There are some changes afoot in the Meerkat household.
Christmas decorations have been put away, and replaced with Valentine's Day decorations to soothe Mini Meerkat. Her anxiety over the removal of decorations for holidays past is soothed by her excitement over the appearance of decorations for the next holiday. We have a cycle of decorating and redecorating as we check off holidays and move through the year.
So we have a Valentine's Day tree bedecked in tiny hearts sitting squarely in the middle of Mini Meerkat's table. She practically buzzed with joy as she hung up the little hearts and decorated the base of the "tree" (it's more of a metal sculpture ... thing) with heart stickers. We made our first Valentine of the season, and I'm sure there will be more to come.
I was praised recently at an OT eval for doing so many arts and crafts with Mini Meerkat. Mini Meerkat has trouble with spatial tasks and her fine motor has been iffy on and off, and one of my favorite ways to get around practicing fine motor tasks (which tend to shut her down or not keep her interest) is to dive into craft projects. I try to pick activities that are a nice balance of being interesting and challenging but not so difficult that she gives up and wants me to do it all for her.
We have many craft buckets with supplies for a variety of crafts. She loves to build robots out of boxes, bottle caps, wrapping paper, toilet paper tubes, and any other odds and ends we can scrounge up. (Those of you familiar with Curious George may recall an episode in which George builds a robot costume out of boxes and tubes and gets mistaken for a real robot. Mini Meerkat loves to script and reenact, and building robot boxes like George has stuck for longer than most of her scripts and reenactments.)
I know there are different schools of thought on obsessions and scripting, but I have always taken the route of engaging in Mini Meerkat's loves and using that to enlarge and enrich her world. The look on her face when she first realized we could really build a robot box just like George was worth it.
Change can be hard and scary. Transitions, even ones we make regularly can be really rough. Giving her a frame of reference and connecting the decorations to the passing of the seasons and family traditions eases some of that and gives her a wider framework for understanding the passage of time.
Not all changes go as smoothly, but I can see her making progress with support. We recently had some big furniture changes, and she handled it so well. Given that some days moving a single object can send her into a tailspin, I was really proud of how well she handled the rearrangements. She was so happy with the final result, which made me happy that she could see that sometimes change can be really good.