Tomato Girl

I have found that my Elli Lou is a great little helper…. when she wants to be.

This week has been a rough one. Elli has received notes from school about her behavior. We have been written up twice on the bus. This is especially bad since we only had 4 days of school this week. I have had reports of her attempting to kick out the bus windows, screaming, spitting on all of the kids’ backpacks, putting her head in the isle, taking off her seatbelt, and standing when the bus was rolling at 55 mph down the road. And worst of all for any bus driver, Elli has been setting off the other kids on the bus. I have tried talking to her, which is lost on a non-verbal child. Since she is a visual learner, I have tried signing the bus rules to her with no real luck. I have typed out bus rules and read them to her. I have attempted candy bribes to keep her sitting on the quick bus ride. I have created social stories that remind her that if she behaves on the bus her reward will be her favorite Smarties candy. Instead, Elli swiped a pack of candy before she left the house. When the bus driver told Elli that she didn’t behave well enough to get her candy, Elli acted as a smartypants teenager, shrugged her shoulders, and pulled out the stolen pack of Smarties from her coat to eat in front of the bus driver. Being outsmarted by an 11-year-old never feels good.

I am going to put that all out of my head. Today, instead, I will look at this beautiful picture and remember what a wonderful helper Elli was over the week-end. I will focus on the positive things she has done. I will remind myself that I was simply attempting to get her to go outside to enjoy our last nice day, when she blew me away with her focus, and drive. I had just pulled about 20 or more tomato stakes (plants, ties, and all) out of our garden. I tossed the heaping stack onto a picnic table and asked Elli to help Mommy. She intently watched me cut off the ties, toss them into the garbage, toss the plant (that was taller than me) into the refuse bucket, and then stack the tomato stakes in a pile to use next year. After watching me complete just one, Elli took control of the scissors and started wittling away on the tomato pile. I walked into the greenhouse to grab a few more plants. Every time I would come out to check on her, she was very happily working. The task almost calmed her. She had unbealievable concentration and such great work ethic.
I am so extremely thankful that I am constantly reminded of how amazing my kids are. I am so fortunate that Elli keeps showing me how gifted and beautiful she is. I am ecstatic that my stubborn little girl is a fighter and is not going to allow her Autism to hold her back. I am lucky to see that these little things really are the big things that I need to focus on.