This morning, I was vacuuming my bedroom and Sydney was begging me for a turn. (Why do kids love the vacuum until they are actually old enough to use one effectively?) I gave her the hose to go around the baseboards and reach under the bed. One of my nicest shirts was lying on my dresser, waiting for a turn in the washing machine. She managed to vacuum up half the shirt before I could grab it. She loved using the vacuum and giggled for most of the time she was dragging it around. I wish I loved the vacuum enough to giggle while I used it! Ha.
The above took place right after I got Sydney out of the bath and had to clean up the gallon of water she had sloshed over the side of the tub. She also emptied most of a bottle of shampoo into the tub so she could have bubbles. She knows better! However, the bath was before her meds had slowed her down and calmed her, giving her a little bit of self-control. I love it when Sydney wants a bath in the early mornings because then she is “contained” for that 30 or 40 minute period it takes for her meds to kick in. So…. while this morning, I had to use an extra towel to clean up water, and the shampoo is gone, there are no spilled foods, dumped toy boxes, brothers complaining of torture, and nothing is broken. I’ll put shampoo on my grocery list and call it a successful Saturday morning.
If you haven’t read it before, I have a post called Saturday Mornings With Sydney from December 2012 describing a typical Saturday morning here at the Smith house. Saturdays, during the school year, are the hardest because it is the day with the least routine.
Sydney causes me more work in one day than any kid I've ever known but I love her with all my heart. When she was very young and I did not yet understand she had a disability, I was pretty hard on Sydney and REALLY hard on myself. All my other kids have conformed to rules and been easy to train. Sydney was like no child I’d ever been around. I have come to understand that "she is who she is" and she cannot help it. She will never "catch up" to her peers. Ever. The alcohol she was exposed to in the womb did damage that I cannot undo. There are helps available: like medications, physical boundaries, and visual reminders. We use them all.
Sydney's behaviors do become more manageable with each passing year due to some maturity, but she will probably never be able to control all of her impulses. Of course, she won’t still be dumping shampoo in the bath when she is in high school but what will she be doing instead? It’s a scary thought. I won’t always be able to clean up "the messes" she makes when she is an adult, but for now I try to do it with a smile on my face. I memorized a Bible verse that has been helping me a lot. It comes from James chapter one: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the trying of your faith produces patience. And let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Don’t misunderstand. I do not think of Sydney as a trial or a burden! I think of her as a blessing and a teacher! I do see the FAS and Sydney’s lack of self-control as a burden to both myself and to her. And, just as God promised, I am learning patience and growing closer to Him!