Bubble Wrap Day and FASD

I was talking the other day with a mom about how down and stressed so many caregivers are right now… so many people are struggling as we enter a year of living in a pandemic and all the changes it has meant in our lives, not to mention the political climate in many countries … added to the everyday challenges FASD brings. I was asked to share a positive post from our lives to help lift people’s spirits but I told her right now I didn’t really have a lot of positive to share. As we spoke I realized that maybe some of us look for really big things as only worthy of sharing or recognizing and miss the everyday smaller positive things.

So I began to wonder how many small positive things I may be missing each day. I know I’m supposed to look for them, but sometimes in the midst of everything I get distracted or I forget.

Today the maiden and I shared a laugh over something that could have turned out much worse. She tripped and fell yesterday…. she isn’t seriously hurt… I saw her moving her arm and ankle that is “sore” so while I’m sure it is tender, I know it is not a serious injury from watching her when she doesn’t know I’m watching.

It seems when she feels like she isn’t getting attention or needs some attention, falling seems to be one of her coping strategies. It causes distraction, reaction and I’m sure sensory input. When I thought what might have caused this fall, I thought it might relate to having to euthanize our 16 year old cat this weekend. Was it her way of trying to reconnect and deal with her sadness. Or did she just trip?

This morning after she got up, we put a bag of frozen peas on her ankle. She said, “What are you going to do with me?”

I said, “I’ll just have to wrap you in bubble wrap.”

Her grandma then went to the porch and brought some bubble wrap left over from a recent purchase that was in a bin (to be popped – another way the maiden releases some anxiety) … and I wrapped her up in bubble wrap. We had a laugh. Laughter is good for healing.

She didn’t want a full picture, so here are her legs wrapped.

So sometimes we just have to look for and collect the small victories and positives. Because they are as important, if not more, as the large ones. The small victory for us was of course first that the fall was nothing serious, but that we could laugh about it and show our silly side after a very sad weekend.

What I found was a strange coincidence… today is National Bubble Wrap Day. I kid you not!

“National Bubble Wrap Day (also known as National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day) on the last Monday in January recognizes a fascinating piece of invention. Today, bubble wrap’s primary purpose is to protect fragile items either in shipping or storage. Of course, people also take enjoyment from popping the bubbles in bubble wrap, too. One way it is suggested to observe the day is to wrap up something in bubble wrap. Or find an old piece and have some fun popping the bubbles.”

So we had another chuckle that we observed National Bubble Wrap day without knowing it!

But there is a message to why I shared this story. Besides the importance of looking for positives, we need to look for and understand our child’s disability and behaviour. The maiden might have just tripped, but sometimes there could be a reason behind her tripping. If it isn’t serious (like happening regularly, which in that case may call for an OT assessment for balance), there is another need that isn’t being met. Where once I used to get frustrated with the falling, now I try to connect with her when it happens. Our kids sometimes need invisible bubble wrap to protect them, sometimes they need it to use as a way to regulate and sometimes it can be a fun way to connect with those you love.

So even if you missed it this year, I’d still put some bubble wrap in your tool box of strategies and mark the last Monday in January for a celebration in 2022.

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