Monthly Archives: July 2013

Glowing fishing

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We went fishing! Okay, okay, not real fishing… but it was real to Maddy. Bath time is a huge battle ground in our house. Not just a I-don’t-really-like-baths kind of thing, an epic, anxiety producing, meltdown causing, battle ground.

It causes enough anxiety, that sometimes the first thing Maddy says when she wakes up is “No bath,” even though it’s 12 hours (or more) from her bath time. She randomly talks about not having a bath during the day, sometimes perseverating on it for a half hour or so. It’s gotten to the point that Maddy is now afraid of Eric and I showering – and randomly says, “No mommy shower. No daddy shower.” She regularly cries now when one of us showers.

We know it’s anxiety. We’re working with our behavioural team, and a mental health counsellor who specializes in little ones to work through it. But, man, it’s tough. It’s tough seeing how anxiety provoking certain (and seemingly simple) things can be. Wide-eyed, terrified looks, panicked vocalizations, and an increased heart rate, that can ultimately lead to a completely rigid body and meltdown. Heartbreaking.

Hair washing seems to be one of the big causes of these issues. As a result, we really only wash Maddy’s hair once a week (unless we really need to because of a syrup incident, or something similar). We’ve tried putting a wash cloth on her back so her wet hair doesn’t touch her back…. not successful. We’ve worked really hard on looking up while we rinse her hair (a picture on the shower ceiling is quite useful)… not successful. We are really at a loss at what we can do to make the actual experience better.

So… if we can’t make hair washing feel better… why not make the bath tub more fun? It can’t hurt! A week or so ago we picked up a bag full of goodies to make bath time fun and special. Some of the things we got are oversized glasses that Eric and I will only wear during bath time. We bought special balls, balloons, bubbles, and fun purple goggles to see if Maddy likes them on. I’ve already started a new list of things to get: a baby we can wash in the tub together, and crayons she can colour on the walls with.

This week, we started with a magnetic fishing set, and glow sticks. The first night we started with the fishing set only. After we fished for a while, Maddy suggested that we wash the fish with soap. She soon realized it would be much easier to do if she got in the tub. She insisted she wanted to stand, but again, realized on her own if she sat down it would be easiest. Eventually it turned into a game of, “Can you wash your feet? Can you wash your elbow?” Maddy even asked me to wash her back for her! It was a huge success… until we washed her hair. I was tempted to skip it, but we had just come back from a weekend of camping, and it had been awhile. Mama fail.

Given the mama fail above, Maddy was no longer interested in fishing. I amped it up. I added glow sticks to the water and turned off the lights. I promised Maddy that there was no bath tonight, just playing, and she tentatively joined in.

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By the end of our fishing experience, I was sitting on the edge with my feet in, and Maddy was standing in the water. This time I didn’t ruin the experience with a hair washing.


Honestly, I’m not sure who will have the most fun during Maddy’s bath time now 😉

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Little gal, big personality

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We recently switched Maddy’s ABA therapy from centre-based to home-based. Hands down, it’s the best decision we’ve made. It is like heaven being in the house while Maddy’s in the loft with one of her two therapists. We can actually clean. Or cook. Or read. Or catch up on missed work. Or a number of other activities that can only be done when Maddy is not around. We get 4.5 hours of that time each week now. It’s my favourite part of the week.

Maddy loves when her “special friends” come and play. She asks about them all week, and knows that when they come over, their attention is focused on her. They always arrive with a bag full of goodies, and Maddy loves seeing what’s new.

The other thing I love about home-based therapy, is that our relationship with our therapists is different. They come into our house (often when it’s super messy), they know more about our personal life, and we have moments where we chat. I can understand the families that have told us that the therapists become a part of the family.

Today after 1.5 hours of blissful dinner making, kitchen cleaning, and couch sitting, Maddy and her therapist “Cole” as Maddy lovingly refers to her came downstairs. Nicole gave me some interesting insights into Maddy.

First, she told us that she spends half of her session negotiating with Maddy (first do not preferred activity, then we can do preferred activity). This is something she sees a lot with the 10 year olds she works with, but not often in kids Maddy’s age. I quote, “Maddy has a really strong personality. She has the personality of a 10-year-old.”

I couldn’t restrain my laughter. Other evidence that Maddy is 2 going on 12:

  • She regularly tells Eric and I to either “leave” or “go away” (my personal favourite was the time she kicked me out of the car and told Eric, “No pick mommy up” after I fake left)
  • The words, “No like mommy” have been heard in our house more than once

Nicole also told us that Maddy is a rule kid. She has noticed that once Maddy hears a rule, she never forgets it. Apparently all through therapy she repeats, “No Loki eat it,” “No Loki on couch,” etc. I think Nicole might have left out some of the cringe-worthy rules 😉

This was a huge eye opener for us, because we were thinking of these as demands. But, Nicole is seeing them as Maddy repeating something she views as a rule. It makes a lot of sense why she can become so upset if she thinks it’s a rule that’s not being followed. It also goes along with the daycare report that Maddy is the only child who remembers exactly where everything goes in the room. During clean-up time, Maddy spends as much time cleaning up as she does moving the things the other kids put away in the “wrong” place. They’ve told me on more than one occasion that Maddy is really good at and really enjoys cleaning.

Nicole had a few other insights that will help us as we move forward with goal setting. Our decision to move to home-based therapy is already paying off.