Monday, April 2, 2012

My Spirited Child

Have you ever walked into the self help section of the bookstore and kinda smirked at the titles referring to "spirited" children. They aren't fooling anyone! We know what they really mean. They're just trying to use some politically correct words. I think my daughter was perhaps 2 when I first started browsing self help aisles for handling temper tantrums, anger, stubbornness, etc. I'd think I just was a complete failure as a parent sometimes but then I know it can't ALL be parenting. I have another kids who mind you is no perfect child but asking him to brush his teeth doesn't turn into an hour long battle ending in raging screaming fits just because the mood strikes him. There are times it does with Alex. And, it's just always been that way.

She can be the sweetest most generous child. She can be funny and entertaining. And she is so incredibly smart. Here is a kid who has missed more school days in the past few months than could be considered passable but at the same time, she has straight As. She scores in the 95th-100th percentile on standardized tests. She doesn't miss a beat. That can be good. That can be bad. Sometimes I wish she'd miss a few beats. Because you can't get nothing past her.

We attended a really nice diabetes fair Saturday. It was truly wonderful and the best part for me was it wasn't wall to wall people at one of those big convention places where you just want to get out. I don't do well in crowds. So this was a more intimate setting where you could really connect and talk to people. Alex wanted to spend her time in the kid zone and I was fine with that! She had an awesome time in the bounce house, getting her face painted, playing bingo and learning volleyball and basketball. She wanted nothing to do with any of the classes offered or the exhibits where they had some pumps, meters, etc. I wanted her to see. And I was okay with that too. It's been baby steps and just letting her be with other kids with type 1 and talking to some of the awesome teen/young adult volunteers in the kid zone was good for her.

But....here is where I whine...why does everything have to be so difficult with her? My husband and I attended the classes including one on how to help your child cope with diabetes. Some of the kids chose to come to the class and participate. All of the kids we met including another girl recently diagnosed talked about doing their own blood testing. My girl CAN do her blood testing. She did it for about 24 hours. And then she decided she didn't want to anymore. She said she is too scared of the poker. She had a low (65) and poked herself and scraped the side of her finger really bad because she was shaking. And that was the end of it. She'll set up the meter. She'll squeeze out the blood for the strip. But she won't use the poker. I've tried having her push the button without a needle inside. I've tried having her poke me or a stuffed animal. She isn't having it. She says she'll live with me forever before she'll do it again. I've tried bribing her with toys. I've explained she can't visit friends without me until she can do her own blood testing. I've told her I'll poke her whenever she is feeling low or shaky if she'll just do it all other times. I've threatened. I've begged. I've pleaded. She isn't having it. Someone at the class stated they forced their child to do their own testing at age 6 after 2 weeks home from the hospital and they've done it ever since. Well how do you force someone who won't be forced? I asked that question. Everyone looked at me like they didn't understand how I couldn't just force her.

I don't know what to do. She is seeing a counselor. I do think it helps. She does willingly comply with testing. She complies with shots. She logs her food. I look at these kids and I hear these kids who all seem to accept their self care as a part of life. When will mine? And what is it that I'm not doing to make it like so? I'm hoping camp helps. I do believe she's made progress - and that's the key I guess. Alex always has made her progress in her own time. She was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at age 5. I still have to go in public bathroom stalls with her because the noise scares her. So many things scare her and take more time than usual. It can be so exhausting. And it's so embarrassing sometimes too. You can be out in public and your almost 10 year old kid is having some meltdown because she freaked out over a bee or a storm cloud or whatever and people are looking at you like why can't you control that big kid acting like a 2 year old?

I suppose I could throw up my hands and do what was suggested when Alex was in the hospital refusing to let us do her shots and take up the offer for Prozac from a psychiatrist but frankly, I don't think that's the answer. I'm all for drugs when drugs are needed. But I don't know. Alex will do things and try new things....but in her time, not ours. I just have to keep reminding myself she'll get there. She's tough and she is brave and she is smart. She won't want her mommy following her around college with her poker...I hope...

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