Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Observation without assumption

Sunday we had a visitor.

Ordinarily this would not be blog worthy material but, I mention it (mostly) because she has been such an important part of our journey (and instrumental in furthering my understanding of my children), and also because she is such an inspirational lady.

Her name is Felicity Evans. Yes, I have mentioned her before here in my blog-life, but she certainly deserves another mention today. Her visits are fleeting and far between due to the fact that she still works full-time at Nature Kids whilst also watching over some of those children who have long since left her care and can no longer even be called children!

I open the door to find her laden with bags (as always)! She has a plethora of outdoor toys (shuttle cocks, hula hoops, bats, balls, boomerangs and more), clothes for Harriet and healthy snacks for all (serving to remind me that I must do better in this regard). She never fails to delight us all upon her arrival. She seems to have an  instinct for what we all want/need and I marvel at her intuition.

A visit from Felicity is valuable for me on so many levels. She 'sees' my children for one! Such a revelation. She also never fails to notice just how intricately I manage my household (reminding me that true professionals make whatever it is they are doing look easy). She delights in mine and my children's idiosyncrasies and allows us all to be completely ourselves.

Let's flash to when she drew up for a moment in order to illustrate this better.

I want to paint a picture of what Dominik was doing, literally, as he watched her pull up in her car.

Background -

His little brother broke his television a couple of months ago so, I put a claim to our insurance company and was given the money to replace it. I did this and I 'upgraded' it while I was at it. It is much bigger and has much better picture quality than his old one did.

The picture quality is where the problem has arisen and Dominik is convinced he should have the new television because 'he cares more about the graphics' and his 'PS4 has the ability to make use of those better graphics and the PS3 doesn't'.

Both of these things are indeed true.

However, Dominik was offered a new television at Christmas which he turned down in favour of the PS4. Fair enough. End of discussion as far as I am concerned.

Fast forward to Sunday.

Dominik begins chasing Hannon around the house screaming and swearing at the top of his voice, that he is going to swap the television for his and that is that. We have already been over this dozens of times at this point and Dominik knows that I am NOT going to change my mind. For once, Hannon is going to have something brand new and excellent all for himself.

So, I open my front door as I run past it (baby in arms) trying to intercept Dominik and free Hannon before it turns violent. I scream "Come in!" as I pass. Dominik now has Hannon cornered in the kitchen where he is cowering under the table. Bugger.

I manage to put myself between them for long enough that Hannon can escape back upstairs to sanctuary.

Felicity has come in and as she enters the kitchen. I introduce her to Harriet. Meanwhile, Dominik is still swearing and shouting at me about the television.

I do my best to empathise and console him (this works most of the time) but to no avail. He drops to the floor and crawls under the table. I try to coax him out with promises of pineapple and strawberries and by encouraging him to smile at Harriet, but he is having none of it today. Oh well. I look at Felicity and she beckons me to leave him be, so I do.

We continue our 'Hello's' and within about 3 minutes Dominik has crawled out from under the table (perhps sensing that it is safe to do so?), with his hand covering his face declaring that he doesn't want to see anyone and just wants to be alone. We watch him go.

Felicity then quietly comments on how calmly I handled the situation and, more importantly, she points out how amazingly quickly and well Dominik handled the situation and was able to self-regulate and calm himself down.

She is right. In recent weeks Dominik has been far more capable of regulating himself on lots of levels (although not all as the incident in the woods evidenced). He no longer eats copious amounts of rubbish food, he steps away from the screen when he needs to, he comes out with us far more regularly (provided it is not too far in the car), he showers when he thinks he needs to (this isn't anywhere near as often as I think he needs to, but, well, it's a start) and he knows what actions to take when he feels himself losing control.

What an amazing achievement! Some people arrive at adulthood, with no special needs whatsoever and can't manage to do that.

Thank you Felicity for helping me consciously observe Dominik.

Thanks for reading and please, if you have any thoughts, please do share them in the comments or by email.

Take good care.

N x

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