Once again, I thought I would sleep in today. Our first therapist comes at 9 and we could both use a lie in until 8, but no such luck. Even without the alarm, I am ready for action before 6. Drat!!
Julia lasted until lunch time yesterday. She had three chances/ three warnings that she was picking or scratching. After her chances were used up, at 11:55, I was called and I collected my teary little girl from the nurse’s office at school. Although I was really sad that she didn’t make it through the whole day, this was the outcome that we -- me, her therapists and teachers -- had hoped for. It’s been great that she has managed to stay in school through two weeks of reminders and redirection, the scratching continues. She needed to feel the consequences, know that it was serious. I hope that this impressed upon her how serious her picking is.
She cried a bit in the car. She told me she was sad and also angry. Then, she ate what remained of her lunch. We did errands and then went home to settle into doing some school work.
I had planned to spend the afternoon sorting pictures to hang on the walls and framing some posters and some of Julia’s art. This kept me in one room most of the time and I could oversee her work without sitting with her all the time. Julia enjoys working with me too much and I don’t want this consequence to turn into a fun afternoon with mom. We did cuddle on the couch to read and answer questions that her teacher put on post it notes in a book. She kept up her work for almost two hours before I let her spend some time coloring.
This is all so “love and logic” based. I never expected to be doing a real L&L intervention, but here we are. It is hard. My first impulse is so much to shore up the deficits, to support and coddle, and I think that is the impulse of most of Julia’s team at school and at therapy. Julia’s sweetness and spunkiness draws adults to her and they want to protect her. And so, this “intervention” is hard. Okay, every intervention is hard. Julia needs to learn that she is the one responsible for her body. Right now, it is me and teachers and therapists who are responsible, and yet, Julia is the only one who can really heal her body. Please, please, let her learn that! And quickly.
Quick side note of a conversation that Ellen, therapist, told me last night:
Julia was on Ellen’s lap and they were taking some quiet time together. Ellen has been with us for more than two years and Julia adores her. They do a lot of art projects together and Ellen has taught Julia much more than I have about making art.
Julia: It’s all my fault.
Ellen: What is all your fault?
Julia: My body is ruined and it is all my fault
Ellen (tearing up): It’s not all your fault.
Julia sniffed a bit and was quiet. Ellen said a few more soothing, sweet things, feeling very emotional.
Julia: Ellen, you smell like noodles.
Ellen: i had noodle soup for lunch! (And the moment was over)
Julia has full intentions, at least for today, of being in school ALL of Monday. We’ll see if she can pull it off. I know that this is still a challenge for her, but each day with minimal scratching is a healing day for another scab or two. She is not healing quickly by any means but there is slow progress being made. I stopped counting bandaids a long time ago, but there are less of them, at least by a few. I am using a Kielh’s moisturizer which is very mild and without any scent on the parts of her body that were most effected by the steroid cream. After almost a week of twice daily application, that skin is looking a bit better. Amy also gave me Wound & Itch Ointment from Wildwood Institute. After trying on a few scabs, i am using it all over her body. The ingredients are plaintain, yarrow, calendula, rose hip seed oil, olive oil, and lavender essential oil. Some of the ingredients have been recommended to me before by other friends. It is not irritating for sure. It seems to calm the sores and because it comes in a little tin, Julia can carry it around and use it when she needs it. It provides her with some power over her itchies. I’ve heard some glowing reports of its efficacy and would so like to add mine.
Julia also carries around little cards with alternative activities for her to do with her hands when she wants to scratch. Larger versions of the list are pinned up all over the house, at school, and at the clinic. And Julia has becomes a good enough student to make use of these lists and suggestions if she can remain in her rational mind.
We have a busy day today. I hope to keep Julia busy until she is tuckered out tonight. Busy and not scratching or picking. Another healing day would be lovely.