Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Happy


I was called to assist with staffing on the hospital unit Halloween night. Holidays are often difficult for our kids. They are exciting and anxiety provoking. Sometimes it's just too much stimulation. Sometimes it's the change in routine. Other times, it's the reminder that these kids are in residential treatment, and not at home with their families.

Fortunately, things calmed quickly and I was able to enjoy some time with the kids in non-crisis. Prepared with back-up, I had Jazz with me, just in case ;) We entered the family room to join a quiet girl I had only met once before. She was sitting silently, waiting to watch Mary Poppins, which was just starting on the DVD player. I sat down next to her, positioning Jazz on the floor away from most of the debris other kids had left behind. The girl watched curiously as Jazz sneakily scoured the floor for goodies. I corrected him, repositioned him, and attempted to watch Mary Poppins. This routine continued for some time, the girl watching Jazz more than she watched the movie. After some time, I heard a quiet voice say, "He just ate a piece of paper." I looked down, and sure he enough, he sucked up a tiny piece of scrap paper I had been keeping my eye on. I pretended to scold Jazz, knowing well that he had taken opportunity of me losing focus. The girl laughed quietly and had a huge grin on her face.

After a bit, another girl, who knows Jazz, joined us as well. She attempted some obedience with him, snapping her fingers at him with every command she gave. Jazz ignored her completely. I kindly instructed the girl as to correctly giving commands, and attempted to model it for her. The quiet girl continued to watch in fascination, chuckling at the live show we were putting on for her: Jazz naughtily trying to vacuum every crumb off the floor, the other girl awkwardly trying to "train" him, and me trying to manage both of them.

Eventually, Jazz gave up on cleaning the floor, and rolled over for some tummy rubs. The two girls took turns scratching his belly, amused at how he kicked his legs in response. The girl who had been attempting to command him became fascinated by his lips and gums, playing with his face as he laid on his back and stared at her upside down with those mischievous puppy eyes. It was Halloween at the facility, and at least 3 kids were happy (2 human, one puppy).

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