I realised last week that whenever I do anything with the girls, I am waiting for Something to happen. I feel that I am constantly on edge, waiting for this Something.
When we’re in the park, I’m laughing and smiling but in my head I’m thinking, ‘Right, if she runs away here, where could she go?’ I’m planning for what I would do with Little while I have to chase after Big. I’m scanning for likely routes she might take when she runs.
When we’re playing with other children, I’m watching her constantly to check that she can manage with what they’re playing. I’m listening to everything that everybody is saying so that I can tell her what they’re saying in simpler language. I’m checking that she’s not getting dysregulated and wondering how I’m going to extract her from a group of friends without causing more of a meltdown.
When we go to the doctors/opticians/ophthalmologist/hospital, I’m constantly checking, explaining, answering and managing expectations.
When we’re with extended family, I’m listening and looking for any slight clues that might give away how she’s feeling because I know how much she hides them from everybody else.
It’s not fun and I know that I’m missing out on just being with the girls but I don’t know how to not be like this because the second I’m not (like today), the Something happens and I find myself in a situation where she could get really hurt.
The way to avoid the Something happening is to constantly cover all the bases, to always be planned, to make sure she’s understood what to do, to check that she knows what’s happening next, to always carry snacks with me(!) And generally I do these things but it’s impossible (or it feels that way) to be able to do them all the time and then Something happens.
Today the Something was that she ran away. I took Little out of the car (we were parked on the drive about 2m away from the house),I opened Big’s door so she could get out, I picked Little up so she could open the house door and when I turned round, Big had gone. The feeling of fear when she does this is indescribable. Fortunately where we live is very quiet and most of the neighbours are quite good at watching over her but she has no sense of danger, no risk assessment and her decision making is based on how she is feeling, none of which lead to keeping herself safe in any way.
When I spoke to her about it she said, ‘But you didn’t see me so it’s okay.’ I don’t know if this means she thinks I have no idea that she ran away (despite the fact that I carried her back from where she was into the house), that she doesn’t think she did anything wrong because I didn’t see her go, that it’s my fault it happened because I wasn’t watching her or something else but it’s hard to do any kind of repair or reflection with someone who won’t let you.
I’m catatrophising here but I can’t help but worry about the future and how I’m going to keep her safe.
So tomorrow is back to planning and keeping (extremely) close and hoping that Something else doesn’t happen.
The best bits
Last week we went to the woods. Big initiated some imaginative play. It was the most prescriptive, controlled play that I’ve ever been involved in but it was imaginative!
Last Thursday, Little slept through! I think that’s all I need to say there!