Saturday, July 16, 2011

Crazy-making Car Talk

The scene: Trapped in a hot car with my 2 year old, driving anywhere, most likely to 2 year old's occupational therapy session at the Sunshine School.


2 year old: Where'd Daddy go?

Me: Daddy went to work.

2 year old: I want to go to work, toooooo.

Me: Well, someday you will get to go to work and you can make lots and lots of money and take care of Mommy and Daddy.

2 year old: I want to go to work noooowww.

(2 seconds of silence)

2 year old: Where'd Lindley go? (she is the neighbor across the street)

Me: She is probably at her house.

2 year old: Where'd Lindley go?

Me: I just told you. She is probably at her house.

2 year old: Where'd Lindley go?

Me: (breathing deeply and starting to go crazy) I don't know.

2 year old: Where'd Daddy go?

Me: I already told you. Daddy went to work.

2 year old: Where'd Daddy go? I want Daddy.

Me: You can see Daddy after Sunshine School.

2 year old: Where'd Sunshine School go?

Me: Same place it was on Tuesday. We are driving there right now.

2 year old: Where'd Harry go?

Me: Harry is at home with Grandma.

2 year old: Where'd Grandma go?

Me: She is at our house with Harry.

2 year old: Where'd our house go?

Me: (Ohmygosh please stop talking!!! I am about to pull this car over and put myself in a ditch) Our house is where it always is. Still sitting on our street.

2 year old: Where'd our street go? Where'd Lindley go?

And I couldn't wait until he started talking because people always talk about how kids say the darndest things and aren't they just adorable? Clearly I was misinformed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What the H-E-double toothpicks am I doing with two boys?

So, look at me writing three posts in a row! The world might be coming to an end.

And if it does, well, that would have been fine with me this morning because I was mortified. By my 2 year old. Totally embarrassed.

For those of you who don't live in our area, there is a great place for toddlers called Boingo Bounce. It is just a big room with bouncy houses and blow-up slides. You would think the perfect place for toddlers to run like mad and not get hurt.

That is until my 2 year old walks through the door. He might as well have been carrying a stun gun and one of those clobber sticks with the spikes.

You see, as great as Boingo Bounce is for kids, it is also very loud. Children are screaming, the music is at rock concert levels, there is the constant whir of air pumps blowing up the facilities. So, if your child has a sensory disorder and is prone to overstimulation like mine, then this place is like the Wild West. Limited law and order, children drunk with bouncy house fun, parents running to and fro trying to find their children in the chaos. For someone like my son, it can be crazy-making.

At one point, I was carrying Harry, my 10-month old, around the room trying to find Max. And then I saw her. Another mother lean down to a boy I couldn't see (he was behind a plastic palm tree) and ask him who his mother was. I walked over to the palm tree, praying that she wasn't talking to my son. The other mother looked up and said, "Is this your son?" As I looked around the palm tree, I was still praying. Peering, peering around... Crap. It was Max. My heart sank.

She told me, in a very sweet way which I very much appreciated, that Max had been pulling other kids down the stairs to the slide and had scared two little kids so much that they were afraid to play on the slide anymore. I was appalled. Embarrassed. Mortified. The other mother was kind and not rude whatsoever, but I wanted to sink into the floor.

And then I looked at Max. I know what he looks like when his senses are starting to spin out of control. His face was red, he was hot, his eyes were glassy, he couldn't focus on what I was saying, he couldn't think straight. We had been there for 45 minutes and it was time to go.

Now, I realize that this episode was my fault. I know better than to not supervise Max at all times. Steve and I have never been able to visit with other parents at birthday parties, BBQs, neighborhood block parties, etc. because Max is not one of those children who can be in a party atmosphere and not get overstimulated and aggressive. His senses can't work together efficiently enough to keep him balanced in loud environments. We always have to leave parties early.

But, I guess my excuse is that for once, I wanted to be like those other mothers I saw sitting on the floor of Boingo Bounce, playing with their babies and having adult conversations while their older children played in the bouncy houses. I wanted to sit down and actually get to talk to the mother of the little girl we came with. I wanted to have an adult conversation. I wanted to enjoy myself, too. I stay at home all day everyday with a toddler and a baby and I just wanted to talk, too. It's a poor excuse, I guess, but it's the truth.

I now know the sitting-on-the-floor dream of mine will remain a dream for a while. And that's okay. But really, what in the H-E-double toothpicks was God, the Universe, doing when He decided it was a good idea to give me two boys? And what were my boys thinking when their happy souls decided to come back to Earth and choose me as their mother?

I know nothing about boys. I didn't have a brother and all but one of my cousins are girls.

I am not hyperactive.

I am not aggressive.

I don't like loud noises.

I don't like sweating or dirt.

I don't like woodsy areas.

I don't like bugs.

I don't like sports.

I don't like camping (this kinda goes hand-in-hand with the sweating, dirt and bugs thing)

I don't think poop and boogers and farting are funny (okay, sometimes farting is funny).

I don't like peeing outside.

I don't have a well of energy that never dries up.

I like to read. I like quiet. I like poetry. I like being still. I like Barbies.

What were they thinking?

Maybe they were thinking that I would love them, which I do more than anyone I've ever loved before. Maybe they were thinking that I would try my best, which I do, everyday, although sometimes I feel like it isn't good enough. And maybe they were thinking that despite my shortcomings, missteps, and imperfections, I would be a good mother. And I hope I am.

And maybe someday, I will get to sit down with the other mothers, too....but, we'll see. Let's not get crazy, now.

My Sick (cough, cough) Baby Harry

So, Harry. My precious 10-month old baby. This is him on the Fourth of July in his red, white and blue. And his snotty nose. And his pink eye infection.

Another picture of him with his mysterious pink eye - no idea where he got it because he doesn't go anywhere, but he sure did pass it on to his little 8-month old cousin, Cardin!

Since January, Harry has had one sickness after another. If it is common and he can catch it, he will. As you all know, he had a constant ear infection from January through April, so he finally got tubes put in during the last week of April. He has terrible environmental allergies, so he continuously has a runny nose, which inevitably turns into a sinus infection every time. In his short life, he has been on so many different antibiotics.

Then, a few days before July 4th, he woke up with his eyes crusty, red and swollen (we were having family pictures taken that day, too). The next day, both eyes were glued shut. Naturally, it was a Sunday and a holiday weekend, so we had to call the after hours clinic and the doc called in eye drops and told us it was most likely conjunctivitis.

As his eyes cleared, his nose got snottier and he began to pull at his ear. On Friday morning, his right ear started oozing brown goo, so I took him to the doctor and he determined that in addition to another ear infection and sinus infection, Harry has asthma. Fantastic.

So, off we went to buy an inhaler and a chamber mask. And more antibiotics. He is just beginning to get used to the mask. He hated it at first, but I have let him play with it so he isn't as afraid of it.

Over the weekend, he started getting better. Yesterday was his 9 month well-child check-up (even though he is 10 months old. We are a little behind due to a couple of snow storms at the beginning of the year). At the 9 month appt, the nurses prick their big toe to check their iron levels, and wouldn't you know it. Harry is borderline anemic.

I swear! This poor child can't seem to get healthy! It is hard to watch your child feel cruddy so often, not to mention all the money we have spent on doctor's bills, hospital bills, medicine, anesthesiologists, etc. My husband is going to have to get a third job just to pay for it all (Steve also had a bone graft done that wasn't covered by insurance and I had a cervical biopsy done that wasn't covered because my endometriosis and history of abnormal pap smears are pre-existing conditions - don't you just love insurance companies! :))

Despite it all, Harry is always in good spirits! He is an inspiration to me. Your kids can teach you a lot. He has been sick for almost 7 months straight, but he still giggles and smiles and enjoys every minute. And yes, I am aware that he hasn't had a chance to be jaded or hurt or fearful of what lies ahead, but that is what I love. He doesn't worry about the next minute or the next hour or the next day. He feels safe and he knows he will be taken care of. He just wants to have fun.

I want to be more like that. I want to find that feeling of safety and peace. I work for it, I strive toward it. I search ...I am always searching for it ...

I'll find it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Raise your hand if you're tired (if I could raise my hand any higher, my arm would fall out of the socket)!

So, hello bloggy friends! I guess I am averaging one post every 2-3 weeks these days. Summer is busy with Max being out of preschool. I am trying to find activities for him everyday so we don't all go insane. HOWEVER! I am going to try to write every day this week! Starting today (I meant to start yesterday, but I was busy doing something, although I'm not sure what and I will probably never remember).

So, today is all about updating everyone on Max. Tomorrow, I will update everyone on Harry and all his physical ailments (if I can remember them all). After that, we will just have to see what flies out of my brain.

Ah, Max. My sweet, sweet 2 year old who is about to turn 3 next month. The terrible twos have definitely proven true with him. Someone told me the other day that age three is just the terrible twos with more words. I almost fell down in the grass and rolled myself into the street. I was hoping for a break when he turned three. I am going to keep holding on to that dream!

The past three weeks have actually been easier with him. He has seemed more balanced, less anxious, not quite as hyperactive. He has been playing independently more often and has been less aggressive toward his brother. He still has trouble with social play with other children - he has no boundaries and assumes they don't either. He acts as if every child should automatically play with him, while other children are a bit more apprehensive with people and children they don't know.

Max does everything with gusto and aggression. He is always smiling, he is NEVER in a bad mood, he is pretty much always playful. He approaches life with passion and I hope he always does. He can scare other children with his aggressive approach to play and his desire for attention - he will reach out and touch other kids while they may not appreciate his way of saying hello. Max is a pretty awesome kid.

And while the past 3 weeks have seemed easier, this doesn't mean that he hasn't pulled some of his typical 2 year old boy antics in the last few days.

On Saturday, my husband was cleaning something with Pine Sol and he left the FULL bottle sitting on the living room floor while he went into the next room. And naturally, being a 2 year old boy, Max took the fully concentrated bottle of PineSol and dumped it out all over our living room floor. LUCKILY, he missed the rug and only spilled it on the fireplace tile and the hardwood floor. But anyone who has smelled concentrated PineSol knows how strong the smell is - today is Tuesday and we still can't get the chemical smell out of the house.

Also on Saturday, while I was trying to put Harry down for bed, Max took a red magic marker and drew all over the back of our couch! I think he was jealous because I was holding Harry in order to put him to sleep, so when I left the room, Max acted out for attention. Little stinker!

Now food. Max has stopped eating breakfast. And I have stopped trying to force him to eat. Since he started eating solids 2 1/2 years ago, I have tried to force him to eat. He just isn't an eater. His sensory issues really come out with food. And until recently, every meal and every snack he ate ended up on the floor. EVERY TIME. Three meals and two snacks a day ended up on the floor because he didn't want to eat and he was acting out. I was CONSTANTLY cleaning up the floor and the walls around the table. Some days, I just didn't bother. I was too tired of it.

Well, 2 or 3 weeks ago, Max's developmental therapist's supervisor came to our house to observe and she was wonderful with her advice. She helped me so much. She told me not to feed him until he was really hungry and cut out his snacks. If he doesn't want breakfast, no big deal. And the first time he throws his food on the floor, say, "If you throw your food on the floor, that tells Mommy you are finished." And then take his plate away and make him leave the table. Since I started doing this, it has worked like a dream! Food hardly ever ends up on the floor now unless it is an accident (with me, anyway - he still does it with my husband). The first time I threaten to take away his plate, he begs me not to and is very careful to keep his food on the table.

I guess I just needed permission from someone - someone to tell me it is okay for him not to eat sometimes. To discipline him by taking away his food. As his mommy, I have always stressed about his eating because he has never eaten well. His texture issues with food have kept him from expanding his food horizons and it has been a constant worry of mine. This woman gave me permission to not worry about it which in turn has helped me teach Max the proper way socialized people eat at the table! I am so grateful!

He has eaten gluten-free waffles and two bowls of frozen bluberries everyday for lunch for a week and I am not stressing about it!! :)

This has turned into a longer post than I intended, so I'd better skidaddle!