Yesterday was a ‘tricky’ day. I sat drafting this in Little Legs’ bedroom praying that she would drop off soon (she didn’t), reflecting on what she needs right now.
We had another tricky hour this morning, despite twelve solid hours sleep from 9pm to 9am. She woke dysregulated and picked up where she left off.
I can’t quite get to the bottom of whats unsettling her. But that’s ok. I don’t need to know for now. I would like to know! But I don’t need to know.
What I need to know is what does she need. Right at this point in time.
She needs us to be close. Physically close. Fairly constantly. Especially when we’re at home. Even more so when her sisters are around.
She needs to be able to see us. Or hear us. Yesterday was marked by fairly constant ‘verbal scribble’, a term coined by a Twitter friend, that perfectly described what her vocal output was like yesterday. Often times this verbal scribble is to remind us that she’s still there, even if we can’t see her. At other times its about being dominant; more noisy than her sister or the radio, or the tv, or the conversation I’m having with Mr Six.
She needs us to give her firm and clear boundaries. Even though she hates them. And tells us as much.
She needs us to be consistent. To not make sudden changes to plans. To not do spontaneous stuff which she finds even more unsettling. To not introduce new people to a planned trip or event.
She needs us to keep her safe. And sometimes that means restricting what she can be part of. Or where she can play. Or who she can be around.
She needs sleep. Which right now is not so easy to come by. She is on high alert, so takes a loooooong time to settle. Thankfully she is mostly sleeping through just now.
She needs to be parented therapeutically. We keep talking and reminding ourselves that she does not have the same safe base that our big girls have.That her behaviour requires a different response.
She needs to know that we love her. That she is an important part of the Six family. Even when she tells us that she no longer wants to be.
She needs us to ‘funnel’ her world again when everything gets too much. There will be times when we opt out of planned get togethers, when we turn down play dates, when we make our world smaller in order to help her to feel safer, to demonstrate how safe she is here.
She needs to laugh and cry and shout and rage and chuckle.
She needs hugs and kisses and play time and down time.
She needs tv time, tablet time, iPad time.
She needs long baths and muddy play times, back rubs and bedtime stories.
She needs time. It’s a long road.