The good/bad news, depending on whether or not you’re my wallet, is that not only can I not afford it, I wouldn’t have anywhere to put it; I don’t think it would travel well in my car. So I actually can’t pick it up even if I wanted to. In the meantime I’m looking at magnetic sets, family doll sets, and considering making some felt boards.
Mom looked at me funny when I got excited about wanting a dollhouse and said I was a little old for one. I had to tell her it was for a client before she believed it wasn’t for me.
But, I mean, on some levels I guess you could argue that point…
(Looking at listings and prices on Amazon, I wonder if it would just be cheaper and easier to get what I need by making it myself.)
Three packs of construction paper. A set of glue sticks. A pack of the cheap glitter glues. A three-pack of white glue. Two packs of colorful foam sheets. An assortment of giant puffy glittery stickers. A superheroes stress-ball. Two pairs of safety scissors. A packet of pipe cleaners. A three-pack of invisible tape. Boxes of crayons, sleeves of markers and colored pencils, a pack of modeling clay, a foil packet of play-doh…
They told me, knowingly but laughing about it, “we figure that should last you about a month.”
If it goes well I’ll report back and explain the process.
Important lesson when working with kids (and families) whose dynamic includes reality avoidance, focus-jumping, mercurial moods, and occasional “explosive” anger:
The thing that might have worked last week in theory may not work this week in practice. But it doesn’t mean it’s a failure.
We didn’t get to use it for the problem intended. But we did end up using it for a much lower-priority issue, and maybe they’ll be more okay with the model next time.
Or maybe they won’t and we’ll try something else. But the procedure itself is really useful, and could be especially helpful for folks who work with kids who have emotional and behavioral difficulties. I’ll do a run-through of it sometime in the next week or so.
I made a small test glitter bottle to see what/how much more I’d need to make it successful.
I did this in my car.
The loose glitter didn’t exactly move as planned. Glitter sometimes appears to defy some basic laws of solid matter.
Part of the inside of my car is covered in lilac glitter.
There was no clear gel glue anywhere in town. I checked three drug stores, two supermarkets, the Staples, the Dollar Tree and the Family Dollar. The closest I found was already dyed and glittered, and not in a color I think the client would have wanted anything to do with.
So I ended up getting a six-dollar pack of jumbo glitter-glue tubes at Staples because the ones at the dollar store weren’t going to thicken.
When I told the cashier I’d forgotten my 10% off coupon and asked if I needed the paper version but that if I did I would just use it next time, I guess I looked tired. Because he looked around and used a 25% he had behind the counter and joked not to tell anyone. I almost cried on the spot and when he wished me a happy Thanksgiving I told him same and that I was thankful for people like him.
Then I managed to actually engage the kiddo with this project for almost half an hour, which let me tell you is a miracle at this point, and they aren’t actually using it (they had a fit of “challenging behavior” almost immediately after because of something completely unrelated and were too far into it to try).
And I came home and thought about how absolutely overjoyed I was that it worked so well with that glitter glue, of which for that size the kiddo used three whole tubes (of a five-tube set…oy), and how much it cost, but how delightfully long it will take to settle when the water cools if kiddo and mom can get to a point of using it and kiddo doesn’t throw it, break it, and/or otherwise destroy it first.
If they do we’re making a smaller one next time.
But they were so into making it. So into it, that I’m just…there are a lot of mixed feelings there but almost all of them are good.
But I just tried making a “calming bottle”/sensory bottle with the glitter glue from the dollar store
and once it hits the water there is no glue left to it. It doesn’t slow anything down like it’s supposed to. It is just glitter and bubble foam after a good shake and there’s little to no delay in settling.
Head straight to the desk on this one.
And do you know how expensive clear glue is in a town this size? Not white glue, that stuff won’t work for this, but actual clear gel glue. If you can find it up here without taking the trip literally to the next county (half an hour) to get to the nearest Walmart? That stuff is almost six dollars a bottle. The assortments of the better-quality glitter glue that won’t immediately dissolve? Those are $6.50 for a pack, Walgreens and Staples.
So there goes the equivalent of tomorrow’s food budget (not that I will not be eating I have stuff in the house but I can break down and compare expenditures day-by-day this way) at the dollar stores again. Our supervisor has stopped telling us to spend our own money, because how else are we going to get what we need in the meantime? The kids aren’t going to sit on their hands until we hear back about potential budget allotments.
But you know what?
The kid is going to love having to squeeze out as many glitter glues as it will take to make this project work. And if they don’t, the little cheap tubes will damage less when they throw them. Though I have a feeling the squeezing is going to make them really, really happy - and may result in slightly less glitter…everywhere (like it is in my car, where I tried to test run first, so now it’s very festive in there).
So in the meantime, amen to dollar store glitter glue. We’re going to turn this into a thankful post instead of a stressed rant post. I am thankful for dollar store glitter glue. (Please, please, please work the way you’re supposed to once I use you in bulk.)
If it goes well I’ll report back and explain the process.
Amazon.com Universal Wishlist for Miss J.
Some things are easy and standalone — books, toys, blank puzzles, games, you can look at them and go oh, okay, I get it.
Some things — like the blank puppets and the fabric markers, or the glitter and glitter glue and sequins (sensory/stress bottles) — probably make less sense, or use, on their own, but more when you look at them as a whole.
And a very few things on there are for the sake of me being able to continue to be on the go while essentially working out of my car. I’m only at five clients, already at half the hours of a full caseload (which is twelve and up), and always ready for another — even if I may not be at full energy at the moment. Things like containers or, yes silly as it may be, Emergen-C, help me make sure I can keep materials organized and keep myself moving.
What do I do now? Mentoring. Therapeutic games. Skills-building. Modeling. Crisis intervention/safety planning. Connection to services. Pyschoeducation. Kids ages 4 to 21 and their families, their schools, their whoever and whereever. Whatever the family needs that our service can provide — that is what I do, even if that means connecting to another service when we can’t fill every need. It’s a little like teaching was, but I get to work specifically with the kids who need the most support, and I get to do that in their homes (or in some cases schools or temporary housing) and with their whole family systems (and school systems and community systems if the family wants/needs it).
EDIT: I’m now at six clients, we are waiting with baited breath to hear about potential budget-and-wishlist for the program (if it’s a no I may have to do a DonorsChoose project to get us what we need - tools like therapeutic boardgames, multi-racial family doll sets, sill builder sets, and other essentials), and this was featured almost as soon as I posted it.
EDIT EDIT: Apparently make that seven. Seven clients.
And holy hey, guys, whoever featured it, I can’t thank you enough. (They know my face at both Dollar Tree and Family Dollar thanks to at least weekly visits…though I’m sure my ID badge helps, too.)
Yesterday I found a pointer stick in my pocket. A pointer stick. How did I not notice it while sitting on the bus yesterday night?
A teacher’s pocket is like Mary Poppins’ purse.
Paperclips. Every day of my life, paperclips.
Dry erase markers erryday
Referrals and late slips litter my bedside table.
One of my kids likes paper animal cutouts as an incentive. He’s building a farm.
Goats in my pants pocket, goats in my coat pocket, a butterfly crushed in with my badge, a thread “leash” tangled with my keys in my jacket…
Sometimes we don’t hear the words that someone is saying as the words that they say — we hear the feelings we connect to them, and process from there. It’s amazing how quickly, and how commonly, “I don’t want to play ponies today,” can turn into, “she hates me and doesn’t care about me” in that space between two people at a table.
This is an activity that we use to help relieve that when we see it happening, and one that could be used in a classroom setting either in large-group debates/discussions or by pulling students aside.
1. Pause the conversation as misinterpretations start leading to tension. Making use of a “talking stick” — any object you use to signify that the holder is the person whose turn it is to talk — can be really helpful when conflicts start. Hand the object to the person who made the first statement.
2. Ask person A, “Can you repeat what you said to Person B?” Listen with Person B. If what Person A says is not what you heard them say, gently take the talking object and ask, “Are you sure that’s what you said?” If they’re changing what they said and won’t repeat themselves, you can take it a step further and say, “What I heard you say was ____.”
3. Hand the talking object to Person B. Ask Person B to repeat what they heard Person A say.
4. If these things match up, the situation may begin to resolve itself, or you may be able to move to a different tactic of moderation. If not, take the talking object and ask Person A, “Is that what you said?” Hand the object back to Person A.
5. Ask, “How do you feel about how Person B heard that?” After their response, pass talking object to Person B and ask how they feel about that response, or why they think they heard what they did.
6. If tensions and miscommunications persist, continue to use the speak-and-repeat between the people involved in the conversation. This will help demonstrate the way the words change and how they have injected meaning of their own interpretation, and allow both parties to rethink and clarify the way they express their thoughts.