I just want more for you than this
My brilliant, challenging little man.
One day you will read this post and see these photos. I want you to understand why I took them.
Sometimes you ask me why I'm sad. Mummy isn't sad. Mummy just wants more for you than this.
We have about three hours together every morning before you go to daycare. The first photo is how you wake up most mornings. Anxious.
Every morning I try to make a difference for you. Ive experimented with night lights so you don't wake up and get a fright. Ive tried turning the hallway lights on - and off .... and a combination of both. I've used the lights in the next room to create an ambient glow that gently enters your room as you wake. You might say: "why didn't you just just open the curtains?" - because there's no sunlight at 5am.
After 30 minutes of me suggesting you stop yelling "I'm sad!!" (rather than join me in the next room) you crawled out into the hallway and lay on the floor staring at the lights. I had to put the baby down in the middle of his feed to come turn the lights off so you didn't hurt your eyes.
The baby waited patiently for me to go back to him, and then you cried some more because you didn't want to come in the lounge if HE was in there, because you don't "yike" him. I don't think this is true - you were just upset and you don't know how to 'unwind' after a sensory meltdown.
After hallway negotiations, you agreed to eat breakfast if I made cheese on toast. You 'yuv' cheese on toast but only processed cheese; not the crusts; it can only be melted but not toasted or bubbled and it has to be small rectangles, not squares. I got all those things right today - but you didn't like the texture - wrong bread.
After a sensory meltdown, the rest of the morning is hard on both of us.
We have one hour left before daycare this morning and for the first time since 5am, you're not fighting with me. It's a breather - but you're not engaging with me at all right now. You're watching the iPad and eating three pieces of toast.
Then you'll tell me you're not hungry anymore. I'll let your toast go cold and yuck until you refuse to touch it and then I'll clear it away. When we arrive at daycare you'll tell them you're hungry and your tummy is empty.
Soon I'll get your clothes out and help you get dressed. You'll climb over the bed, jump up and down, run in and out of the room and complain about the one tag I haven't cut out of that one t-shirt. After I cut it out, I'll have to convince you it's gone and listen to you repeat over and over how you didn't 'yike' that tag.
You'll complain about the shoes. You'll make me wait at the car while you run off to investigate a buzzing sound from a power line at the end of the driveway. You'll panic as we drive along the river and you see the tree trunks are submerged and tonight you'll ask me over and over if the river is going to swallow our house. I'll probably drive the long way to day care to avoid the river, and you'll probably yell at me because that's outside the 'routine' and you don't 'yike' to go this way. Either way I'm screwed.
The peaceful part of our morning was the seven minutes where you ate three toast mini-rectangles and the highlight will be when you kiss me goodbye at daycare, with a big happy face that shows no hint of the stressful morning we've had. Other mums will wonder why I haven't even brushed my hair (I'm out of my pyjamas bitch, back up off me).
Tomorrow we'll go through this again but I'll know to use a different bread, and check for all the tags. Maybe we'll use the kitchen light to throw an ambient glow around the bend, down the hall, and into your bedroom. Eventually, I will get it right, and help you find what it is that makes your brain engage positively at the start of the day ... because I want more for you than this.
I want you to learn how to solve your own problems - so I'll figure it out first, then I can teach you, and you'll be able to apply those mechanisms to solving other problems. Some parents tell me I have to let you figure it out - but how can you, when every time your brain tries to process a thought, some sensory assault blind-sides you, and robs you of your clear thinking space? No, this will be my job every morning and one day I might even reflect on it as having been my privilege - to help you understand the world around you, and figure things out for yourself step by step.
Every morning could be another frustrating stressful start to the day - but it could also be the day we finally figure it out. Let's just keep trying, ok?
This blog was written by Katrina Lassey. Katrina is an international award-winning nail artist and 'Grand Master of the Realm' at Beauty FX where she blogs about the beauty industry and life's ups and downs. (In her own words, "A sense of humour would be helpful when reading my posts ... they're off topic as hell").
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