I had the meeting yesterday with some therapists and a preschool teacher with the local school district. I have been working with them since the middle of August to see if the Vampire needs to be on an IEP ( Individualized Education Program). They have taken turns going out to the daycare to observe the Vampire in her natural habitat, and they also tested her speech and behavioral skills. It is now close to the end of September, and they have gathered everything they needed. They showed me test scores, and told me that she is a perfectly normal little girl in their eyes, as she tested average or above on everything. I've been thinking that her speech is lacking, but the speech therapist assured me that she is right where she needs to be. They also assured me that she is not autistic like her brother as she is way to social of a child. From what they observed, there were a lot of things that the teachers were doing that were sending mixed signals to the lil Vampire. One instance they pointed out to me was that she likes to play by herself and as part of the Toddler's Creed, when she has a toy even if it is one that we view as everyone's toy like a slide.... in her mind, it's hers. So she's playing on the slide, a little boy goes over to play with her. She doesn't want to share. Teachers tell her she needs to share the slide, it is for everyone. She and the little boy try to go down the slide together. It doesn't work very well, and the Vampire bites the little boy. Teachers race to little boy's cries of pain. Vampire gets the slide to herself, and continues to play on it. No one tells her until few minutes after the incident that it's not ok to bite her friends, and she will have to go home if she keeps biting them. She doesn't really care... she has the slide to herself now.
So the preschool teacher that is part of the IEP program tells me that we need to start modeling with the Vampire. No... not baby beauty queen pageants, but showing her what we're asking her to do as we're asking her to do it. So she can visualize it while she hears the words, and can begin connecting what words go to what actions. For instance I would say "Let's put our shoes on", then sit down with her and put my shoes on as she does. It is so nice to know that the biting isn't coming out of the blue like the teachers were trying to have me believe, and that we have finally connected her inability to say "give me the toy back" to her just reaching out and biting. Hopefully with the modeling and continued patience of all involved we can pull her thru this rough patch and help her begin to enjoy her childhood a little bit better!
The therapy session, with the personal therapist I began taking the Vampire to as of three weeks ago (not part of the IEP at all), happened last night. The personal therapist had the Drama Queen in on the therapy session with the Vampire. I was not able to attend this therapy session, because I had to miss some work to be at the IEP meeting, so Uncle M made sure she was there for it all. The therapist wants to begin seeing the Drama Queen, as she sees some issues that need to be worked out. I hope this will help them. I have always had mixed feelings about therapy. When I got home from work, Uncle M and the girls were all ready there, and he was getting dinner started. He caught me up on the therapy session, and I filled him in on the IEP meeting. The therapist had the Vampire and Drama Queen alone in the therapy room, while Uncle M waited in the lobby, then the last half of the session, she called Uncle M to join them. So we do not know what all took place in the first 1/2 hour, but the Vampire was very angry and mean to the therapist while Uncle M was in there, and was hitting, kicking, and even punching her. Because of those actions, the therapist asked that we put the Vampire to bed early by 1/2 hour for her aggressive behavior.
In my time home with the children yesterday, the Vampire spent most of her time in time out. She was very wild, and very.... obstinate. When it came time for her shower, she did nothing but cry for her "other mother". Mind you this was the VERY FIRST time that the Vampire has mentioned my sister to me. She was very angry and kept saying "I want my other mother!" I struggled with the entire shower. I tried to sing to her, and to get her to play, but she just wanted to cry for her "other mother". I held her on my lap, and rocked her when I got her out of the shower, and she calmed down a little. I have never in my time with her seen her act out like this. I don't know what the therapist said, and I'm asking Uncle M "did the therapist talk about M O M M Y??" He doesn't know, but the Drama Queen confirms it, and things start to make sense to me. I lotion and dress the Vampire, snuggling her, and trying to talk her up the entire time, but she has another melt down and continues to cry for her "other mother". She then asks Uncle M why "other mother" isn't here anymore. He looks at me, and we just don't know what to say. She comes up with her own solution in our silence, and says "she had to work. she left me to work." I tell her what my sister told me at that point, "your mommy moved away to find a better job," and I add "she did the best thing she knew to do, and that was to leave you here with me where you would be safe and loved." I hug her and get her in bed. I stay with her for a little bit, and rub her back and her arms, all the while telling her how much I love her, and will never leave her. She seems satisfied, and comfortable, and I leave her to fall asleep.
I don't wish my sister dead, so please do not take the next statement I make as my saying that, but I feel like it would be so much easier to explain to a child "mommy went to heaven because God wanted to call her home" than to say the truth. In my mind the truth is "your mommy left with her boyfriend, and put so many things above and before you. You are better off right now." I have to skirt around that, and try to say the truth without adding my own feelings to it so she can form her own opinion of what really happened some day. All I can do is stand there and guide her. I love my sister, thru all she has done, I still love her, and I want the best for her, but I have to put those feelings aside and concentrate on all the best for her children.
The Drama Queen is also weepy and missing her mommy. She snuggles Uncle M and I, and tells us that she's so sad that her mommy left her and that she really misses her. We both reassure her that her mommy loved her and did what was best by her, by leaving her with Aunt TT. We remind her that her mommy is actually Aunt TT's sister, and that Aunt TT misses her a lot too. The Drama Queen has had other bouts like this before, and I am more adept at knowing how to handle it with her because I have had to in the past. I redirect her thinking by telling her all the fun things we have planned for our Friday evening activities, and telling her that if she can do well in school this year, that I will let her try out for Cheerleading next summer because she has asked me multiple times if she can be a Cheerleader. We then tuck her into bed (on the couch cause she will get no sleep with the Vampire still wired for sound even though she was supposed to be sleeping...), and tell her how much we love her and will always be there for her. Once the Vampire falls asleep, we move the Drama Queen to her bed, then breathe a sigh of relief that this crazy day nearly over.
It was a very emotionally draining day. For them, for Uncle M (who is exhausted keeping the pace of two little girls, and being up at 4:00a every morning for work), and for me. I know I should be sewing the Halloween costumes, but I am so tired. I am on the Biggest Loser plan here at work against my co-workers, and am doing fair this month in my weight loss, but I gave into my sweet craving last night. Darn Uncle M for bringing Butterfinger Explosion Ice Cream in my house!!! Darn me for not getting some fruit instead... but man did I savor and enjoy every single bite of the 1/2 a cup I allowed myself. Hey at least I didn't start eating it out of the carton like I wanted to right?