Well this week I wanted to look at little more at emotions, feelings and communication. I’ve previously mentioned that when Lark first arrived, they were angry. Super angry and I even wrote a blog about living with any angry child. I’m pleased to say almost 2 years on, the anger has REALLY faded. Lark is managing to find other ways to manage their anxiety – rather than just hurting us, or the animals or innocent plants (like my lovely roses that took a bashing the first year) in our garden.

However, over the summer with the anxiety of the ‘new’ school coming up it became REALLY obvious that Lark needed to go back and fill in a few more gaps.

One area we noticed at the beginning of summer was that Lark kept putting anything and everything in their mouth. Just like a baby, literally feeling the sensation of different objects. With babies/infants this stage is much easier to manage as of course they can’t go far crawling, and you can restrict what they lay their hands on. With older kids it’s much harder. The range of toys Lark has to begin with, most of which of course would NOT be recommended for kids under 3 who are still likely to be putting things in their mouths, were causing problems – they simply are not meant to be in a child’s mouth!

I sat Lark down and spoke to them about putting things in their mouth, I explained that some of the things they are trying to chew on are not suitable (the cheap manufactured toy from China which came on the comic springs to mind – heaven’s knows what they are using for ‘paint’ now a days). I said it seems to mummy that you’d really like to chew on something and lark said “yes please”. I asked if they would like a dummy – just one for home mind (being sensitive to the fact that perhaps whist wanting it they didn’t want to admit it) – “NO” screamed Lark. So I told Lark to leave it with me and mummy would find something suitable. After much hunting I found the perfect thing – a cuddly owl with chew toys – it’s made by a company called Skip Hop and is called Treetop Friends Owl. When it arrived I sat down Lark and we opened it together, I explained that mummy wants them to be safe so they can’t just chew on anything – but that this toy was safe and even had a lovely leaf (with textures on both sides) which mummy was happy for them to chew on. It worked a treat – Lark howled with delight at the owl and even loved the mirrors and crinkly noise the owl makes. They really loved the chew toy bit and after a couple of weeks of INTENSE use – soon the owl was left on his own! The ‘chewing’ phase passed and Lark moved on.

Also coinciding with this need to chew, Lark demanded more and more that I hold them, cradled like a baby. I was reminded of a song we were taught at a Theraplay class (before we had the kids to practice on!!!) and it was an adaption of Twinkle Twinkle. You modify the words to personalise the song to the child:

“Twinkle, Twinkle little star what a special child (insert girl or boy) you are, eyes so (insert colour)” and then from here I had to ad-lib as I couldn’t remember the prescribed words so I sing “nose so sweet, just the child (girl or boy) I’d like to meet” etc. Whilst doing this I make eye contact, gently swaying (we’re in a sitting positon, with the child cradled). Lark needs to hear it – and even on holidays a few times actually came right out and said ‘sing it to me’, which I did and once they’d had their ‘fill up’ off they went happily.

So what have we learned? Well – that sometimes to go forward we need to go back again (and again and again….!!).