The first visit, I quietly observed. My eyes constantly filled up with tears, with each new activity. There was something so extremely different about watching KJ accomplish tasks that would/could normally cause major meltdowns and major tears of frustration. She was so relaxed. She, for the first time in a very long time, looked like a happy, joyful, kid again! I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with emotion as I watched her balance, climb, zip-line, problem solve, and push herself to reach her goals --all with such a great sense of pride and self-control (she's normally way too tough on herself and constantly overwhelmed or frustrated, especially when trying new things or trying to do something she's uncomfortable with).
'Now, if only I could see this side of her at home', I thought the entire time. I wondered what it was that allowed her to get through a challenging activity without the triggers and meltdowns. The only thing I concluded is that I must be the trigger. ha! seriously! I also, sat and wondered how these fun-filled activities were going to help her focus and get through her daily 'not-so-fun' tasks at home (school-work, chores, regular daily tasks, etc.). I sat and watched with an open-mind. Plus, I really did enjoy watching KJ be KJ again. My heart was so extremely happy.
So, fast forward to Tuesday, her second session...
Not a single melt-down all day. Not a single time-out. Not a single [what I call] "crazy" moment. Not one! She followed directions. She was loving and playful with her siblings. She followed routines so nicely --even her bedtime routine. Wow. What a wonderful day!!
I hadn't connected it, yet, to a result to OT. It never crossed my mind.
Then Wednesday happened.
KJ started her day properly and got straight to her school work. A reminder here and there were needed, but nothing I wouldn't expect in a 'normal' 10 yr old's day. School work all done in a very reasonable time. Happy, helpful, calm KJ. Praise God!
Thursday... I woke and came downstairs,with the babies, as usual. To my extreme surprise, I was happily greeted with a "Good morning mommy.". What? She's awake? and downstairs? In, what sounds like a wonderful mood!?? And then, before, getting to the bottom of the stairs, I asked what she was doing (bracing for the usual -doing something she shouldn't be...) and she happily replied, "I'm doing my school work! I figured I'd get started early so I can finish early.". WHAT?! Wow. Seriously?!
My mom is that one that pointed out that she has noticed positive changes since KJ has started OT. I agree. There have been many moments that we brace for what we are used to, but instead KJ responds calmly.
Now, I am in no way saying that three sessions have made everything perfect. There are still many, many, moments/situations that all we can do is pray about, asking for guidance, more patience, and understanding.* BUT three sessions definitely seem to have improved some moments in her days, especially while working on 'school work' and daily chores --so much progress already! And for that, I am so incredibly happy and grateful for. I'm truly looking forward to the long-term improvements that I've read about.
I'm still trying different night time routines, to find the one that works well for KJ. So, far, what seems to be working is dinner, applying my favorite night time essential oils, brush teeth, playtime with the twins (she loves to get them to chase her, as they all crawl around on the floor), read in bed for 30 mins, then goodnight cuddles and lights out.
I'm so very thankful to finally be on the right path to helping KJ.
*Yesterday was the complete opposite of everything I just wrote in this post. So many emotions took over; but in my time of praying and crying out to God, He very clearly reminded me that the end result is not nearly as important as the journey. He allowed me to let it all out, all the yucky emotions that I've been too exhausted to even feel... and then He comforted me oh so nicely. (and blessed me with the listening ear of my wonderful mommy -and her encouraging words and prayers.) Everyday is a new day. I just couldn't do this without my wonderful, loving, God.