Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Something else I have been avoiding

Warning: The following is a gross admission of my terrible house keeping.

Tomorrow, Michael will turn 3. And several changes come with this, but the biggest one in our home right now is transitioning him from his crib (in toddler bed form) to a real big boy bed. We have to arrange his room  to fit it in and I believe our beloved chair will have to move out to the living room.

I love that chair. Michael and I have spent so much time in that chair together... nursing, sleeping, cuddling, reading, talking. It's been such a fixture in our lives and I will miss spending so much time with him in it, but it's just another part of growing up... and it's not like we're getting rid of it... is only going to the living room.

But now for the darker side of the chair... Michael had terrible food allergies/reflux/whatever and puked on me all of the time. That kid was just a spit-up fountain and many, many of these spew attacks occurred in that chair. And the chair is "leather", and I wiped up as best as I could, but sometimes (more often than I would like to admit,) the spit-up went down the inside of the chair where the armrest meets the seat. And I never cleaned it up.

Take a minute to freak out. Yes, I know, I deserve that. Gross. But I had a very fussy baby and was trying to keep it all together, I didn't exactly have time to flip the chair over and scrub the carpet everyday. I barely had time to brush my teeth, I had to let that one go.

And then I tried to pretend it wasn't there. You know, out of sight, out of mind. I'd move the chair to vacuum   every once in a while and would cringe, but quickly replaced the chair so I could avoid it longer.

Well, the time has come and tonight I scrubbed nearly 3 year-old puke out of my carpet. And it looks like it came out just fine. (And the spit-up went pretty much went straight down to the carpet, there are almost no traces of spit up anywhere inside the actual chair, in case you were wondering.)

So let that be a lesson. When your life is shit and you are doing your best just to breathe, screw the house work. That vomit will come out just fine when you decide to chip it off in a couple of years. That, or, you know, install hard surface flooring before you have kids.

Ok, please don't think too much less of me now that I've admitted that.

Good chair.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sensory Processing Disorder

I haven't been blogging much lately... partly because I'm lazy and partly because I'm in a different place in my life, but mostly because I've been avoiding writing this post.

I struggle with how much to talk about this, because it's Michael's story and he deserves some privacy on this topic, but it's my story too to some extent and I think there are readers out there that would benefit from hearing it.

Something has always seemed off about Michael. He's smart and happy and people tell me he's a great kid and I must be the crazy one for thinking something was wrong with him, but I still couldn't let that feeling slide.

That feeling caused me so much trouble. Was I an inadequate mother? Everyone told me how wonderful he was, so surely that must mean that I'm crazy. And why can't my kid get this stuff?! Everyone else's kid does! I know I'm not suppose to compare my son to others, but still, why? What's wrong with him me?

Although I was incredibly happy when Michael was born, it wasn't long until I started feeling depressed and frustrated. Why doesn't my newborn sleep? Why won't my baby take a bottle? Did I ruin him by breastfeeding him? Why does he scream every time we're travel in the car? Why does he hate his baby swing? Why does he have to be swaddled to sleep? Did I ruin him by swaddling him? Why won't he let me wear him? Why won't he stop wiggling? Why does he puke when I try to make him eat solids? Why won't he stop hitting/pinching/poking me? Why?  Why? Why! Michael really defied most of my expectations about parenthood. He wasn't like the other babies and I  was constantly wondering what I did wrong. It really brought out a lot of insecurities in me.

The other thing about him was that he really wasn't a happy baby. He hated daycare and everyday was such a nightmare. When I picked him up and I should have been happy to be reunited with him, but instead my heart broke because I could see how hard the day had been on him. Big purple bags under his eyes, tears dried to his cheeks.  I'd strap him in his carseat and listen to him wail all the way home. Then I take him to his room and nurse him and we would both fall asleep. Neither of us even able to wake for dinner. I struggled so much and I was so ready to leave my job when it ended because I could see that it was the right thing to do for him. I was totally blindsided by a child that hated daycare. I never expected that. Didn't my baby get the message, these days most moms work.  I didn't finish my masters to be a SAHM. I often blamed his problems on the daycare staffing issues but I've come to realize that the same situation probably would have happened anywhere.

Michael and I continued to struggle. I continued to always feel that something was off about him, but I didn't know what it was. I kept coming back to autism, but that didn't seem right. Then one day a friend of mine, while talking about another child, mentioned sensory processing disorder (SPD). I had never heard of that before so I went home and googled it. Bingo. (And in case you were wondering, there is a wide range of the manifestations of SPDs and the extent to which they impact someone's life... cause almost everyone can relate to some aspect of an SPD.)

I tried respond to this new information calmly. I collected information. Read books. Talked to my Parents-As-Teachers educator (she agreed with me). Prepared some documentation and took it to the pediatrician. He agreed as well (after we ruled out more serious illnesses that could explain some of the symptoms). He made some recommendations for getting Michael fully assessed and occupational therapy.

The story gets more complicated from there, involving early intervention and red tape and medical records  and the school system and insurance and lots of other bits and pieces. We are still very much mid-process in terms of getting him fully assessed and figuring out what services are available to us. I really wanted to wait until that was all done to write this post, but I can see that's not really necessary and I'm not exactly sure where "done" is.

We've had several visits from a wonderful occupational therapist. It's been a real learning experience seeing her work with him and I'm glad that I listened to my gut. When he turns 3 in a few days, we will have to get a new OT because he will have aged out of the early intervention program and I'm not exactly sure how things will go from here, but working with her for the last couple of weeks has helped me to realize how much he needs this.

I still have to come to terms with the feelings of inadequacy that were a product of how Michael's SPD affected our relationship. I know I'm not crazy for noticing this stuff anymore, but at the same time, there is the scarier prospect that his issues are REAL and not created by the anxiety in my head. And who knows what caused his SPD... looking back I could literally see the signs of this issue while he was still in the womb. I'm not going to blame myself for ruining him somehow. I'm going to stop beating myself up for feeling like I should have been able to manage work with caring for my child better. We got dealt a different hand and we're going to play it the best we can.

I'm very happy that this is hopefully a minor issue in his life and that otherwise, Michael is healthy. And I'm  certainly glad that we identified this so early.

Maybe I'll blog about this again sometime, but for now, I wanted to get this out there for the other parents that can relate. Go with your gut. You know your kid better than anyone else. I was pretty much my son's only advocate on this issue. My husband wasn't even observant enough to see what I was seeing and disagreed with me at first, but I pushed against him for this and I'm glad I did.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

This is 30

I turned 30 the other day. Birthdays aren't a big deal to me, and this one was no exception, but to the rest of the world it seems that turning over a decade is usually considered a bigger deal.

I had a conversation with my therapist the other week on turning 30. I told her that I was looking forward to it because I find my 20 year old self annoying and I'm hoping that I won't bother myself so much when I'm 30. I was recounting this conversation with my husband last night and he asked me what I did in my 20's that was so cringe worthy. The biggest, quickest to point to example I can think of was our wedding. Oh, what a freakin nightmare. The guest-list, the registry, showers, bridesmaids. I recently told one of DH's cousins that she should be glad that she wasn't engaged yet, because she'll make much better decisions about her wedding if she knows herself better (I was slightly drunk during this conversation :) So many parts of my wedding were because I was worried about what other people would think... something about getting older makes you care less about what other people think.

But there are plenty of other things about 20 that I don't mind leaving in the past. Infertility and TTC #1. Done. Good riddance. My acne. Somehow it's finally come under control in the last year or so. It would have been nice if that had happened a decade earlier, but I'll take anything I can get in that department. My hair is a hell of a lot better looking these days too. I have naturally curly hair and I've finally accepted it. I despise all the straight hair girls that say they wish they had curly hair... it took me 29 years to figure out how to make this look good (thank you Curly Girl Handbook). I'm still a work in progress, but I was able to look in the mirror on my birthday and I was happier with the woman looking back at me than I have been in years.

I'm busy trying to take better care of the rest of myself too. My mental health is doing pretty good. I finally got a new doctor (since McSoothy is no longer available) and got my pap done and some blood work (all good!). I've got a dermatologist appointment for later this week to do a mole check, which I have put off longer than I should have considering that skin cancer killed my grandfather and I'm super fair-skinned. I really need to go to the dentist (that's about 3 years over due) and get an eye exam (I think I was about 10 last time I got one of those) and 2013 is the year to get caught up on those.

I am sad that we are going to delay our plans to start TTCing again, but it's because I want more time to get fit and check off some of those overdue doctors appointments before we start that business up again. My original life plans included being done having children by the time I was 30, but that's ok. I'm not going to fret over that the way I would have a few years ago.

So this is 30 and it seems pretty good.