A Teddy Sweater for a change in behavior?

Maria , my granddaughter, age 9,  gave me a challenge. She asked me to knit a sweater for her Beary.

Beary is a towel bear with 1.5 inches long arms. Thank goodness for online patterns. There actually are tiny sweater patterns. Using my stash I whipped up a sweater in white with silver. Of course, I didn’t have Beary to try the sweater on. Poor Beary. He was lost in the sweater, the sleeves hung to his non existent hips! Try 2. I used the sleeves as a body pattern, joined together under the arms and at the neck. This fit much better. Maria was happy. End of sweater making, nope.

Dom, my 4 year old grandchild, wanted a sweater for his Beary. Again using stash, I made him a white with silver sweater and two weeks later gave it to him while we were on a family vacation. He was happy. End of sweater making, nope.

A few words about Dom. When pregnant the pregnancy showed markers for mental problems and then the markers disappeared. His parents decided to continue with the pregnancy. Young cousins on the paternal side have autism however he does not test positive for autism. Dom has behavior and growth problems and his mother, my daughter, has him in various types of therapy. At age 6 months he stopped growing, both weight and height. Now at 4.5 years he is a good size for a two to three year old. Some of his behavior is on his age level, some is above average for his age, and much emotional behavior is lagging. His mother has an elementary/early childhood teacher degree. She tries everything she ever learned in college and beyond. Dom’s  life has been hospital and doctor tests, with no results. Therapy and behavior modifications with some positive results.

I was out of the vacation condo when this happened. My daughter was changing Dom into a bathing suit to get him ready for going to the beach. His sister was ready and waiting. Dad as usual was doing whatever but not helping with the kids. Dom didn’t want to put the ipod down. He threw a metal toy into his mother’s eye, causing her much pain. He is tiny but strong. He doesn’t feel pain himself; he doesn’t understand that he hurts people, usually his sister and his mother. He has bruised his six year old sister, he has previously broken his mother’s finger. When I came into the condo I heard about what had happened.

We left the kids with their father and went for a drive. How do you handle a child who doesn’t care that he hurt his mother? Hours later my daughter asks me to make another sweater. She wants to use it as a bribe for good behavior. She whisks me to her car, we drive a good half hour to the nearest yarn store. I had planned to visit this store but not in this manner. A skein of J. C. Brett DK weight yarn and size 6 bamboo needles later I am out on the condo balcony listening to the ocean surf and knitting a variegated blue sweater. When the sweater was finished I gave it to my daughter. I know Dom has problems but I could not forgive him for hurting my daughter, again. Days after we got home she gave him the blue sweater. He loves it. Daily he changes from a white to a blue sweater. End of sweater making, maybe. Dom has requested a purple sweater. Maybe as a holiday gift? If his behavior improves between the summer, now, and then.

I started writing about knitting a teddy sweater, and find myself thinking, do I need a mental expansion of my expectations. As my daughter says, although married with a husband present she is a single Mom. Her daughter without glasses has minus 5000 vision in one eye. Glasses correct the eye sight to 20/70. She needs to wear a patch for a few more years to encourage the eye to work. It is a daily battle to get her to wear an eye patch. Kids in school make comments, she can’t see the school work when wearing a patch. Making G’s eye patches will be another blog.

I don’t think a sweater will help change Dom. But I will make a purple sweater and give it to him at Christmas, months from now. I don’t know what else to do.

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