This is probably something every parent of kids with special needs already knows about but there is something I recently learned that has made a whole world of difference to our daily outings.
I noticed a few weeks ago that Mini loves to rub things on her palm-twigs and leaves mostly.It distracts her,calms her down and keeps her near to me-not running off at the earliest opportunity,which is really handy whenever we go for walks.The two girls in the double buggy is getting to be too much of a strain for me to manage with my dodgy back,so we re back to single buggy mode. This means a combination of Mini Mini in her sling and Mini in the buggy or Mini Mini in the buggy and Mini on foot. We’ve tried a platform that you attach to the rear of the buggy but Mini won’t (literally) stand for it so it has become another expensive unused baby item cluttering up our already over cluttered home.
Mini has gotten much better at holding hands since she started preschool at the local Steiner Kindergarten where the children go for long walks twice a week but she still likes to fly solo.The problem with not holding hands is that she tends to make a break for it.A lot. It’s one thing chasing after a runaway toddler when it’s just the two of you.It’s another thing entirely when you’re chasing said toddler while pushing her sister in a buggy.
So the leaf handling was born out of total frustration with me trying to get her to walk next to the buggy,while still maintaining a level of autonomy that involved no hand holding. Now when I feel her starting to squirm and wriggle her little hand out from my protective grasp, I let her go and replace my hand with a leaf.She’s instantly placated and will now happily walk in the direction I want her to go for at least ten minutes maybe more.
My mother calls the leaf and other sensory aids a “doo-dah” which Mini loves the sound of. Unfortunately leaves and twigs aren’t always available in places such as shopping centres and other man made structures but luckily I was in Easons the other day and I spied this-a whole bag of “doo-dahs”.
Mini loves them and they’ve become a staple in my changing bag. They ‘re great for doctors waiting rooms,long car trips and they’re soon to face their ultimate test-a trip to Brussels via Dublin airport in a few weeks time.
It’s amazing the difference one simple thing can make and how much peace of mind €1.49 can bring!