I haven’t said this for a while but we had a really good weekend! And when I say a good weekend, I mean Jude wasn’t a nightmare. He’s changed a lot recently, more chatty, less flighty and panicked. He still has his anxious moments and freaks out at the drop of a hat but his conversation has improved so he doesn’t lie on the floor screaming every five minutes and I’m feeling calmer and more capable of helping him out of his anxiety ridden attacks.
On Saturday night we attempted something groundbreaking…Someone other than me putting Emmeline to bed. The reason we have been so reluctant to try this is largely because of Jude’s reaction to her crying (as well as the fact she’s a massive cling-bags). Jude freaks out when she gets upset and then we spend an hour or so calming him down. But we were feeling daring and so I left Joe to tackle Little Miss Mummy’s Girl whilst I sat with Jude in his room, awaiting the imminent melt down. I wanted to observe Jude from the other side of the door that he likes to keep closed. He was ready for bed and we were just finding a book to share together when Emmeline realised our tactic and started yelling for me (and BOY has that girl got some lungs on her.) Jude immediately, firmly closed his door and then took up his preferred coping stance of crouching on the ground, head between his knees picking the wooden floor boards. I crouched down so as to see life through his level and I can honestly say, it did feel safer being down near the ground! I can see why he likes it, your enclosed within your own body in a semi-foetal position. You are that hedgehog, rolled up and closed away from whatever is scaring you. I kept saying to Jude “look at me Jude, it’s ok” and he’d glance up and half smile, knowing that the thing bothering him really shouldn’t feel that bad. I asked him what he didn’t like and he straight away replied “the noise”and kept asking me to go and sort Emmeline out. I told him that it’s ok, Joe is with Emmeline and she’s safe. I explained that she’s only nineteen months old so can’t express herself with word. All she can do is cry and that’s her way of telling us she isn’t happy. Jude kept asking why?
Why can’t she talk? I repeated that she’s a baby and babies don’t talk. Why? He asked again. Because they’re babies Jude and they haven’t learnt lots of words yet. Why?
I think he was using the word why as a way of keeping composure. Keep me talking in a calm tone so he could be certain that it was a safe situation.
It was fascinating watching Jude cope through an Emmeline episode. He crouches down, fidgets, looks around repeatedly, trying to get comfortable and distracted from the noise. Eventually, I went in and gave her a hug and put her to bed and then went back to Jude who was under his covers by now, flicking papers around in a bid to rationalise his evening. I sat and made a story up for him, of course involving…”Once upon a time, there was a boy named Jude…” and eventually he fell asleep.
It was good though because seeing exactly what bothers Jude and how he reacts to it, we are able to help him to our best capabilities. Now we just have to try and help him manage with the noise stress when she wakes up in the night and calls out for me…no idea how to tackle that one!