Maura has always been able to express herself well. But back and forth communication, that’s where we have struggled. And lately, Maura’s gone more quiet on me, so I’ve gone more “Use words” on her. Because we’re still teaching her how best to communicate to others, and not everyone gets interpretive dance.
Today – well, it’s been a rough morning because of older siblings who don’t understand that their possessions are the coolest things that must be pillaged by Maura in pure Viking style. Older siblings are also bossy, like saying how you can’t take a bite out of a slice of leftover pizza then put it back in the box.
So to communicate her frustrations, Maura let them know, loudly, what she thought of her siblings interferences. Then threw the slice of pizza at Sean. Then picked up the slice of pizza upon being ordered to as I told her that throwing pizza was rude. (“Rude” is a word she gets – I don’t know why, but she does, so we use it.)
Maura picked up the pizza, and went to take an angry bite out of it. Sean, being the horrible older brother that he is, stopped her from eating the now dog-hair coated slice.
Maura screamed at this interference. I watched our morning going downhill quickly. She sat on the ground. I sat on the ground with her. I told her Sean was trying to be nice, that the pizza got dirty, he was being a good brother. I didn’t know how much was getting through to her. But she pointed to her hand – the hand she bites when angry or frustrated. I rubbed it gently and said “Don’t bite yourself honey, it’s…” I paused to come up with a word.
“Rude?” she finished.
“Yes! It’s rude to Maura. Be nice to you.”
“Sorry Mom. Hug?”
You get all the hugs sweetie. Because today, we were able to discuss the situation, however simply it might have been. The ability to discuss the situation and all the feelings is a huge step forward for us, one we’ve been working on for…well…ever. It sounds so easy, the conversation above. But it was preceded by stuff being thrown, Maura screaming, me yelling “ENOUGH!” at her, her screaming some more, the dog nosing in to try to figure out who was hurt and how she could help only to step on Maura’s toe which caused more screaming, until both of us were sitting on the floor and using our words.
This is sort of our M.O. – I get pushed to the edge of “I don’t think I can do this anymore” and then bam! A little sparkling moment of breakthrough. And however little that moment, its sparkle keeps me going until the next one. It’s not because I’m a saint or a superhero. It’s because I can’t give up on the girl who doesn’t give up on anything. And these little moments, these big little moments, are the reward for everything.