As the mom of an awesome special needs daughter, I often find myself in the position of needing to make important decisions in a split second!
Making the best decisions to achieve the best outcomes can, quite frankly, be confusing, daunting, and even a bit scary! I certainly don’t want to end up regretting the choices I’ve made for days, weeks, months, or even years to come. That’s why I have to pick and choose my battles wisely!
My daughter, Bethany doesn’t understand time constraints, that the whole world doesn’t revolve around her schedule, and that the whole world won’t wait for her!
It was Independence Day and Bethany wanted to see the fireworks. Since I’d do just about anything to make her hard life as happy as possible, I wanted her to see the fireworks too. Then without thinking about it, I made the stupid mistake of telling her she had to take a shower before we could go.
I immediately regretted that decision, because I knew she would want to wait until it was dark outside to take her shower just like she always does, but if she waited until it was dark we would risk missing the fireworks. However, the deed was done and I knew I could not go back on my word or she would think she wouldn’t have to take a shower the next time, and she might take a shower for something important like going to a doctor’s appointment.
As it turned out, she did wait to take her shower until it got dark, but we managed to get to the fireworks just in the nick of time, anyway, thank goodness!
Making the decision requiring Bethany to take a shower first was just plain ridiculous on my part. I don’t know what I was thinking or if I was really thinking at all! The only thing it accomplished was causing unnecessary anxiety for both of us. Taking a shower was just not all that important in this case. No one was even going to see that she needed to take a shower. All we were going to do was sit in the dark and enjoy the fireworks!! I should have done us all a favor and not have chosen to have this battle!
Bethany also has trouble with transitions…big time. Getting her to stop wearing her winter coat and gloves this summer has been nearly impossible. Just this morning, a hot, sunny July day, she wanted to wear her coat and gloves to go to the pool! I refused to let her wear her coat, knowing full well that she might refuse to go at all if I didn’t let her wear it. I did compromise on the gloves, though, so she left for the pool wearing her swim suit and winter gloves!
This time, I knew that I couldn’t let her wear her coat anymore this summer, because it is getting hotter and she could have a heat stroke!! I also knew that if she refused to go to the pool today that there would be many other days to try again. This incident actually provided a great opportunity to pick this particular battle! Bethany demands a mile if you give her an inch and if I give in once, she’ll expect the same always!! If I let her have one candy bar, she will demand ten, so we generally don’t let her have much candy.
Bethany is extremely ritualistic.
If we do something more than once, that activity will more than likely become part of a long ritual. If we do anything more than once in a row, then she will add that particular thing or activity to her ritual of activities that she absolutely must perform every single time. If I sing her a silly song trying to get her to take a shower, then she will add singing that song to her already lengthy shower time ritual. If we buy her a pizza on the way to the beach, then she will expect/ demand to get a pizza every single time we go to the beach.
Trying to figure out just what the best decision is in different situations can be intimidating.
Deciding when to let Bethany have her own way or stand my ground is often overwhelmingly challenging because she is so prone to throwing the occasional mega meltdown at home and in public, and meltdowns are such uncomfortable incidents for everyone involved that I try to avoid them at all costs!
I’ve learned the hard way, through much trial and lots of errors that I simply must be extremely wise and shrewd when picking and choosing my battles about, for, and with my daughter, Bethany.
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