I wrote a letter to Gabi's teacher tonight that I thought I would share with all of you. First let me give you a little background information that will help you to understand some of the content. Our household has been sick the last couple weeks. Everyone but me has been majorly sick (Preston was the worst.) Gabi has a communication paper sent back and forth to school for her teacher and I to keep communication about pertinent information regarding anything going on with her. Today's message from her teacher said, "She had a rocky start with hitting Ms. Carrie. She settled down and was great."
I wanted to tell you about Gabi, but it was too long to put on the communication paper. We went back to Awana tonight after being off for 2 weeks with sicknesses. I spoke to her prior to going because her Smilemaker (aide for those with special needs) mentioned last time we were there that she wasn't trying to participate and was wanting to go off on her own to play. I just reminded her that she needed to listen and she needed to do work too. I noticed that her Smilemaker wasn't there and it was already time for class to start. The Awana teacher seemed comfortable enough with Gabi so I left her in class and went to take Preston to his.
Preston totally flipped out screaming, crying and clinching my neck with a death grip. I tried to stay in the class with him until he calmed, but it was obvious that he was making it worse for the others in the class. I went ahead and took him back out to the lobby where he calmed down. Once calmed he was wrecking havoc all over the place and even ran out the door, through the parking lot, and to the van once. I was very tempted to just pull Gabi out of Awana and all go home. It was a waste of a night anyhow, right? Preston didn't make it to his class, I wasn't going to make it to worship or my class, and Gabi's smilemaker wasn't there! I figured I'd probably be doing her teacher a favor by pulling her out. Preston ran up to her class once, but they were out of the room. I decided to just wait it out with Preston until Gabi's class returned.
Gabi's class didn't return until pick up time. They were in Kid's Church. I seen Gabi in line coming down the hall with her class and knowing in my head that the moment she spotted me she was gonna dash out of line straight for me like she always does. I noticed when her eyes met me and I just held up my hand to let her know not to run. You could see she wanted to but resisted the urge and continued to walk in line back into her class. Once her teacher finished counting all of the kids and all were accounted for, he turned to me and said, "Gabi had a wonderful day! Her smilemaker wasn't here, but she participated well, played games with the class and even won the first game!" I was so happy that she did so well especially since I underestimated her. I gave her a hug and told her how proud I was of her.
We began to walk out and I could tell that Preston was gonna make a mad dash for the parking lot again. So, I swooped him up and carried him out. This made him mad, and he started kicking, screaming, biting, scratching and pinching! I was thoroughly embarrassed by his behavior. I offered to let him down if he held my hand, but he just kept saying, "I no wanna hold your hand!" I knew he wouldn't anyhow. The screaming fit continued all the way to the van, while I buckled him and all the way home! Yes he's feeling much better now!
Anyhow, I tell you this because even a minute of Preston doing this sends Gabi into meltdown mode! She walked calmly to the van, got in, put her seat belt on and resisted any inkling of meltdown until we were about 3/4 of the way home. She let out a little scream which I quickly addressed with, "Gabi you have been a very good girl and Preston is not being very good." She stopped and continued to hold her composure the rest of the way home. Once I got Preston to bed, I came back to Gabi's room to get her to bed. I held her and told her again how proud I was and how happy she made me. She said, "Mommy's happy, but Carrie's angry." I asked, "Is it because you hit Ms. Carrie today?" She nodded. "Don't hit anymore, and make sure you tell Ms. Carrie you are sorry, okay?" She nodded again. I was surprised that she even remembered it or mentioned it. I hadn't even talked to her about it yet!
She's growing up, and she's actually "getting it!" I remember the days when I would ask with great frustration, "When is she gonna just 'get it?'" Some days, I wondered if it would ever happen. I just thought I'd share this with you because of the progress she is showing.
Most moms and dads of a child with Special Needs know what I mean about "getting it." I have heard many parents in frustration wonder if their child will ever "get it." The best way to describe it to others who may not understand "getting it" is like an understanding, the ability to connect the pieces, being able to understand the cause and effect or even a negotiation or reasoning.