Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Typical activites and my special child (Day 2 of 31/21)

Today Cate & I start a new adventure, Girl Scouts!  Well actually Daisies I guess, but either way this is an adventure for both of us.  This is one of those things I know will be great for Cate but scares me to leave her alone to do so I volunteered myself as a helper.  Do I worry that she won't be accepted or won't be able to handle it?  NOPE, not for one second.  Our elementary school has been nothing but accepting to Cate and the teacher who is leading the group is as nice as she can be and she is excited Cate is joining them.  The reason I am volunteering for Girl Scouts is that I'm afraid Cate will get away with too much.   I know absolutely that every child with a special need is different and will react to the same situation differently so the generalizations I am about to make are true for Cate but not necessarily for any other kids with DS.  But here is its - Cate is stubborn and manipulative.  OK before you think I am a horrible mom, I don't actually think those are terrible traits for her to have.  The 'stubborn' is a necessary evil because without it how does she make it through the long processes to learn things that just happen with other kids as they grow?  The 22 months and a hundred hours of therapy before she walked, 3 years before she talked and still does therapy to perfect, half an hour a night to do a 15 minute homework assignment.  OK so that last one is not a great example because half of the extra time is me fighting her stubbornness to not work,  the point is that Cate needs to be stubborn to succeed in a lot to things.  Now the manipulative trait - the first time I remember Cate manipulating a situation to get what she wanted from a therapist, the therapist was over the moon excited.  Why?  Because manipulation in Cate's form, take a lot of mental processing, memory, and ability to read a social situation.  In dance class last year it was a month before we realized that she was telling her helper she had to go potty every session during a certain period, going into the potty by herself, staying inside for 5 minutes, then coming out and back to class.  Seems legitimate doesn't it?, unless you know that she can't take off her own leotard and definitely couldn't get it back on by herself so she was really using this easy excuse to take a break by herself.  This happened over and over again last summer as Cate did many different summer camps & activities which you may remember from some of my posts.  In every situation she was in a typical camp, typical peers, a new group leader and she did great.  She also got some special treatment in each one.  For the most part it was small stuff that really did matter and the showed how much the groups like her.  Like in vacation bible school - every day I walked in to the end of day wrap up session to find the huge group all standing in front of their chairs singing.  Well the group except for Cate - she was dancing in the aisle by herself.  Then on the final day when I walked in - she was dancing on the stage behind the group directors.  Just up there twirling with joy as she sang a song thanking god for blessings.  How do these things happen and would those camp counselors let any kid get away with it?  I have no idea how she maneuvers herself into these special exceptions and the counselors probably couldn't specifically tell you either but I doubt most kids would be allowed to break these tiny rules, otherwise it would be chaos.  People are just taken with Cate - she can be so sweet and loving that people want to please her.  Sometimes it frustrates me because in the back of my mind I don't want her experience to be different than the other kids because doesn't that mean she isn't being included fully?  That fear of Cate's being different may never totally leave me but it doesn't mean that I don't worship my daughter for exactly the person she is right now.  I truly wouldn't change a thing about her except maybe the 30 minute homework fight because she really is my sunshine but sometimes my first reactions can be tinged with that hidden fear.  In reality her experience is no less normal because of small amounts of special treatment, it is just something I have to try to look at objectively and monitor for excess. 

So back to Girl Scouts and why I feel the need to volunteer for this group.  Part of me is thinking she will hate it because in my mind I worry it won't keep her attention.  I guess the things I remember from Brownies what feels like 100 years ago, are doing crafts and listening to stories.  Those things are not really up Cate's alley.  She hates crafts and can only stand to color for about 5 minutes on a directed project.  (Now give her a doddle board in the car and she will draw for an hour as she talks out her scenario, but tell her what to draw and she is done.)  And if the activities don't keep her attention the result could be anything.  The meetings are at her school where she is comfortable so she might just walk out of the room when the leader isn't looking.    Or the opposite, she might attach to the leader and bug her with a 100 questions that aren't relative to the activity of the group, causing frustration and taking attention from the other kids.  I couldn't guess what Cate will do if she doesn't like Daisies.  So your next question is probably - so why are we doing Daisies if I'm that worried about it?  Because if Cate didn't do activities because I was worried then she'd be a couch potato!  Plus this is a great situation for her to grow socially with other little girls.  She needs that because she gravitates to boys in class.  So tonight together Cate and I will be begin the girl scout journey.  I'm excited and scared, while Cate is ambivalent about the whole thing.   Our first Daisy activity was success though so maybe that is a good omen.  The girls are suppose to earn the $1 they have to pay for dues.  I forgot until bath time last night, too late to give Cate a chore so I created a checklist for the morning and told her if she checked everything off without getting help from daddy she would earn her dollar today.  Ric said by the time he got out of the shower, she had gotten dressed, hung up her PJ's, made the bed, washed her face and brushed her teeth.  She earned her dollar and might just have created a new morning technique for him to use!  I hope everything goes great and she loves Daisies and that I'm not a fish out of water!  Wish us luck!

I promise a picture tomorrow, at the very least I'll take a shot with my phone at Daisies!!!


  1. I'm so glad I found you!!! My Ella is also 6 years old. I look forward to reading your posts!

  2. Oh, man, our girls are SO much the same!!! Like, EXACTLY.