Sunday, October 5, 2008

Swinging, Swinging

There's a song about swinging, based on a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, that I sing to Joy & Rose, that my mother used to sing to me, that her mother used to sing to her. (In case you're keeping track, that would be Joy's great-grandmother, who is 99 years old and reads this blog regularly. Hi, Grandma!)

How do you like to go up in a swing
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Swinging, swinging, up in the air so blue,
Swinging, swinging, up in the air so blue!

Joy has (almost) always loved to swing. She's long outgrown the baby swing, of course, but we have photos where we'd put her in the chair and flipped the switch to set the thing rocking, and it made her so happy. Later we made copious use of the swings at the park, and Joy's occupational therapist taught us to swing her in a blanket, telling us that the swinging was useful input to Joy's vestibular system. Therapeutic and fun, too, what a package!

But then at Christmas 2007, Joy had a major regression and her internal swing switch flipped to the "off" position. We first noticed in a January therapy session. In December she'd practically begged for blanket-swinging, to the point that we were using it as reward; in January, she wanted nothing to do with it.

When spring came, we learned the extent of her new aversion to swinging. At the park, I couldn't even get her into the toddler swings that had delighted her so much the previous fall. At the zoo, her beloved grin-filled carousel rides had become occasions for strenuous complaint. She didn't even like the stroller rides back and forth walking her sister to school.

This lasted all the way to mid-September, a couple of weeks ago.

Then, apropos of nothing that we can identify, the switch flipped back "on".

Gleeful swinging at the park. Big smiles on the zoo carousel. Zero protests on the stroller rides. So much renewed joy!

What is it that flips her internal switches? It's been a useful metaphor for me lately in thinking about how Joy operates. This probably won't be the last time you find me using it.

Meanwhile, how do you like to go up in a swing, up in the air so blue?


P.S. We're back from the northwoods. I'm saving the full detail for Special Exposure Wednesday, but here's a tiny preview... you can tell a lot about how the weekend went by the total number of seizures that Joy had.

And the number was...


Looking forward to sharing more!


datri said...

With Kayla, it's baths. Right now, she's in an anti-bath phase. I much prefer the phase where she wants to be in the tub all day!

Both of my girls are swing addicts, Laurie more since she is so sensory seeking. I'll never forget the time we were looking at a Montessori preschool during their open house, and I never got to see the classrooms because Laurie was on the swings -- for TWO HOURS. And then when I finally took her off to leave, she had a meltdown and popped me right in the eye! And right in front of the director of the school, too. I'm amazed they let her attend (even if they did kick her out after three years because they couldn't "meet her needs.")

Anyway, sounds like you had a wonderful time -- can't wait to hear the details!

Niksmom said...

Can't wait to hear more about your north woods adventures. YAY for no seizures!

Nik is the same with the swing. I sometimes wonder if it's b/c of the chronic fluid in his left ear for so long. I've given up trying to figure out the logic and just roll with it. Makes each day a little but of a mystery! LOL

AuntLO said...

Great news about the trip up North. I hope this trip was nice and relaxing for everyone.

rhemashope said...

So glad to hear that Joy was seizure free this weekend!! Rhema LOVES swings as well. we use the blanket swing as a reinforcer - i even have her on video saying 1-2-3-Go! and getting rewarded with the swing. I've noticed that as I have gotten older I get dizzy quickly on the swings, and someone told me they read an article about that very thing. I wonder if there was something more going on that made Joy feel physically uncomfortable on the swings - maybe TOO much vestibular input?

Mama Mara said...

With every sentence in your post today, my smile grew bigger. How wonderful! Let's see what she turns on next.

May be a while until that next coffee, BTW. Am still wheezy, asthmatic mess.

therextras said...


JoyMama said...

TherExtras - being a mature, dignified professional, I think the only response I can possibly make to your comment is:

Neener, neener, NEE-ner!

(Tomorrow's post will be worth the wait. Really.)