Thursday, May 15, 2008

graduations, uncertain or otherwise

The Eldest has completed therapy, we're told. The Toddles and I helped him celebrate by bringing feelings cupcakes to the last appointment, and the Eldest showed his appreciation by inviting us in to eat one.

A couple of happy cupcakes, a sad one, a puzzled one and an angry one (no doubt irked by the Toddles eating the icing off the top and leaving the rest), and the Eldest was done. Done with therapy? It's an odd feeling, and even I was unsettled. Our therapist, a specialist in children with chronic medical conditions, has helped the Eldest manage the anxiety and stress that comes with food allergies - and less so, with hemophilia. While he hasn't needed her for months, the Eldest was uncertainly pleased about being told to graduate, and promptly threw a screeching fit in the parking lot to celebrate. Not to be outdone, I roared at both boys for most of the drive home.

Graduate us, will you? Ha.

In fact, the Eldest is not so much graduated from therapy as temporarily weaned, with a relationship formed that he can call upon in the future. Considering the temperament of his roaring mother, his self and the general details of his life, I suspect he will. So. But the work that she and we did on the Eldest's anxiety and anger was tremendous, as was proven today.

Having a short temper myself, when I came upon some techniques for helping children manage anger, I decided to apply them. We made up three colored cards, one green (Happy Mum), yellow (Cranky Mum) and red (Mad Mum). The pictures of the mama on each card suited the caption, and I've taught the Toddles to pick the card that suits me best. And when the Toddles tries to waggle a poopy bum (mid-cleaning, thank you very much), I suggest that the best way to avoid a Cranky Mum is to cooperate. Oh, I'll help you be a Happy Mummy, says the Toddles, and stops rhumbaing on the changing pad. It's emotional blackmail of the most benign sort, but it's also avoiding a power play by focussing on teamwork. So, okay. I can get behind this.

For the Eldest, I made cards. Noticing that he usually looks shocked and appalled when I lose my temper (like today, when I somehow wished to protest the slamming of a soccer ball into my furniture), I gave him the next step: something to say. I made cards that say 'I'm sorry' or "I'll try to do better next time,' or 'I need to think about what you've said, ' and especially 'I see that you are upset, but I don't understand why.' Each card has a follow-up instruction, so that if he says 'I'm sorry,' he needs to then work out with me what he can do differently next time, and how I can help. Etc. The Eldest really likes these cards, and it gives us a break in the grumpiness as I suggest (post-roar) that he go and get the card that suits him.

Today, however, he chose not to get a card. Instead, he made one.

I love him when he's angry, too. So, maybe we can graduate after all.
For AidelMaidel, the Toddles' favorite lunch, some of it Weight Watchers friendly. Go, Aidel, go!

Tomato Mango/Peach Salsa

  • 2 very ripe, fragrant tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 fragrant mango (I like the champagne mangoes, they're drenched in flavor), chunked OR two very ripe, fragrant peaches
  • red onion/scallion/chives, finely chopped, to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lime (more as desired)
  • sprinkle of kosher salt
  • optional but highly recommended: 1 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped. You can also add olives, sunflower seeds, basil/parsley instead of the cilantro and whatever suits you. I like my lunches fast, so I tend to keep this one simple.

Tip: buy tomatoes and mangoes that you can smell. They should smell like summer, like a tomato that's actually met a plant somewhere. Then, don't refrigerate them, and if you can, make this salsa with room temp tomatoes/mango.

I serve this with brown rice and a basil pesto made with basil, garlic, salt, sunflower seeds and green olives, plus a splash of olive oil. Not so WW friendly, I suspect, but awfully pretty...


AidelMaidel said...

Wait! Where's the peaches? I assume they replace the mango (of which I am highly allergic). The whole thing looks pretty WW friendly. Seeds count as points as well as olive oil, but for the amount in this recipe, we're talking maybe one point per serving of salad.

This is a salad I would happily eat. Sans olives (yuck!).

Looks good

mama o' the matrices said...

Sorry, Maidel - our most recent variant uses mangoes, since we can! Although we're on our third case of post-allergy mangoes, and it's getting a little old.

Zina said...

The cupcakes are a nice idea. We need to make cards for our boy here. Grandparents' Day was a huge disaster here. Very sad. Spent 5 min at the school and had to leave. B just didn't have the ability to articulate how he was feeling. He just melts down. We have tried so much. He's just not enjoying life. Undergoing evaluations now the the public school system. O qualified for many services because his team decided that he is delayed across the board.

mama o' the matrices said...

Oh, Zina, I'm so sorry. That poor child - and you guys try so very, very hard. This is just unfair.

(suppressing a whole conversation about fairness and kids and medical phooey. This is just sad, and I think I need to come over and hug you.)

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