Thursday, June 14, 2012

By Herself

Ever since we started home schooling, I realized that I do a lot for Catherine.  I think it is because it is easier and faster for me to just do things for her rather than make her do them.  But, I realized that she needs to gain more independence and self-care.  So, we have made a concerted effort to make her do things herself. 

Some things we have forced her to do for herself, and some things she has just started doing on her own.  We are making her get herself dressed, undressed, bathed, teeth brushed, etc. all by herself.  Of course her clothes selection is not always appropriate, but that is one of the advantages of home schooling.  I can handle her clothes being completely mismatched in the privacy of our home.

A few days ago we watched the movie E.T. for a family movie night.  I had borrowed it from the library and had to return it.  The girls seemed to enjoy it, but did not mention it again for a few days.  Then yesterday I walked into my bedroom and Catherine was programming our Uverse system to record the movie E.T.  I had no idea she knew how to search for and record a program!!

Today Catherine and her sister, unbeknownst to me, got out her Ariel tattoos, opened the package, divided them, and applied them to their arms.  All on their own!

While we are doing school, Catherine will start to get the necessary supplies ready by herself.  For History class, she will get her journal and her map book out, for example.  For math, she knows to access the online lessons and can do that.  She still is no where close to actually doing a lesson by herself, but she at least is learning the processes. 

When I tell her it is time to catheterize, she will go to the bathroom and get out the lubricant and a catheter for me. We still have to work out a few logistical steps in having her catheterize herself (like how to have her wash and sterilize her hands and then get on the toilet without touching the toilet, thus dirtying her hands).  She has at least learned the catheter process, even though she can't quite do it herself yet.

We started swim team in the middle of May.  Catherine did not swim any laps without me and/or the coach arguing with her about getting into the water.  She has no fear of the water; she just doesn't want to do the work.  Swim team practice can be intimidating because so many children end up sharing a lane.  Many kids pass Catherine, swimming in both directions.  A few times she has told me that it gets pretty crowded in the lanes.  In the beginning she was only able to swim about 2 lengths of the pool during the 30 minute practice, given the time wasted in discussing whether or not she would swim.  Plus, she gets pretty exhausted swimming so much. 

A few days ago, Catherine came to swim team practice with a new found sense of determination.  I always sit on the side lines and give her a chance to obey her coach.  If she refuses and he has to star arguing with her, then I intervene and tell her she has to obey.  A few days ago I did not have to intervenec at all.  I looked up and she had simply jumped in the water and started swimming.  That day she swam 4 laps.

That day she also figured out how to exit the pool by herself.  In the past I have always lifted her out of the pool, because there is no ladder or stairs available where the swim team lanes end.  But this day, when I bent over to help her out, she said she was going to get out on her own.  I said OK, and she did!  It looked like Indiana Jones climbing up a cliff while being physically exhausted, but she got out of the pool by herself!

Today she actually swam 6 laps - a huge victory!  She is still very slow compared to her peers, but her endurance and courage are increasing significantly.  I am also impressed because I doubt that I have ever been able to swim six laps in a thirty minute time period!!

These are all small victories, to be sure.  But, I am so thrilled at her increased sense of independence!

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