Hitting the Wall
When I used to do intensive occupational therapy with very young children, about 2/3 of the way through their 3 week program, they would all inevitably seem to “hit the wall.” When I would walk in that morning, they would take one look at me, arch their backs and start screaming. They were sick of me and my toys and my high-pitched, perky voice trying to make them use their arm that they never even knew they had in the first place.
Jian hit that wall yesterday, just like clock-work. It was her day off from therapy, but we had brought home her new crutches and were instructed to practice with them. She had basically been resting all day and eating everything in sight, (a sign that her muscles are recovering and needing fuel!) When I asked her to put her shoes on and “play a game” with me for a few minutes, she was having none of it. After several minutes of whining, I told her that all she had to do was use the crutches to walk to the bathroom so that she could take a bath and go to bed. Long story short, 30 minutes later, she was still yelling, and I was totally drained. Apparently I don’t care about her and am always trying to make her do hard work 🙂 Ten years ago, when I was the therapist, I intellectually understood that this was happening, but now as the parent, I can feel the emotional toll it takes.
On a good note, though, she had a really good day today. She tolerated her stretching, wore her suit to help her alignment, worked really hard with her crutches, walking up and down stairs beautifully several times, wearing her backpack, etc. The last hour of therapy was spent playing at the cool “Jammin’ Gym” at Children’s Hospital. It is a room full of huge tunnels, slides, ball pit, trapeze bar, etc. She walked a very long way in the parking garage to and from the car and had a blast working in the new gym. We have one more week of this therapy scheduled. I am wanting her skills to translate a little bit more into our every day lives, as she is being very cooperative inside of the clinic, but still not really wanting to walk without my help anywhere else. It is a tricky tight-rope for me, as we are also dealing with adoption/bonding/psychological issues and not just the physical needs. One day at a time, one step at a time, we will get there.