Angelica Grace Designs Blog

Friday, December 26, 2008

ANATOMY OF A BEACH MELT DOWN

I'm dedicating this post to Kenidi's life skills teacher back home. Mrs. Alison (who does read this here ol' blog which makes me so thankful to have her as a visitor). If there is any other person on the face of this earth that knows what these looks and these step by step movements look like with Kenidi, it's her. So Alison, we thought of you when on the beach the other day. Let me explain...

The first photo above is the look on Kenidi's face when Daddy told her it was time to leave the beach and go home. The image below is of her "Yeah, whatever...I'm 5.5 years old and way bigger than you - so you be my guest and just try to get me out of here" look.

The next step is when Kenidi decides that she isn't leaving somewhere, we eventually have to walk over and get her, attempting to pick her up and carry her out of said location. Daddy does so below. Notice her way of placing one leg over the other as though she is just going to sit down in a pretend chair and wait it out. May the best man/girl win, right Kenidi...?

Once Daddy grabs her arms and tries to lift her up and out of said place, she does what we call the stop, drop, and roll. Exhibit A shown below. Arms go limp and straight up, then she shifts her body all to the lower half and her weight drops her entire body to the ground. Thus resulting in no way for us to pick her up. Nice try Daddy...

Daddy eventually lets go - as does Mommy when this happens to her - and we let her have her moment on the floor for a few seconds. Exhibit B shown below...

This is where it begins to get tough because others in the area (onlookers, strangers, passer by's) start to stare, start to comment, make claims about how out of control our child is, etc. With a typical and healthy 5 year old who was acting like this, you might be at the point here where you'd like to hang them by their toe nails. However, with Kenidi and her inability to speak or voice her frustrations (i.e., "Forgot you guys, I ain't leavin' this beach. Go home without me."), we are always more patient with her than a normal situation because of what she must go through during ordeals such as this when she is trying to get her point across but can't. Well she can - but in order to do it, she resorts to the melt downs and uses visual word pictures such as all of these I've captured for you.

At some point, you realize...it's all a game. She is way smarter than most people give her credit for. Including us at times. Although Kenidi has severe developmental delays due to her hypotonia condition, she is no dummy. This child is actually extremely smart. She cognitively, understands basically everything you and I say given her actual age. (5.5 years) Although she can't communicate sentences to us, she has one word statements that help alert us to what she wants or needs. Or in this case...is demanding at that particular moment.

Now, as her parents...sometimes you can get through these episodes and laugh it all off. Other times though...it is way more trying on your patience. After the tornado event of trying to secretly get out of a restaurant or wherever we are as she is conveniently flailing around, kicking you, smacking you, screaming, etc. (unfortunately she has recently begun picking up some pinching and smacking techniques from another special needs child in her class) just as though you are trying to kidnap her or something, in the end you are just glad to reach the car without being hauled off to jail. Either because of the child herself and her actions that were wearing on your patience or because of the family at the table beside you that you almost had to deck in the nose and knock flat out for making very loud and unfair comments about how your child behaves due to your lack of parenting skills. Note to each of you out there who ever experience a situation where a toddler/child is totally out of control...zip your mouth and make sure you keep your opinions and comments to yourself. It's so unfair and so hurtful to judge. You never know what that child or that family is going thru. For example Kenidi...who cannot talk. Comments toward special needs parents make the parents life that much harder and even more trying. And trust me...if you run across a parent with an attitude like the one I carry in defense of my child (special needs or not), you might not make it out of that restaurant or store alive once you get all puffy and elect to voice your opinion out loud. Therefore, if you value the rest of your days on earth...you must learn to stay quiet and parent your own children...not others. I say that with the most gentle of tones. HA!

Thankfully, on this beach afternoon, we were one of only a few people out there and we were able to laugh it off on the way back to the car as Kenidi was screaming at the top of her lungs - clearly pretending that we had kidnapped her again so that she could stay back at the beach.
As everyday with Kenidi ends, no matter how many melt downs we have experienced on that given day, you look at her and know without a shadow of a doubt that she cannot help it. Yes, it is partially a game. However, these are the cards that God dealt her. These are also the same cards that God dealt us. We are thankful for both hands. Although trying, they make all of us who we are. Those hands of cards have blessed us with more patience, more understanding, more love than we ever thought humanly possible, more care and concern for others, and so forth.

The melt downs, kicks, bites, screams, and all...are "our" life. And we are extremely proud of that life and so very grateful that God chose us to parent that world for Kenidi. We are also very glad that he chose Brennen to be the big brother that he is for Kenidi as well. We couldn't play this hand of cards or do it without him.


The hands on the ears, shown above, are Kenidi's reaction to being told..."OK...we are leaving without ya." We begin to walk away and she does the above. However, she never gets up and comes running to us as planned. If she does, she eventually sits back down and does it again once she sees that we see her finally cooperating.

So Alison, I knew you were one of only a few people on the face of this earth that can appreciate these photographs - our life in frames - and also your life with Kenidi as well, beings that you are her teacher. As I went back thru some of the images from the beach the other night, I thought..."Alison must see these!" Ha Ha!

Imagine friends...Alison and other special education teachers and aides across the country do this for a living on a daily basis. And they CHOSE that job. Well, really we know that God chooses them - to chose that career. HA HA! When all is said and done though, they do this for my child and thousands of others everyday. I'm telling you...you need to go thank your schools special education staff - whether you have a special needs child in their class or not. They are special, special, individuals and deserve affirmation, appreciation, and support - from everyone.

Anyway, now that I'm done with my soapbox, I just thought all of you would enjoy seeing Kenidi at her finest. If you are close friends with us, you've most likely witnessed it first hand out in public somewhere along side us. We thank you for still being our friends and for still venturing out with us time after time - even once you've escaped a restaurant or store with this child and her parents - without being thrown in jail for a knock down drag out fight amongst adults (outspoken by standers) or for alleged attempted kidnapping charges. We thank you for braving those waters each time we are out and about with each of you. Hee hee! That is what friends are for right? If we do down, you go down (to jail) with us. HA!

We love you Kenidi Grace. Swats, smacks, and all. We wouldn't have it any other way sweetheart. You are our gift from God and we are so very thankful for you and all that you've taught us baby girl.

Love you to the moon and back (1000 times),

Daddy, Mommy, and Bubbies

PS...You can't be mad at her for not wanting to leave the beach. She inherited that love for the ocean and the sand honestly. It's in her genes. Literally thru and thru. Like Mommy, like daughter.

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Angie~ what a day you guys had! Those are always particularly rough in public places (I've definitely been on the receiving end of funny looks from strangers when a kiddo is wailing like I'm being an absolute monster by asking them to do something like get on the bus!). Thank you for the sweet words about special education teachers. At the end of the day you just have to chuckle at how sneaky-smart our kiddos can be when they are trying to get their way! Hope the rest of your vacation is a blast! :) Alison

12/26/2008 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Melissa M said...

Angie,

Once again, like i have said always, God hand picked the two of you for parents for Kenidi. The times we have all been out together I can see how wonderful you and Brent are with dealing with those situations of the outburst or stares etc. Kenidi is such a blessing and the folks that give you looks are missing out on seeing such a precious child. Hang in there and don't let others stupidity ever discourage you!!!!

ps...the next time Kenidi drops to the ground or has a screaming outburst, do the same, and give those on lookers something else to talk about. Then pick yourselves up and walk away laughing at them!

12/26/2008 10:30 AM  
Blogger Angie Seaman said...

Now Melissa, that is funny. We might have to try stop, dropping, and rolling, with Kenidi next time while out in public. I like that idea. Too funny! The only thing better is if I could capture it all in frames-with my camera-as it was playing out. Hysterical! We'd all end up in the loony bin then, wouldn't we? Ha ha! So funny!

Either way, thanks for your support girl. You know I appreciate our friendship and the love you have for our family-especially Kenidi. Hope your Christmas was a blast! Miss you.

Much love, Ang

12/26/2008 10:34 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Angie,

You are such a beautiful person! You have no idea how inspiring you are to others, just by being you. And Kenidi, she just looks absolutely like an angel, no matter what. The photographs of her are always stunning.

Yesterday, I posted the "How Many Kings" video on my blog, and put a link back to yours for introducing it to me. Today I actually had a comment from one of the band members! I thought that was so neat. Thanks so much for sharing their music with me.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Kristin from TX

12/26/2008 1:04 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Angie!
Thanks for sharing this. I ran and got my husband to show him! Frame by frame, this is our precious Brendon "pulling trash" with us when he is being asked to do/go somewhere he doesn't want. lol

They must teach them this one in angel school.

One funny thing Brendon will do....is I know (and he knows it's all an act) I will say, "Brendon Ezra Roark! If this is not a fakey cry then don't you laugh!!! and he will burst out laughing and quickly slip back into his stop drop and roll mode!" turkey.

Kenidi is a doll and it's probably a good thing that the four of us haven't taken our kids out for dinner yet because you and I would surely be arrested because of MY big mouth right along there with ya! I have had a few grocery store altercations where I responded loudly to a woman--- pointing out a few of her menopausal defects. oops...

Anyway,
take care and enjoy that sunshine! I think I may enjoy a nap with my little guy this afternoon! (one of those days!)
Melissa Roark

12/26/2008 2:37 PM  
Blogger Angie Seaman said...

Missy, as always, your comments have me crackin' up on the floor laughing. Brent is on his cell with his brother right now. I can't wait to let him read your latest post. Ha ha!

And I say we finally do that dinner out - together - with both fams just for the mear fun of it all. We would sure draw some crowds, wouldn't we?

Love ya girl! Hope Christmas was a blast. Already missin' ya on myspace.

Ang

12/26/2008 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Grandama Sue said...

Oh how funny! I can just see the whole family throwing their self down on the ground. There is only one problem------it would be so much fun for the kids, they would want to do this everytime! ha ha. My little miss kenidi; what a personality she has. Yah Angie, she gets that beach thing honestly, the first time we went to florida, you were not going to get on the plane to go home. You were sincerely so sad, I felt terrible about making you leave. HIP HIP HOORAY! FOR TEACHERS AND AIDS OF SPECIAL CHILDREN, AND THEIR PARENTS AND SIBLINGS. Hi Brennen! XOXOXO

12/26/2008 4:35 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

These shots were great; we all have these moments with our kids; I think it just makes us love them more.

Enjoy your vacation; sun is a shinin!

12/26/2008 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Rhonda and Bailee said...

Dear Angie,
We so know about these moments and we know how you feel as parents! Kenidi you are a beautiul little girl, even when you do not want to leave the beach! These pictures of you are beautiful! You inspire our family along with your mommy, daddy, and bubbies! WE LOVE YOU ALL AND WE THANK YOU FOR SETTING SUCH A WONDERFUL EXAMPLE TO ALL OF US PARENTS OF SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN!
Bailee says keep on havin a blast at the beach!!!!!!!
Love,
Rhonda and Bailee

12/26/2008 4:43 PM  
Blogger BrownBag*Boutique said...

Hi Angie! I read your blog all the time but seldom comment. Reading this post - I had to comment! I work in the school system with special needs students - ages 3 -21. As I am on Christmas break now, I have had a few days of no "meltdowns" but it makes me smile to think of my precious children that I will see in a few short days. These children are nothing short of God's grace and are the true teachers in our school. I couldn't even begin to list what I have learned from them. Patience, unconditional love. . . it's why I love what I do!! Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

12/26/2008 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Lori McGuire said...

Angie and family- God DID choose you, Brent and Brennen to be Kenidi's family because he knew it was best for ALL of you!!! Thank you for speaking out to others about how hurtful the stares and comments are from strangers. These families have more than enough to endure without the "advice and comments" of onlookers. I would be willing to bet that if they are parents, then their child has had a public tantrum at one time or another! If not, they should be thanking the Lord and not judging others!
As for Bren, I have meant to comment before that you should be SO proud of the considerate and loving big brother that he is to Kenidi! He will make a wonderful husband one day. It is hard to find such a sweet disposition in a young boy these days ( I am around loads of them all the time..)
Kenidi looks beautiful in your photos- meltdown or not- she is precious.
Lots of love from Illinois!
Lori

12/26/2008 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope your Christmas was just as special as you are. What does Kenidi think of all the gifts under the tree? I bet she loves it. Her meltdown reminded me of Alicen a couple months ago. We were shopping, something she loves to do because of all the bright lights (especially in Menards of all places.) Anyway, she started shreiking and making all sorts of horrible noises everyone was staring and almost pointing at us. Turns out that her toes were curled under because of the Cerebral Palsey. We are in the process of having her fitted for new orthotics as her old ones are too small. Even seeing a small child in a wheel chair screeming at the tops of her lungs doesn't make any differance to people around us. I wish people would remember not to judge too harshly because they never know where the road they are on will lead them. Thanks for sharing all that you do. Oh and thanks for being you.

Christina
a preemie mom

12/29/2008 12:27 PM  
Blogger Natalie said...

Angie,
That was a beautiful post!

12/29/2008 3:10 PM  
Blogger Eloise said...

Hi, Angie! Your friend CZ pointed me to your blog because she thought our daughters sounded similar.

Our Vivian is 15 now but functions around a 5-6 year old level. She has no diagnosis other than developmental delays and epilepsy. Vivian has a terrible time with transitions. We have seen meltdowns similar to Kenidi's at our house on MANY occasions!

I laughed at your comment about special education teachers and aides CHOOSING to work with our kids. I share your bewilderment and have often commented that I would have quit my position on several occasions had that been an option!

If you have a chance, check out my blog and particularly my posts on Vivian. If you'd like to communicate with me, you can leave a comment or send me an email at eloise@weaselsjourney.com

Take care!

11/03/2009 8:11 PM  

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