Thursday, October 27, 2011

When 'tough love' is tougher than usual...

As readers of this blog will know, my three year old son Jack has CP. We have to do therapy at home, and try to make every activity an opportunity to stretch, bear weight, sit properly, balance.....the list goes on. It can be exhausting, both physically and mentally.

So when both kids are whingey with colds, and therefore nobody in the house is sleeping well, and you're trying to help Jack to walk with his ladder/sit on the potty/reach for a toy and he goes stiff as a board and screams 'Can't! Can't! Can't!' it can be pretty vexing and difficult to deal with.

I'm not saying that this is not pretty normal behaviour for a three year old. But when he refuses to try to do something which is critical to whether he will be able to have some independent mobility in the future? It's frustrating to the point of tears.

Do you doggedly push through it and ignore the tantrum? (Have done this). Do you doggedly push through it and tell him to stop being silly? (Have done this). Do you let him collapse in a crying heap on the floor and say you'll help him when he helps himself? And then go outside and fight back the tears? (Yep, done this too).

Jack's a great kid. And he is my first go at parenting, so I know he's the one I'll make the most mistakes on. But the stakes are so much higher for him as there are more traps and tricks involved.

And yet, yesterday we stopped at the park on the way home from the supermarket. I helped him to climb the steps on the slide, turn around on his front at the top landing, and back his feet over the slide to go down, feet first, on his tummy. Sliding all the way down BY HIMSELF. This was a milestone and I was a bit suprised that he was game enough to do it as usually he will get scared and say 'No, no, no, don't want it!'. But he did it, and was excited by his achievement.

So I must be doing something right....

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