Wordy Wednesday “ the Incredible 5 Point Scale”

“Aha! No guessing required then?”
“Indeed. I thought I’d make it easy this week.”
“So how much is your commission?”
“Oodles upon oodles.”
“No link to Amazon?”
“You don’t need it, just some coloured paper, a black pen, cardboard and some sticky backed plastic?”
“Sticky backed what?”
“Laminater to you dearie.”
“And why exactly would I want one of these. I don’t have any autistic kids?”
“Well try it on yourself and if it works then you might have a go with the kiddie winkies.”
“Again, why?”
“Well maybe you have little kids that don’t have many words, or kids that lose their words when they get all het up.”
“The word “tantrum” does spring to mind.”
“Do you always know what’s upsetting them?”
“Sometimes is obvious but other times they’re wailing so much I just can’t figure it out.”
“Well that’s when this comes in handy.”
“Quite often I can get really, really upset about something, I can feel the pressure building, breathe faster, heart racing, that sort of thing.”
“Me too.”
“We’re adults, we can usually recognize what’s happening to us, but children often don’t realize that they are heating up.”
“I suppose. But how would this help?”
“The idea is that you catch them as their emotions are rising. If you start with when they’re having a good day…”
“Or moment!”
“True! Then they can learn to associate feeling okie dokie with green, nice, calm and happy.”
“Then you want to catch them when they’re just starting to get upset ‘yellow’ or already upset ‘orange’ but not when they’ve completely lost it and in the red zone.
“You know, that’s quite a useful skill to acquire for anyone. Bio rhythms. ”
“Indeed. Wish someone had introduced it to me when I was little. One of the things that I most like about this, is that I’m being active as a parent. Sometimes I can feel so helpless but this helps the communication. Even if they’ve lost their words they can still point at the right colour, the numbers helped for one of mine in particular.”
“I’m not sure about your colour scheme though. I often associate being in a rage with black or blinding white.”
“Adapt and survive, just figure out what works for you.”
“So you could probably adapt that to other things.”
“Like…one of mine has a tough time with our bedtime routine.”
“Really? Sounds like you’d be better off with “sequencing” and “social stories” for that one.”
“Another time, another post.”
“Could I use it when he gets in a tizzy about sharing?”
“Sure. Just about any tizzy you experience, it’s very flexible.”
“Yeah, so that might help get things under control.”
“I hope so. One of the most fabulous experiences I’ve had is helping them recognize what it feels like to be in a 5 and then gradually, gradually, gradually oozing back down to a green 1.”
“We Americans call that ’empowering.'”
“Hmm, for both of us!”
“Geez, I bet it took forever until they grasped the concept?”
“You would think so wouldn’t you, but actually they ‘got’ it straight away. It took some practice, but it certainly tapped into something that’s maybe innate in all of us.”
“Ooo a bit like those “colour me beautiful” things in the 80’s?”
“Don’t date yourself dearie.”
“So are you gonna tell me about the calming techniques?”
“Good grief no, that would take forever. You could write tomes just on that one subject.”
“Another time perhaps?”
“There are a zillion books out there on the subject already.”
“Could you recommend one?”
“Well it’s a bit tricky as there isn’t really a one size fits all version.”
“Wriggled out of that one well. See you then. Cheers dears!”
“Hey, don’t pinch my line!”
“O.k. How about, toodle pip!”
“See ya babe.”

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Many moons ago my child, when I was just a wee young thing….I would sign my name in the book as I arrived at work at the bank, where I was am employee, every working day. On one strange day, I was called into the under manager's office. [translation = always a bad sign] He displayed the 'sign in book' because this was in the days before the 'clock in' machine. [translation = or possibly something more to do with snobbery, the 'trade' v. 'profession' debate.]

“Well McEwen!” he said in a fatherly tone. “What do you have to say about this?” He riffled the pages and pointed to my signatures. Week upon week, there is was, my own personal scribble. I sought clues. None were forthcoming.

He prompted, “don't you see?”
“Er, I'm not on time every day?' I squeaked.
He snapped the volume closed and sighed,
“what is it about Wednesdays?”
“I don't know? What is it about Wednesdays?”
“Every Wednesday you have a squiggle.”
“A squiggle?”
“This is not your signature, just a squiggle.
Every Wednesday for nearly a year. What is it about Wednesdays?” [translation = what exactly preceded the observed event? N.B. See how much I have advanced since those days of youth?]
I didn't know then, I don't know now. I suspect it's something to do with circadian rhythms or some other phsychobabbledom.

Today nearly thirty years later I am struck by a curious thought. That bank manager was a Brit, three decades ago? What kind of a bank manager was he? A rare breed. Someone sufficiently in tune with his employees, to even notice such a detail in the first place.

I notice traffic on the web.
Alerts are quiet.
What do you do on a Wednesday?
Mid week.
Not the 'get into gear Monday' nor the 'wind down Friday.'
Think about it? What is it about Wednesday? I can see the evidence of my own eyes. What did you do today? How did you feel? What makes Wednesday different from Tuesday or Thursday? Is Wednesday the forgotten day? Is your battery flat?
Is it in limbo?
Don't ask me.
I have no answers. Only questions.

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5 a day [translation = a breather]

Occupational therapy is a profession for professionals. Mere amateurs should steer well clear. [translation = not dabble] I leave my daughter in the car in the garage and herd the boys inside. She remains for a few minutes, unhindered and free, so that she can regroup and recalibrate her hearing system after a twenty minute drive, with continuous screaming down the freeway. [translation = stereo] [Note to self – contact architect re sound proofing the garage] I hope that the Child Protective Services don't honour us with an unexpected visit.

Whilst she has a little breather, I debate whether to commence homework straight away, before they become engrossed, [translation = locked into a preferred activity] or whether to let them cool off too? Why are these kinds of children not fitted with a meter, like a thermometer so that you can accurately read them? I glance at my untouched list of 'things to do.'

I park one on the trampolene and ask him if he can beat his record, whilst I snap the timer on in front of his eyes. [translation = bad choice as this reinforces his 'I am the winner' mentality] The other one is deposited on the wedge, a six foot square affair that he can burrow into. [translation = a bit like having a massage]
I remember hearing on the radio that most children are over-scheduled [translation = busy] which makes them over tired and stressed, amongst other things. The same is true for us but not everyone is equipped to acknowledge or deal with the situation in the same manner. In that way we are fortunate. We have the gear [translation = equipment] and we make the time, because having these kind of children means that you don't have a choice in the matter. You give them what their bodies need or prepare to take cover. [translation = duck]

One of the brackets on my braces snaps to punish me for eating raw almonds. I can feel the tooth beginning to take flight, released. It is quite disconcerting, especially when it makes me realize that this probably means I am closet bondage freak.
“Can you deliver me to the bathroom please?” he asks puffily, but with perfect fluidity, as he has reached his goal of 101 bounces in under a minute. I lead him by the hand to the less preferred bathroom, the one with the quarry tiles that offend his feet, such that he needs moral support to attempt such a feat. I lean against the sink awaiting his performance, as he looks around the room for visual entertainment. I say nothing.
“You know what?” he squeaks.
“What dear?”
“I fink dat maybe I am not needing infinity bounces today.”
“Really! What made you think you needed infinity bounces?”
“Well, cos my body woz all, woz all……I don know.” He peters out, frustrated. I try and think of a suitable word that describes the frenetic energy trapped inside him. Something to help him verbalise and acknowledge what it is?
“Do you mean,…..'wriggles' or 'itchy,' perhaps?” Not one of my better attempts admittedly, but I'm tired too, and my nerves are still jangling from the journey. I should have stolen a few bounces myself.
“So the main thing is, that you don't need infinity now, you feel better?”
“I can see that you look like a lovely green 1.” “[translation = Incredible 5 point scale]”
His betterness is demonstrated as he finishes up, sequences through the steps to restore clinical hygiene standards and replaces the hand towel. [translation = stuffs it into the ring. Don't criticize this is 'task completion.'] As the toilet flushes, he pounds his forehead into my stomach covering his ears against the rush of water and adds, “I fink you are right, I fink it is the wriggleitch.”
Oh dear, that's not good. Why couldn't I have thought of something a little more appropriate? Another piece of terminology that will require translation.

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