Therapy, Undone.

While at therapy a little over a week ago, I was given homework. I was supposed to stop being the therapist and start being the mom. For me, the mom who became the "therapist" before the formal diagnosis was even made, I promised I would try but had some trouble getting it into my thick head. I am stubborn. I want what I want. I am impatient (much less than I used to be though). The first week I tried. I really did but I didn't get it.

Yesterday it clicked.

I was supposed to go home and start our ABA therapy in her little room while we worked to follow commands, link commands and move forward on our learning journey. I wanted to go home and do it. I did but I didn't have it in me and that was okay because we had therapy. Undone.

We didn't sit at a table moving tokens from the top to the bottom of the clipboard. We didn't struggle hand over hand to write, match and categorize. I like those moments. I do. I like seeing her grow and her get new concepts but I just didn't have it in me. I knew it would be half assed and I just didn't want to give her that. I wanted her to get all of me, so instead we did therapy. Undone.

We went to lunch at our local Chick Fil A, where they know us. We sat and chatted with each other. I asked her about her lunch and if she liked the chicken. She didn't. She did like her "ice dream" though. When the women at the restaurant came to chat she engaged. She tried to make eye contact and she tried to answer their questions. When she finished I was ready to go on errands but Baby Girl is not dumb, she knows every Chick Fil A has a "playground" and she marched her little legs over pulling forcefully on the door until she managed to get enough room to maneuver her little fingers in the door. We went in and I told her I was setting the timer. She said "no". Then I set the timer. She played as a grabbed some Purell wipes and waited. The timer went off and I called her down. I waited with baited breath and hoped that she understood. She came sliding down and into my arms. We wiped hands, put shoes on and made it out without a fit. This was a FIRST.

From there we headed to a number of shops but before getting out, I realized that I had forgotten her stroller. Baby Girl is a HUGE runner. Its one of the scariest behaviors she has while out with all of my kids. I contemplated turning around but remembered the errands I needed to finish and continued on with anxiety welling within. I held my breath as we crossed the parking lot waiting for a "flop". No flop. I held her hand. No squirm. We went into Justice. As I tried to pick gifts for upcoming parties, she managed to stuff every pet house with a pet (sorry employees) but I guess that was in fact matching. Her therapists would be proud. After a couple quick dashes out the door where I flung items across the store running out to grab my escape artist, she stayed close watching me as I finished my shopping.

A friend called as I walked out. She knows this journey I walk as she is paralleling me on this trail. As I explained we didn't do therapy she said, "I think its great" and I realized therapy isn't always at a table, or in a room or what I had anticipated my daughter needing. How lucky I am to have a friend who will remind me the work I am doing is therapy even when its not what I envision as such.

Today we woke to terrible weather. Sleet. Cold rain and a mama who wanted to stay in bed. I knew our therapist was out of town so I was on my own again for therapy today and I decided that yesterday went so well I would try this mixed up therapy once again.

When my wee one got off the bus we started. First I tried to feed her and instead of asking what she wanted where I end up playing 21 questions, I gave her one snack she liked and then something I wasn't sure about. She ate both. After, we headed into the family room to play. We took out her "babies" also known as Twozies, and talked about them. The lion ate the bear, the cat had whiskers and the cow? Well it gave us ice cream. If only. It seemed to go well so we moved from the family room to the tub. I ran her a bubble bath where we played and practiced above and below water. We watched as we noticed Twozies sink and played command games. This Therapy, Undone was more like playtime for us both and neither of us was stressed or sweating profusely at the end.

Today as I sat back and thought I realized exactly what my friend Stefanie meant, be mom. Mom can be a therapist but does not have to be a therapist to the extreme that I was and I also realized while ABA is important to my daughters growth, its also something that can be modified to find greater success.

The take away? So for now, on days when there isn't professional therapy, this mom is checking back in as Mama and checking out at Serrie's therapist. I also learned that therapy isn't just table time but time where you grow your child and maybe even yourself.....


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