10 February 2006

the consult

My dear, sweet boy. He is a child who wraps his engaging , dimpled grin around your heart and digs it into your soul, deep and true. He captivates you and enchants you with a magic spell all his own. The day he was born he melted me into a puddle of tears and I knew I had my calling. Motherhood.

That calling has been insanely difficult of recent days. His smile was no longer reaching his eyes and his defiance was getting stronger. Moodiness and anger defined his afternoons, frustration seeped from his sighs and he struggled with cooperating at school, which later carried over into our afternoons at home. Something was off kilter, but we could not put our finger on it. We were increasingly concerned.

In desperation, my husband and I scheduled a consult with our beloved pediatrician. I believe God gave us exactly the right doctor five years ago when we went on a hunt for who we could trust with our children’s care. We wanted someone we could ask our questions to and feel confident of their answers. This lady and the other two doctors in her practice, are personal, caring, warm, and open; they even fully support and encourage our interest in natural remedies and using a chiropractor. As with our daughter’s care a year ago, we once more felt the assurance of her wisdom and love for children.

Monday afternoon, as we began to essentially read from a list of “issues” our son was having that went beyond the behavioral aspect, she made notes and asked a few clarifying questions, and stopped us when we were two thirds through. We had listed such things as freaking out when glue got on his hands, not changing activities well, being oddly sensitive to various noises, and continuing with the moods and so on. “I know what’s wrong.”

He has Sensory Processing Disorder. She told us to get an occupational therapy evaluation (scheduled for this coming Wednesday) and see what they say. Her opinion is that we will find it “enlightening”. Already, the few websites I have glanced at told me she is right, and explained little things I’ve known about my son for years, but would never have connected with anything: he hates having his nails clipped, his legs hang down when you hold him (compared to a child who wraps them snugly around you for support), and his baths are lukewarm. Little things I would have called idiosyncrasies. They now hold an entirely new meaning in our world.

Each child with SPD has their own degree of it, their own sensitivities, their own issues. It runs deep and wide and each child has various aspects to deal with, such as speech delay, motor skills needing fine tuned and being bothered by tags in their clothing. (In recent weeks, I have noticed him stretching out the necks of his shirts, which had me confounded. Until now.)

The following paragraph gave me a bit of unsettling perspective on how my son might be feeling (found here):

Try this: Turn on the radio, but don't tune it. Leave it on static and fuzz. Turn it up. Ask someone to turn the lights on and off, at will. Strap yourself into a broken chair that is missing a leg and use a table that is off balance - you know the ones in restaurants that makes us all so mad. Now, put on some scratchy lace in place of a comfy T-shirt, put your pants on backwards and wear shoes one size too small. Pour a bowl of grated parmesan cheese, open a can of sardines and bring the cat box to the table. Now, snack on your least favorite food; the one you NEVER eat because it comes with a gag reflex. With all this in place, pick up a new book and learn something new! How can anyone claim that SI problems don't interfere with education??

As for the anger and some behavioral things—they go hand in hand with the Sensory Processing Disorder, and will improve when therapy begins to help his problems. If the above paragraph described even a fraction of what I thought was “normal”, I would be a regular funk, too. In fact, just understanding that there is more going on than what appeared to be undue defiance has made a huge difference to us and therefore in our son. For one, the sparkle is back in his eyes. That alone will make me forever grateful.

05 February 2006

...it's a small world after all...

So there I am, shooting the breeze with my long-time mail lady. She’s had this route for 10 years, and we’ve lived here 7 ½, so I feel familiar with her, and we’ve chatted off and on over the years. This time last year, my mother was giving her news of Miss C's birth, and this week I was telling her about our pending move. Chat chat chat.

She starts talking about a neighboring town, same county, which I went to high school in, and I mentioned the school. “So did my kids—what year did you graduate?”


“You’re kidding!”

Her daughter was one of my classmates. I wasn’t super close to her, but we got along fine. I really liked her, in fact. And, we’re talking about a large county with lots of public schools in a metropolitan area. Yet, how small is this world?