Western part of the state near the Lake. We've only been here almost a year and I really love it! So glad you found me. :)

Fidgeting Gidget said...

We lived in the Metro Detroit area....really close to the Palace of Auburn Hills. We're in Canada on a work assignment and hoping to get back to MI eventually, and if we do, there's a chance we could go to the west side of the state! :) I hear it's great over there. :)

My name is Erin. said...

It is really beautiful! :)

Just a Girl said...

I had the same thing happen with my little girl and the shower. Almost exactly the same. It had been awhile since her last shower. I suggested a shower because we didn't have time for a bath. She panicked! She started screaming that she didn't want to take a shower and screamed the whole time she was in there. I mean screaming like she was dying! I felt terrible. We talked about it and turns out that she doesn't like to feel the water on her face. It scares her. She had a bad experience at the waterpark. There was a slide that had a little waterfall that you go under as you slide down. She lost her breathe and sucked in some water and it scared her. Ever since, she says she doesn't like water on her face. Poor thing, who knew? I don't push the issue anymore, but I did point out that she survived and I would never let anything harm her. She pointed out that I sent her down the slide.

My name is Erin. said...

Just a Girl- Thank you for sharing your story! The fact that she pointed out that you sent her down the slide made me laugh really hard! LOL! They are quick aren't they?! Thanks so much for reading my blog and for commenting. I love to hear from other parents experiencing similar situations. Many blessings! Hope to hear from you again!

Trojan Gayle said...

Another great post which provides a good insight to your daily life as a parent living with autism. I really feel your story and the journey that you are on.

I really enjoy your honestly showing the good along with the bad.

I have one question (as always).

How does the way you were raised help you raise Abby?

Have a great day


p.s love the pictures

My name is Erin. said...

I love your questions, Trojan. They always make me think and often about another thing I could post. Maybe I'll save the long answer for a Mother's Day post.

In a nutshell, if that's possible for me, I was raised by a single-mom who took me to church and taught me that with God, all things are possible. She taught me to honest, not only with those around me, but with myself. Here's something that I'm finding very interesting. My mom always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but after my dad left, she had to work full-time and raise us by herself. So I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, because I thought that was what I wanted, too. I feel very blessed that I have been able to stay home with my kids, (I've always waitressed a couple nights a week or worked once a week for the social aspect and some pocket money) but I realize now that it's not all it's cracked up to be. I'm grateful that I've had the choice and the opportunity, but I'm looking forward to getting a job when I get out of school. :)

So be looking for a Mother's Day inspired posting soon. If not tomorrow... then Monday.

Molly said...

Hi Erin
It's taken me a while, but here I am visiting :) I love your photography blog - your pictures are beautiful - and Gentle Giant is really great. Your honesty is wonderful and your love for your girl shines through so strongly. I hope this blog does help you to process the challenges, it certainly helps the rest of us understand them.
Thank you!

Trojan Gayle said...

Thanks for your responds and I look forward to your next posting on your blog. I often find that peoples own childhood experiances both good and bad shape the way they raise their own children.

paula said...

so sweet. My daughter does the same thing randomly.