Friday, December 12, 2014

Clap your hands...

Do you remember leaving your child for the first time at preschool or kindergarten?  You probably had mixed emotions.  You knew that they were in well trained and caring hands.  They needed to be there.  But, the screams of "Don't leave me here!" broke your heart.  You expected to hear about all of the things that they learned and how nice the people were that helped them.  That part is exciting, but the bad habits that they seem to pick up are frustrating and a new challenge that must be handled.

This walk down memory lane is pretty much what happened when I left my mom in well trained and caring hands at the hospital. Yes, there was screaming as I walked away.  And, instead of hearing about wonderful experiences when she came home (no, I really didn't expect a miracle), I received a physically healthier mom.  For that I am thankful. Unfortunately, we were also gifted with some new bad habits to challenge us. 
Here's a quick little story that will make sense in a minute...  When I was 10 or 11, Mom used to take me to the convalescent home where she worked.  I hated it.  What I most remember is the screams.  It seemed like every room had a resident screaming, "Help me!  Oh, please, help me!  Don't leave me here!"  I'm sure that there weren't that many screams, but, to my young ears, it sure sounded like it.  It made me feel helpless and scared.

Which leads me to one of Mom's newly acquired behaviors... screaming.  "Help me!  Somebody help me!"  It is still heartbreaking to hear.  And I feel just as helpless.  There is little to do to soothe her. Offers of help are met with anger and frustrations.  Distractions are non-existent these days.  Offering a hand to hold is grounds for getting that hand slapped.  Helpless.  Both of us.

My favorite new challenge is the the tapping.  And clapping.  And poking (strangers like this one, too).  And knocking.  And pounding.  If there is a surface, or body, or even two available hands (like the two she has) she will make some kind of rhythmic noise.  If she needs your attention beyond the yells and crying, she will poke you.  Often.  And anywhere. On anyone.  It's a fun challenge.  Tonight we received a special performance, I could actually pick out the rhythm of a song. 

It would have been the perfect ending to this post if the song had been "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands."   She could have changed the words in the final verse:

If you're unhappy and you know it, clap your hands, bang the walls, poke someone.
If you're unhappy and you know it, clap your hands, bang the walls, poke someone. 
If you're unhappy and you know it, then your hands will surely show it,
If you're unhappy and you know it, clap your hands, bang the walls, poke someone.

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