Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Settling In

One day, I came early to pick up Jessica from the Child Development Center (CDC). I had left Melissa at a friend's house so that I could talk to the staff on Jessica's progress. Jessica had developed a temper and could display quite the tantrum, right down to banging her head on the floor. It was quite alarming to watch. Whoever was closest would grab a mat and place it under her head. This usually ticked her off more but if you consistently did it every time, she sometimes got the message and she would stop. Another habit she had also developed was biting her hands in anger. She would bite so hard that her hands were swollen and split. I would wrap them as best I could but she would eventually get the wrapping off. If her hands were bandaged when we were out together, people would stare and sometimes come to their own conclusions. I remember one person who thought they had been burned. To go into the truth sometimes was more painful for me so I let them think whatever...

As I watched at the fence all the children at play, Debbie, mother of Megan with developmental delays came over to talk to me. Debbie's Megan had similarities to my Jessica. She had behaviors that needed to be addressed and they had just come back from a behavior program in Ottawa, an hour away. She shared with me her thoughts about how there was a case worker who under the direction of a Behavior Psychologist, would come every day to help you learn to address behavior issues. It was an intense program which lasted 2 weeks and you had to find a place to stay in Ottawa. Debbie believed it had helped her to 'deal' with her daughter's behaviors and Megan had shown a lot of improvement. She gave me the contact information.
When I spoke to CDC staff later that day, I mentioned that I was interested in the program that Debbie had taken her Megan to. They were very positive and thought that any skills I acquired through the program would definitely be helpful at the center as well as at home.

When I got home, I called the number Debbie had given me and reached Rosemary at Thursday's Child. She informed me that they would be able to work with Jess and I but that I would need to find a place to stay in Ottawa. Our friend, Lucy, had a home in Ottawa and was going away. She had no problem with us staying there while she was gone. Perfect!

Jessica was just over 3 years old when we went to participate in this program. Poor Melissa would stay back with Koosh. Shirley and her daughter Kathy were there to help and of course the grandparents chipped in but it was to be very hard for Melissa and I to be apart. Koosh and I made arrangements for him to bring Melissa for a visit the weekend in between. We would go to the park and see the tulips then.

So Jessica and I packed our things and headed for Ottawa one Sunday afternoon. The sun was shining and we found the house with very little problem. I had brought along a helper who worked with her at the CDC, her name was Terry. When we got into the house, we set up a play area for Jess and checked the sleeping arrangements. Jess would sleep in Nadia's room (Lucy's daughter). As we fixed the bed, we both noticed at the same time that there was a hutch on top of the desk. We took a closer look and discovered it was not attached in a permanent way. This was not good. Jessica had taken to being up at all hours of the night and if she could not leave her room, she would destroy it. The hutch posed a severe safety hazard. Terry and I got on each side and began to move the hutch off the desk so that it could rest safely on the floor. Something got stuck and Terry bent to adjust a leg on the floor, just then the hutch and everything in it tipped forward and fell to make a bridge if you can picture it. The bottom of the hutch was on the desk and the top was now on the bed creating a bridge. Terry was not in sight. "Terry?" I gingerly called. Out she crawled from under the 'bridge'. We stood there among books, knick knacks and such which a moment ago had been arranged so beautifully on the hutch and began to laugh. How no one got hurt was a miracle! We set to work putting the items back on the hutch which we had safely put on the floor. If Lucy or Nadia ever wondered what happened I don't remember them saying anything.

After we were done setting up the rooms, we went downstairs to fix supper. Tomorrow we would meet with the case worker and psychologist.

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