Monday, June 28, 2010

Not Me Monday: Peanut butter and swim suits

If you're new to Not Me Monday, MckMama started it in order to humorously admit some of her imperfections and share some moments that happen to most of us, but are rarely talked about. It's funny and enjoyable and I encourage you to read on and then hop over to her site for more Not Me Mondays.

I did not try every single day last week to transfer my pictures from my camera to my computer. In doing so, every time I plugged the camera in, the computer did not fail to recognize my camera. I did not say I would have the first post from our vacation up today and then not be ready because of this small issue with the camera. It is not driving me crazy!

We did not spend Saturday trying to get the house picked up and welcoming for when someone drops by unexpectedly. This is not a huge task, because we always put things in their place and everything has a place to be put (ahem,a little more space would be nice). While moving some things around, I did not find green gum smashed into the carpet, strategically hidden behind a plant. My kids would never do this because they know gum always goes in the trash when they are finished chewing it. Further, they would never sneak gum and then feel the need to hide it to avoid being caught. Nope, not my kids. They are much more obedient than that. *

I did not also find peanut butter smeared at the base of the bathroom door. My kids always eat in the kitchen or dining room and don't carry food around the house. They certainly know better than to smear peanut butter somewhere other than bread! *

And finally, we did not have a graduation party to go to Sunday evening at a local water park that the kids have just been dying to go to. When it was time to go, I did not look in the bag of swimming essentials and ask Child B where her swimming suit was. No, I hadn't told her several times already to put it in the bag. She did not finally go look for it, as we should be walking out the door. She did not find the top and bottom in two different rooms. We did not get the party and only find the top piece in the bag and have to go back home for the bottom half. We did not find it in her bedroom doorway.

That's it for this week. To find out what others aren't up to, hop on over to MckMama's for more Not Me Mondays.

Hopefully my camera and computer will cooperate very soon and I can get my vacation posts up.

* Chances are good that the culprit in these incidents is 4-year old Child C. Sweetheart that she is, don't underestimate her ability to be devious.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

He didn't really just say that, did he? Awkward!

I'm having trouble getting the pictures off my camera from our vacation. I hope to have the first post up on Monday, so please be patient.

In the mean time, I'll share this very awkward conversation I had the other day with a stranger.

On Father's Day, we took my dad out for lunch to a local buffet. While I was waiting for a particular item to be replenished, the man next to me struck up conversation about how people tend to overfill their plates and let most of it go to waste. At buffets, people tend to not only have eyes bigger than their stomachs but also try larger portions of things they may not like. What they don't eat just gets thrown out. I agree that many people do this and it's wasteful. We talked about how smaller portions are better no matter what the food choice is and whether someone likes it or not. We discussed how this transfers to many things in America - the mis-perception that bigger or more is always better.

Then the conversation changed as we were told that the item for which we were waiting would not be replenished. I stated out loud that I would go for the chicken and pasta primavera, to which the man with whom I had been speaking put his hand on his belly and replied, "I have to stay away from the pasta. I'm trying to pass something."

Why? Why would someone feel the need to say that. out. loud. at a restaurant? Where people are eating. Why? To people you don't even know. Why?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Not Me Monday: Busy-ness, sunburn, and how I peed my pants

This week I'm participating again in MckMama's Not Me Monday, where I can admit some of my imperfections, or deny them, as I see fit.

We've been pretty busy lately planning a long trip, taking said long trip, unpacking, finishing up softball season, generally trying to clean up the house, avoiding bad storms, dealing with bad storms, limiting laundry to when we are home since I'm hyper-aware of dryers catching on fire, and all the normal busy-ness of life. So, is it any surprise that sometimes I wash a load of laundry and forget the laundry soap? No, I wouldn't do that. And even if I did, I wouldn't just toss the load in the dryer anyway without re-washing it, would I? Not me!

When making chicken and dumplings recently, I wouldn't have cooked all the vegetables in homemade chicken stock, dropped in the dumplings, and then realized I never added the chicken. Nope. After all, it's chicken and dumplings, isn't it? Not me. I would never forget such an essential ingredient and then served it anyway.

I didn't forget to pick up my Vitamin-D prescription on Wednesday, Thursday, AND Friday when I know that it's a once a week prescription and I take it on Fridays. Then on Saturday, I didn't fill the day with outside activities and sunburn myself to a crisp because I NEEDED the Vitamin-D. Nope. Not when it would just take a 15 minute run to the pharmacy. Not me. I wouldn't put myself through so much discomfort because I'm forgetful. Now it won't take me 2 weeks to get back on track taking it on Fridays because I finally picked it up and took it on Sunday. (Next week I can take it on Saturday and then the following week I can take it on Friday, getting me back on schedule.)

And finally, when traveling on our trip, my oldest daughter didn't say something hilariously rude to a complete stranger (who egged her on a tad bit). I did not laugh so hard that I did not really pee my pants. Nope. Not her and not me. She minds her manners under all circumstances and I certainly have complete control of my bladder! I did not dash to the bathroom and then send my youngest daughter out to ask my husband to get a clean pair of pants out of the van for me. Not me!

To read about what others aren't doing, hop on over to MckMama's.

Come back later in the week for some blogging about our trip and a rather awkward conversation with a stranger at a local buffet today that left me wondering "Why?"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Parents, don't blink.

We recently went on a long drive, of which I will blog soon. I still need to get all my thoughts together and collected in some organized fashion. And find my camera cord so I can include some thought-provoking pictures.

In the mean time, I thought I'd share this amusing tidbit from this morning. Four-year old Child C dressed herself this morning. She chose a pink pair of pants. Pants. Not shorts. It's 85 degrees outside. She usually chooses 2 or 3 days of the week to dress inappropriately for the weather (like trying to wear a thin skirt and crocs in the snow), so these pants were last worn about 2 weeks ago before we left for our trip. In fact, they were packed and taken along just in case she felt the need to wear them in 95-degree Oklahoma heat.

This morning, on second glance at the pants, I noticed they were 3 inches too small. When did she grow a whole 3 inches taller? Seriously, parents can't blink without missing something!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Taking kids to the dentist - Part 2

Alternately titled: Why I blog and Recognizing when you need a little help - Part 2

This is part 2. If you missed Part 1, read this first.

OK, so after my call to the pediatrician, I was equipped with some names and phone numbers. Nothing should be this difficult for a child, and if it is, then it is the parent's responsibility to help the child. That's my opinion, anyway.

We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out His love to fill our hearts. Romans 5:3-5

I called one number and the doctor had just resigned with no notice and no forwarding information. I consider that a blessing. I called the other number and explained the anxiety around the dentist appointment and asked how would I know from who to get help and what kind of help to seek. They told me they would take care of that after an evaluation.**

Many pages of paperwork later and a few hours of interviews brought us to a behavior modification therapist, an occupational therapist, and a speech therapist. Although my children have all spoken very early and have vast vocabularies, B tends to run her words together and skips over certain letters when speaking. (It turns out, after 5 months of speech therapy, she is quite capable of speaking clearly and just a bit lazy. I don't consider it a waste of time or money and appreciated the honesty and suggestions of activities to further improve her annunciation.)

The focus of occupational therapy has been to help B adjust her sensory nervous system. Using various activities, her nervous system learns to recognize where her body is in proximity to others'. We also provide tactile input and pressure on her body so she doesn't seek that out inappropriately, and we teach her activities to calm herself down or motivate herself, and to follow directions gradually moving from specific steps one at a time to anticipating what the next step should be. These are not just done in the therapy sessions, but also incorporated into her life at home. If you have questions about this, please leave them in the comments and I will happy to share what we have learned.

The focus of behavioral modification therapy has been to teach calming techniques such as deep breathing, holding breath, tensing, or writing in order to calm down when anxious or angry. The point is to learn how to self-calm and then articulate emotions. This is easily learned by many children, but not those prone to anxiety or with sensory processing disorder.

In the midst of these therapies, the next dental cleaning approached. I anticipated this being stressful for B, yet didn't know whether to tell her about the appointment or surprise her with it. B has always been pretty well in-tune to things that help her feel comfortable, so I asked her, "You remember the last time we went to the dentist, right? You know that one of these days you will have your teeth cleaned again, right? When would you like to know about it? A couple days before, the day before, that morning, or when we get there?" She said she didn't want to know and she didn't want to go. So I didn't tell her. The day came and I sneaked around, gathering the loveys, body brush, massager, and activity books. We were about half way there when her eyes turned into saucers and she exclaimed, "No, not the dentist!" I actually thought she would try to leap from the van as I was driving, but she didn't.

Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. Philippians 4:6

We arrived at the dentist and used her brush and massager. She didn't want to be there, but didn't resist like the previous appointment. I had to carry her back to the cleaning room and they still gave her gas to calm her down and take the edge off. It worked. We made it.

Six months later brings us to a little over a month ago. B has made considerable progress using her breathing techniques, expressing herself verbally, and participating in the activities that help her. Would you believe that things like carrying laundry from one end of the house to the other and scrubbing the kitchen floor are therapeutic for her? Did I mention, helpful to me? Yeah!

So, last month I asked her the same question about when she'd want to know about her dentist appointment. She told me she'd like to know the day before. I wasn't sure that was a good idea, but decided to accommodate her. She didn't like it and asked if she had to go, could we reschedule. I assured her we weren't rescheduling and she would be fine. I reminded her of her techniques and prayed with her. I reminded her that God says, "Who of you by worrying, can add even a single hour to their life? If you can't even do that, then why worry about the rest?" I also reminded her that God takes care of the birds who aren't created in His image, but she is. Of course He will take care of her.

The day of the appointment we used the body brush before we left the house. The massager was in the bag and she carried her own loveys. All the way up there she repeated that she wasn't going in. I just told her it was OK. When the van stopped in the parking lot, she was the first one out. She walked in by herself and didn't panic in the waiting room. She walked back to the cleaning room all by herself and they didn't have to put her in a private room. She didn't need the gas. Amazing. And a real blessing. Thank you, Lord!

She has made so much progress in the last year.

Through blogging her story and bits of our lives, I hope to:

  • help others learn that kids cannot always be expected to behave the same way as their same-age peers,
  • help add laughter to those stressful moments, and
  • let other moms of kids who have a hard time sometimes know they are not alone and there are ways to help them and ourselves.

It can be hard to ask for help, but sometimes it's the best thing to do.

** B's official diagnosis is inconclusive, although she has been diagnosed both developmentally delayed and high-functioning autism, at different times - not that she is both, but either/or. It's hard to know which it is and it's not really relevant because the therapies she receives are helpful for either one. The sensory process disorder is definitely a component either way. It's very challenging for me, but it must be even more so for her.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Taking kids to the dentist

Alternately titled: Why I blog and Recognizing when you need a little help - Part 1

I've been blogging here for a little over a year now. It started out slowly and I'm trying to blog more regularly. It's good for me and hopefully, as time goes, by, it will be good for others. Do you know why I blog?

A little over a year ago, my kids had a dental cleaning. These are things I take seriously. I'm not the best housekeeper, but I take health and hygiene very seriously. I don't know why I put such an emphasis on preventative health, but I do. But I'm not the kind of mom who runs to the doctor for any little thing. Things I don't know about, like this, yes. A low-grade fever, no. Mine have all had weak enamel and many cavities, so I think it's important to have their teeth professionally cleaned and examined. So, they had their dental cleaning and it. was. awful. Not just for me taking them, but for my middle daughter, Child B. Here's how it went:

The day before the appointment, Child A looked at the calendar. Child B had her clothes ready to get dressed. Child C was being her cheerful little self. Child A made an announcement that they all had a dentist appointment the next day. What came next took me totally by surprise. My normally sensitive yet active Child B shut down. She couldn't bring herself to get dressed. She rolled on the floor, wringing her hands, worrying about the appointment the next day. She asked if we could reschedule it. She asked if she could not go. She wondered, aloud, how she was ever going to get through it. She didn't get dressed at all that day and I don't think she ate.

The day of the appointment I was also watching the neighbor's little boy. All the kids piled into the van, loveys in arms as they always do for dentist appointments, and off we went. Half an hour to our pediatric dentist who we searched long and hard for 4 years ago after Child A's traumatic appointments with another one closer. Child B worried the whole way there. She told me she wasn't going in. A and I had an arrangement that when we got there, she would take C and the neighbor in while I helped B. B walked in just fine, but hid as soon as we walked in the lobby. After I signed the kids in, I asked if anyone needed to go to the bathroom, have a snack or a drink... Before I knew it, B had walked up to the reception desk, signed herself out and was out the door. Yes, out. the. door. Just the other side of the parking lot is a very busy set of railroad tracks. I chased after her to stop her before she reached them. I'm sure she didn't even know where she was going. Halfway across the parking lot, I wrestled her to the ground and held her tightly. She was so panicked. We made it back in the office and I had to hold on to her.

(Now, let me back up here for just a minute. B has always had a sensory disorder that causes her to not feel things the same way most of us do. For example, she seeks deep pressure on her muscles and loves to be squeezed. She can spin all day long and not get dizzy. Yes, she could pass a field sobriety test and walk a straight line after being spun to the point where most people would get vomit. In fact, I found out that 9 times in a row on the Tilt-a-whirl is my threshold, but B kept going until two more chaperons thoughts they, too, would be sick. Mosquito bites don't make her itch, but she will climb to great heights in attempt to escape her own body. So, knowing this about her, we have tools to help her. We have been using the Wilbarger Protocol Brushing Technique off and on since she was 3. It helps calm her. Now she asks for it when she's overwhelmed or over-stimulated.)

At this point, I was holding her in the lobby and got out her brush. She calmed a little bit, so I pulled out her hand-held massager that she will hold on top of her head for stimulation. We talked about how she can hold that to counteract the vibrations from the dental cleaning. It was soon time to bring her back to the cleaning room, so I went with her. A stayed with her sister and the neighbor. Once in the room, B was very uneasy so I was holding her tightly. It occurred to me, that maybe if I read to her she would calm down, so I reached for a book on the counter. Wrong. She bolted. I loosened my grip and she was gone. I chased after her, reaching her as she reached the door to the lobby. I carried her while she reached for anything that might be solid. She grabbed at mirror on the wall and it crashed down. When I got her back to the room, I was crying, she was wrestling to get away, and I sat on her to keep her there. She wiggled so much that her hair got spun around the cleaning tool. I had to keep sitting on her until she was untangled or she would have taken off with it and whatever it was connected to. The dentist decided to use nitrous oxide (with my eager permission at this point) to finish the cleaning.

When she was done, she was fine. Instant calm. The other kids did fine. I was a wreck.

I called my husband from the lobby and cried. I called the pediatrician and cried.. Why would she behave like this? What could be happening? He gave me some names and numbers to call. I cried all the way home.

I realized then that whatever road we were headed down with her, I felt very alone. I was frustrated and angry. I was tired of the judgemental looks from others who had kids who could easily be around large groups of people and not wander off or need to be in a quieter place. And then I realized that there are other moms just like me with kids just like her who feel the same way. Other parents laugh at the things their kids say and do. Other parents take it in stride. God never intended for us to do this alone. I reached out and grasped my Father who made my child in His image, and He did not make a mistake when He made her different!

It was in that moment that I accepted my daughter for who she is, realized some of her limitations, and chose to find out what to do to help her. If going to the dentist caused her that much anxiety and inability to function, then we need to find ways to teach her to get through those moments or don't put her in that situation until she can handle it. I also decided to switch to this blog, from our homeschool blog where I eluded to the dentist appointment (along with the more humorous event of her taking apart the cash register at Wal-mart), but it was too recent to think about without crying again. If there are other parents like me, with children like B, then we need not be alone. First and foremost, God will never leave us nor forsake us. Second, He is perfect and does not make mistakes; therefore, B is made within His divine plan. Third, I will blog about those crazy, stressful moments that bring me to tears and, hopefully, there will be tears of laughter, too.

That day changed our life. Really, it did. To be continued...

Come back Thursday to read about what B has accomplished in the past year, the progress she has made, and how we've made it through the next two cleanings since the one mentioned here.