We got into Philly late last night- much later than we planned. I immediately gave Hope her meds. I told both girls to get PJs on. Hope told me she was watching TV. I said it was to late- Pjs. Hope was off and attacking. I was caught by surprise and she did quite a bit of damage to the left side of my body before I had her safely restrained. I couldn’t stop her from screeching at the top of her lungs. Not good at 11 o’clock at night in a motel in an unfamiliar city. I was expecting police to knock on my door because it sounded like someone was killing her. When the Dad finally came in the room (5 minutes? 10 minutes? 30 minutes later?) I was in real pain and angry that again I had Hope by myself when she went off and I hurt. I vented to my Trauma Mamas and had a hard time sleeping. I think both the pain and stress both contributed to my bad night. I ended up getting a little less than three hours of sleep.
We were right on time for our appointment this morning, despite Hope resisting. The first hour plus, Hope drew in the other room while the AT worked with us. I had a lot to say. I told her I was tired of being hurt and it could not happen anymore. She agreed with me. I told her if the Dad worked after the mornings session Hope would not comply and again she agreed with me. The Dad agreed to work after Hope was in bed for the night. Hope is now asleep and The Dad is working.
The AT explained what was going to happen the rest of the session. It was purely behavioral. The AT said she would teach Hope to do jumping jacks and toe touches “her” way. After she was sure Hope had mastered them, she would explain the new rules to Hope. The new rules were really only one rule- Hope has to ask The Dad or I for everything. Ask to sit down, ask to get up, ask for a drink, ask to put on shoes. If she forgets to ask, we tell her how many jumping jacks or toes touches we want. The rules are
- Stand at attention
- Ask for permission to start in a respectful voice
- Use proper form
- Count each one
- Maintain eye contact
Afterwards, we are to ask her why she had to do them. If she doesn’t know, we just tell her.
If she tries to do what we ask, but misses a step, we are to tell her that was a good try but she missed something and ask her if she knows what she missed. She then has to start over again.
If at any point she refuses, or has attitude, she has to sloppy sit until she is ready to do it correctly. If she refuses to sit by herself, we have to help her. That is called a takedown (looks just like a restraint to me). She shows us by using her body when she is ready to comply by changing from a sloppy sit to strong sitting. When she does, we say “It looks like you are ready to do your jumping jacks” and give her another chance to do them. When they are (finally) done correctly, we smile and say good job and life moves on. Wash, rinse, repeat.
The AT said it was going to be a long hard battle with Hope and that she was a really difficult kid already. She said she knew this even before she had to do a takedown because from the very beginning, Hope had an internal battle that could be seen on her face as the AT was teaching her what was expected. Even when Hope complied, it was obviously costing her a great deal of energy to comply.
We went back to the hotel to practice. Hope hated every second of having to ask for everything and do jumping jacks when she “forgot”, She had three major meltdowns this afternoon, each one worse than the previous one. She was asleep by 7:30.
Tomorrow is a full day session with just The Dad and I. We are already exhausted.