More ups and downs

More training with Fenner today. After she made her own grilled cheese she said, “That was delicious! Thank you, self!” Then it was on to doing her own laundry. As she started the cycle she said with a huge smile, “I did it! I did the laundry!” and skipped down the hall. The painter heard us and said to me, “Good for you for teaching her how to do laundry. I was in the laundry mat the other day and there was a young father there who shoved clothes into this one dryer until it was completely packed. And then he left! We were all laughing because the machine door kept popping open and stuff was falling out. I mean that stuff wouldn’t dry like that if you waited 10 years!” Aw, that poor man…

Another thing happened today that was very interesting. It seems the tables have turned. It used to be that when Charlotte was with my mother, she was easy-going and then as soon as I showed up she’d go into clingy-needy-whine mode. Well today it seemed the other way around. We were having a smooth morning until my mother arrived and it seemed like Charlotte wanted to put on a show for her. She glommed onto me and kept repeating over and over, “My mom, my mom, my mom, my mom…” (behavior I haven’t seen at all for over a week). Well, with my mom there, I couldn’t really leave the room as usual, so I just ignored her — no  eye contact, no verbal engagment. But my mother, not being familiar with this approach, looked right at her and said, “Charlotte! Your poor mommy with this animal hanging onto her like that!” So I whispered to her, “No attention please, Mum.” And she said, “I know, I can’t help it.” It started getting worse so I pulled myself away and headed toward the front door thinking my mom would follow and we could continue talking in the driveway. But she stayed behind and I heard her say, “Charlotte that’s annoying! Do you want to be annoying? Do you want other people to think you’re annoying?” So I said “Mum! Please!” and motioned her to follow me. Outside I said, “We’re trying really hard not to use that word ‘annoying’ with Charlotte because when we do, she just takes on that role.” “Well at some point you have to tell her no, you can’t just let her do that.” “Mum I’ve tried that, I’ve tried everything else. This is working. I give her no eye contact, no verbal engagement, and then if I have to, I physically go away from her and close the door.” “Well what I used to do is say, ‘You can do all those annoying things, but you have to go do it upstairs.'” I said, “But the problem is, you can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to without getting physical and dragging her up the stairs. But I can move my body, that’s what I have control over, so I move myself away.” “Well … maybe so,” she said with a very skeptical look in her eye. I don’t blame her. It’s just not the usual, expected approach. But it’s working for us. I can feel it.

After she left, Charlotte and Fenner went into the living room and I heard Charlotte say, “If you don’t watch what I want to watch I’ll annoy you.”

Back to work….

p.s. So after asking me to sign her up, Charlotte was refusing to go to karate. What will it take? I wondered…. then I said, “Charlotte, when you ask me to sign you up for activities, I have to pay money for that. So if you change your mind and decide not to go, then I need to be paid back, and I will take it out of your allowance. Karate runs for one month at a time. So when it’s time to sign up for the next month you can say no, no more karate, or you can say yes, for another month. But this month is not over yet, and it’s time for your class.” Big sigh and then, “Ok … I’ll go…” And we were only five minutes late!

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 3: Timeline for Training

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