Is Pumpkin so incredibly delayed because she is mentally retarded and she really is severe (vs. moderate or mild)? Is Pumpkin so incredibly delayed because her seizure medicine puts her in a fog and she just can't overcome the side effects? Or...is Pumpkin so incredibly delayed because she has suffered years and years of neglect?
These questions can't be answered. (at least not easily they can't)
I want to help Pumpkin overcome these delays. She has never been in school. She has never been in therapies. But the progress is sooooooo slow.
I'm a take charge kind of gal. If there's a problem, I want to fix it. And I want to fix it RIGHT NOW. I really felt like things were going great when Pumpkin got here. In four months I made up for five years of medical neglect. Pumpkin got back on her seizure meds. Her teeth got fixed. I got her caught up with all her shots. I got her enrolled in school. I got her in private PT, OT and speech therapies. And I got her an IEP at school which included school PT, OT and speech as well. I was rockin' it.
But now, I am stuck. And yes, I'm the one with the problem.
Pumpkin's occupational therapist told me that they are working on Pumpkin's dressing skills. They have her putting on and off her socks and shoes. They also want to work on putting a shirt on and off.
Good I say. I'll work on this at home too.
But I stink at it!
Tonight I told Pumpkin to take off her shoes. Well...she knows where her shoes are and she pulled at the laces at little. But she couldn't untie them. And for reasons I can't seem to figure out or control, this ticked me off. It sounds so damn petty. I know it does. But if my struggles can help anyone else to not feel alone in situations like this, I guess I'll spill my guts to the internet.
Anyway...I switched and then told Pumpkin to take off her shirt. But, as I've figured out recently, once Pumpkin gets stumped on a request, there's no point in continuing on. I should just stop giving her commands. She can't do it. She just can't. I need to learn how to shut up. (not a skill I'm very good at)
Here's my dilemma. I want Pumpkin to learn some of these self-care skills. And I know that she's not going to "really" learn them if she only does them in therapy. The process has to come full circle and she has to work on the skills at home too.
However, I need to avoid doing things that trigger me and make me angry. It's not Pumpkin's fault that she sometimes forgets the difference between "shirt" and "shoes". Or "lay down" and "sit up". That she doesn't know what "roll over" means so I can clean her bottom in the bathtub. Honestly, I know it isn't her fault.
But I feel so pointless going through the motions over and over and over and over. When I give her a command she'll understand it about 5% of the time. I hang my hat on the 5% and then get ticked off the other 95% when she has no idea what to do.
Do I stop giving the commands and just do everything for her?
That doesn't seem right. She deserves a chance to learn. Since coming to my home we have successfully taught her to say "more" when she's at the dinner table and wants more to eat. We have also taught her "all done" for when she is finished eating. I have taught her how to climb up the stairs and how to crawl around the corner before standing up (so she doesn't tumble back down the stairs in her attempt to stand up again). She has learned a few signs.
But honestly, almost everything in Pumpkin's day to day routine requires (at a minimum) physical prompting. There are a few commands that she gets right every time. And by few, I do mean only around three.
Reunification is where this case is headed. I'm quite confident that bio mom is not going to all of the sudden become Mom of the Year and start being active in Pumpkin's therapies. I shouldn't speculate, but I doubt that Mom will do much other than what CPS requires of her. These things weren't a priority for her the first five years of Pumpkin's life. Why will they become important after Pumpkin goes home?
I want to help Pumpkin be all that she can be but I'm just not sure I can keep doing "therapy" at home too. I stink at it. I just don't have the patience. It's almost easier for me to think of Pumpkin as an infant and ALWAYS treat her like one instead of pushing her and trying to get her to do stuff on her own and then still having to do it for her anyway. I feel bad. But I feel even worse when I get frustrated with Pumpkin and her inability to do things. My less than stellar parenting moments are becoming more frequent and I've got to make a change somewhere.