Two Steps Forward.....
We just celebrated Thanksgiving long weekend here in Canada. It was a fun time where we travelled 450 km to Toronto to visit with family.
The Toronto trip had been marked on the calendar since August and Summer had been regularly pointing to the word Thanksgiving and reciting the names of her three cousins and aunt and uncle who she would see.
There was a PD day at school on the Friday, so Mike and I took the day off and headed down a day early so the cousins could spend as much time together as possible. Summer has a female cousin who is two years younger, while Jordan has two male cousins, one who is 2 yrs older and the other who is nine months younger.
We set out around 9:00 a.m. on a beautiful, sunny day. We were in the car for only 20 minutes when Summer started hitting her brother in the back seat. Now a 13-year-old boy who is being hit for no reason….of course, he wants to defend himself. But no, he cannot hit his sister because she doesn’t understand that it hurts when she hits him as she doesn’t know her own strength.
She’s doing it for attention – and boy oh boy, it worked. She sure got her brother’s attention.
At this point, I’ve over-extended my neck and am uncomfortably twisted around to referee from the front passenger seat. I’m cursing under my breath and trying not to lose it 30 minutes into a 4.5-hour drive.
Sadly, this was not new behaviour for Summer, so I had planned accordingly and wore leggings and slip-on shoes so that I could easily climb into the backseat and be a physical barrier between the two kids.
No. It was not comfortable, but it was how I stayed until the first pit stop, and then Jordan jumped into the front and rode shot gun until we arrived in Toronto.
Once we arrived at my sister-in-law’s place, we witnessed the greatest progress and behaviour from Summer. She was so good.
Like, Mike and I kept looking at each other all weekend and saying, “wow – Summer is so good.” Almost in disbelief. Is this how ‘normal parenting’ is??
She played with her cousin’s Barbie. She rode the hover board unsupervised. She ate all of her meals. She went to bed in her sleeping bad without needing one of us to stay with her until she fell asleep.
We also spent a few hours outside at the school playground with her cousin and they had so much fun climbing on the monkey bars, sliding down the fire pole and playing hop scotch.
It was truly magical. I was feeling so thankful and blessed that Summer had displayed such independence over past visits (we visit twice a year).
We arrive home safe and sound on the Monday. Then, the next day she wakes up and expects it to be Halloween. She loves school, so I said “No Halloween. Today is back to school.” Well. So. Many. Tears.
My poor pumpkin had been so fixated on the calendar and in her mind there were two events that take place in October - the first being Thanksgiving and the second being Halloween - and one happens right after the other.
Now that Thanksgiving & Toronto were done, she wanted Halloween. I took her to the calendar and showed her that Halloween was next and wiped away her tears and distracted her. Though, every morning since, she wakes up asking for Halloween.
I sometimes feel as if I’m on a roller coaster of emotions. As they say, “Two steps forward, one step back.”
In the end, it’s still progress. There was a time when we saw little progress, so celebrate every step forward.
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I am grateful that I get to spend this time with her and her brother. I will honour this time of a more relaxed schedule.
Whichever route a family chooses, what matters is knowing when to ask for help and how to get the right help to care for any family member that needs an additional helping hand.