Namine is so easygoing most of the time, it’s easy to forget how stubborn and iron-willed she can be. Monday morning, she spent the first ten minutes of physical therapy stonewalling the therapist.
So this morning I talked to Namine about therapy. It wasn’t about scolding. It wasn’t about her being in trouble so she better shape up and do what she’s supposed to do, darn it all. It was about reminding her why we send her to therapy at all.
I am a firm believer in logic. Our minds are often ruled by emotion and reaction, but I believe we can have a greater control over our minds if we take a step back and approach a situation with reason. So I started with a question.
“Namine, why do you wear braces?”
She answered, “So I can walk!”
“Can you walk without your walker yet?”
“No, not yet.”
“That’s why you go to therapy, right?”
“Yes, so my feet can get stronger and I can walk all by myself!”
“Right. So, in order for your feet to get stronger, you have to work in therapy, right?”
“So I want you to work as hard as you can in therapy. Listen to Miss Stephanie, okay?”
And she did work hard. We posted a couple videos earlier, and she’s not just upright, but holding herself up straight. That’s no small feat, especially since she didn’t start standing up completely straight until maybe a couple weeks ago.
Namine’s arms were so tired that later today, when she and Jessica went to the zoo, Jessica had to push her in her wheelchair. That’s a rarity; Namine loves to wheel herself, and we would be hard pressed to find an occasion where she wouldn’t prefer to push herself around.
If I had scolded Namine, for wasting the therapist’s time or for not working as hard as she could, maybe we would have seen different behavior, maybe not. But Namine is an intelligent girl; she knows what she wants, and when she saw that she wants the same thing we want – for her to walk on her own – it not only made her work hard, but it made her push herself farther for it.