Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Challenging Success

Lately, I have been working very hard with Alyssa, to help her, become successful, with her bathroom experiences.  Let me tell you, she is successful sometimes, meaning she can go to the bathroom, but the challenge here….. She has difficulty communicating, to us, her need to go.

I think sometimes when people see an older child needing pull-ups, their natural skepticism, may kick into gear.  I can only imagine all the things others must think.  I do my best, to offer Alyssa, the most respect around this issue.  She is not in pull-ups because of anything, other than, her inability to express her wants and needs.  It’s a complex process for her to match feelings, emotions, desires and needs with the words to make it happen.  You can see her wheels turning, she’s always thinking, but sometimes it takes a long time for her to say the words, or she won’t say them at all.  I don’t want to cause frustration for her, but this is something I feel is very important for her, and for us.  We must persevere and press forward with this training.  It’s one of the hardest things we are dealing with.  I am not worried what others may think!!  I know, this is a necessity for Alyssa, to be able to be independent, in this area. 

I have a schedule I am trying to follow.  I set my alarm each night and wake up my sweet angel and take her to the bathroom.  We are successful, almost every time.  Then, I re-set my alarm for a few hours later and go again.  We have a great deal of success, most of the time, during the night.  Then, we go into the daytime hours.  Daytime is more challenging because there are so many more distractions.  Alyssa is successful often, but not as often as, I would hope for. 

Through all of this, I find myself caught between two dilemmas.  One, I am exhausted.  Second, I wonder how to get the language to coincide with the experience.  Just the other day, I took her into the bathroom and I said, “It’s time to go to the bathroom”.  She looked up at me, with sheer frustration, and she said, “It’s time to go to the bathroom, I can’t go!!”  WOW!!  I was very impressed with her language, but it came out of that frustration.  How can I get her to say, “I need to go”, at the other times, the natural times, when there isn’t frustration driving the language? 

There is also a part of me that wonders if I am doing the right thing.  I feel terrible waking her up every night, disturbing her beautiful and peaceful sleep.  But then, I find myself thinking, I have to do this, so she can get the message, it’s not optional.  If I create a pattern and enough successful experiences, maybe this will all come together? 

I hope by sharing this, I can shed a bit of light, on what some of our experiences are like.  I wish I could say how easy all of this is, but it’s not.  And, we are trying so hard.  When we fail, it may mean an entire day of laundry, which only adds to the exhaustion.  Yet, when we succeed, we are excited and accomplished.  It’s an emotional roller coaster, for sure! 

Friends have shared their view on rewarding strategies.  I haven’t been quite successful with this because I don’t know how to communicate the reward concept.  What do I say?  “Good job, here’s a lollipop.”  We don’t give Alyssa sugar because it turns her system inside out and makes her cranky.  “Good job, we’ll go to the store and get you a present.”  She doesn’t like going to the store.  Instead, I just say, “I am so proud of you” and I am!!!  Is that enough reinforcement?  I don’t know, but if anything, at the beginning of the day, or the end of it, I just want her to know, I am proud.  I am proud to be her mom, and this whole bathroom thing, is just another “thing”.  I do pray, she will become successful, in due time.  It’s the hard stuff that makes us stronger, right?  HA!  I can only be honest and say, I sometimes feel weaker. 

I appreciate you, my readers.  Thanks for being a part of our journey.  Have a great week!!  Angie

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