We picked up our Mac Donalds lunch yesterday, and took it with us to the park so we could eat whilst we walked the dogs. The kids don't like walking the dogs much. Especially daughter. We got to the first bench in the park and daughter sat down. Clearly announcing she isn't going anywhere until she had finished eating and that it was disgusting to eat whilst walking. Bearing in mind she had eaten 3/4 of it in the car, we decided to let her do exactly that. You have to pick your arguments, we wanted to give the dogs a run, daughter wanted to sit and eat. Seeing as the dogs were happily running around, it made no difference to us whether she sat or walked to eat her food. Besides, she decided after less than a minute that she had eaten enough anyway. We carried on with our walk! The grumpy attitude carried on almost all day.
Daughter surprised me my asking for a bath. Normally that is an issue, but today, she wanted it. She asked me to wash her hair too, and was very co-operative. I had the nice daughter for a good half hour. Until I said it was time to get out. Then she changed back into a moody teenager.
Daughter was once again generally moody and difficult. We ignored as best we could. But by 7pm when we were trying to watch TV, she progressed to sitting in between husband and I on the sofa, tapping her leg on the chair...tap, tap, tap, tap...We asked her to stop. Tap, tap, tap. We told her to stop. We got a 'No'. Tap, tap, tap, in fact, the more we asked her to stop, the harder she was doing it. Bang, bang, bang...So, we told her that if she didn't stop, we would put her on the floor. Bang, bang, bang....Totally defiant! Needless to say, we both scooped her up, and put her on the floor. Cue meltdown. We had a good half hour of missing everything we wanted to watch whilst daughter did the tantrum thing. Trying to climb over the back of the chair, banging the wall, screaming, shouting, hitting and generally behaving (as I would describe it) 'autistic'.
It had been brewing all day. Her mood was volatile and it felt like we were treading on egg shells all day, so I guess she needed to explode. Like a fizzy drink that's been shaken, the anxieties build up inside her, when you release the lid, the explosion happens, then there is just flatness left.
Later, daughter decided to become her own army. She dressed up in her pyjamas, a swimming vest (for a 5 year old), my nice warm hat and started marching around the house, shouting instructions and asking what her orders are. Her orders were to go to bed, so the morphing into something else, was deliberately to avoid the demand of 'Go to bed'. Once again, this it typical of a PDA child. We marched her up and down the stairs a few times, backwards and forwards through the house. Its amazing, that when she is in her role play, she can follow the instructions she is given. This is because she has chosen the rules, and chosen to be obedient. It will only work for as long as she wants it to though. Despite following our commands, its her game and she still feels in total control. Eventually, we marched her up to her room, and told her that all army people have to remove their uniform before going to bed and they have to settle down nicely and go to sleep. We got over half way there, she did get ready for bed, and, she did get into bed and lie down. But as soon as I left the room, she sat up and started shouting orders at me. I told her all army people don't ever get out of bed, unless they need the toilet, until the morning and any further instructions would have to wait until then. I sat back and waited for the meltdown. It went quiet. Daughter went to sleep. The calm arrived. Finally.
I had the nice daughter today. The Dr Jeckyll had returned, after yesterdays Mr Hyde. She got up, ate some breakfast, got dressed, cleaned her teeth and generally got ready to go out. I am fairly sure it has something to do with her wanting to go to soft play and meet a friend she loves rather than her just being in a co-operative mood. However, I shall just savour the moment!
We managed soft play, a friend home for an hour and a trip to Slough with daddy (giving mummy a much needed 2 hours off). The house is currently quiet. I know it wont last!
Daughter has a friend over tonight. I just hope her friend likes being bossed around!
For those of you who don't know, I believe our daughter has PDA type autism. We are fighting to get a diagnosis through the NHS as they fail to recognise it despite it being known about for over 30 years. Please help us fight. We have a petition we need signing and sharing. Will you support us?