I'm back from Orlando and it was AMAZING. There is no other way to say it. When I have time and have processed it all I will blog about it, but for now I wanted to share about my re-entry experience.
When I was planning for this trip I had a lot of anxiety about leaving all the kids with Shawn. He is very capable of handling them, but I was really worried about how Tator would react to me being gone and how the other kids would act as well. I had never left them like this before so I didn't know how everyone was going to do with it. Expecally the baby.
So we decided the best thing would be for Tator to go into respite. She was staying with her normal respite provider who she knows very well and likes to go to her house and play with her other kids. We had some raging and a lot of attitude the weekend before my trip so I didn't tell her she was going to respite until the night before I left. She was excited and I had made her a calendar telling her when respite provider would be picking her up and when I would be home so she knew when everything was happening.
I did not get back until late Monday night so she was already in bed. When I got her up the next morning before school it was clear she was excited to see me. She jumped out of bed and ran to me giving me a hug. After she came down and got dressed she went and unloaded the dishwasher like she does every morning. Then I could tell I was getting the silence treatment and there was a tenseness about the room. I knew that that evening was going to be rough. She ate breakfast and went on to school, never looking at me or saying a word.
When she came home you could tell she was still very much upset and it was just a matter of time before she was going to blow. So I put into practice something we had talked about over and over in Orlando and I prescribed the fit. I told her I understood that she was feeling a lot of big feelings about me being gone and she could go ahead and let them out. We would all go ahead and take a seat and watch her. And when she was done we were even going to give her a score. Well of course she told me how dumb that was and she was not going to throw a fit. But she had already crawled under the table and I knew it was going to come and I really didn't want the little kids watching her do it. So I told her I thought she should go to her room and take a few minutes to settle down. She started to kick the chairs and told me she wasn't going. Now me and Buster have started play this little game at bedtime. He refuses to go to bed so I tell him I'm going to race him and as I'm running up the stairs I say "I won, I won I shot the BB gun, you lost you lost you ate the applesauce." So he always follows me yelling no I want to shoot the BB gun. It works and its easy.
So I thought I'd try this out on her. So as she's laying under the table about to blow and refusing to go to her room. I yelled, "I'm going to shot the BB gun" and started running up the stairs praying she'd follow me. And she did. She layed down on her bed for awhile while I came down and did stuff downstairs.
When I went back to get her later she was in a better mood and came down and did her homework. I asked her if it was something that happened at school or home that made her upset. And she said she wasn't upset, which is her normal response. Then she said she didn't want me to go to Orlando, I said well you got to go to ___'s house and that was fun. Then she said I wanted to be home with my family.
From there the walls came down a little. I took her into the living room and she crawled into my lap and I explained the other kids had other places they went to while I was gone so it wasn't so hard on daddy and that we chose to send her to ___'s house so she would be busy and having fun and wouldn't think about me being gone.
She sat with me for a long time and I could tell she was very happy I was back. (Which made me feel very good) I told her I didn't have any other plans to leave like that again until next year so I hadn't made any plans for her to go to ___'s house again for at least awhile. We talked about how I had never left like that before and that I deserved to have a little break and go away with friends.
I would love to think that Orlando changed things for someone other than me, but that would probably be asking to much. I guess we'll just wait and see.