We had our first appointment this morning, and it went pretty well. Brady played nicely while we talked about some of the things we're concerned about. We all knew he was listening even though he acted like he wasn't, so she pulled him into the conversation every so often to ask him what he thought about what we were talking about and to get confirmation that he had a hard time with those things. Then, Brady and Daddy went out into the hall while the doctor and I talked privately and I could go into more detail with examples of his behavior, and explaining what type of reward systems we've used, etc. We left with lots of questionnaires to fill out, and a couple sheets for his teacher to fill out. After we get all those back to her, we'll set up another appointment for her to play with Brady. Brady said he liked her and seemed okay with the idea of meeting with her more. I'm really hoping all of this is worth it in the end and we'll figure out how to help him. Never thought we'd have to go to a professional to get help with parenting our kid. Sometimes I wonder if we're overreacting or trying to find something to blame our kid's behavior on. Or, that he's a normal little boy and we just can't handle it. I'm sure plenty of people that know us and him probably think that's what it is b/c he can usually hold it together so well outside of the home. But, then he'll have an "episode" where we're all left exhausted, scared, and overwhelmed (Brady included) and I remember why we started down this path to begin with. We shouldn't have to live like this, always waiting for an explosion and walking on eggshells trying to keep another explosion from happening. He's such a loving, sweet kid and I hope we can take care of all this other stuff so that he can have a happier, less stressful childhood.
I'm so excited! I finally got around to making a crash pad for Brady. Hoping to get the rings and rope ladder from Ikea at some point, and we can have a little therapy area. Plus, we're getting tired of the boys always pulling the couch apart just to jump on the cushions! I found a twin duvet cover at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $15, and as an added bonus, it's a super soft plush fabric. Last one left, like it was just waiting for me. I also found a company near me that basically does custom foam cutting for other companies. They let me use a bunch of foam from their scrap pile, and even cut it up into pieces for me. So excited! They'll be getting it for Christmas, and I'm sure it'll be a hit. It's now hiding in our unfinished basement, and I honestly don't know where it's going to live once it has to come upstairs as it's pretty big.
In my last post, I was talking about Brady's bus behavior and how he was going to start sitting by himself.
Well, that didn't exactly help things. I thought he was doing ok, but then the driver called me up one day to tell me that she'd have to write him up b/c another parent had called to complain about his behavior. The next day, I got a call from the Asst. Principal telling me that Brady had scratched another kid while walking from the bus to the school. On the face, from right by his eye down his cheek, drawing blood, for no apparent reason. I happened to be having lunch with him that day, so I stopped by her office afterwards. She had talked to his teacher about his sensory issues, and she was actually pretty familiar with the disorder and things that can help! I was very encouraged. She had already talked to the school's OT about some ideas to help him on the bus and during school. She has an older student with the same problem who she pulls out of class to do "chores" for her while wearing a heavy backpack, and PE teacher will let kids come to the gym for sensory breaks . The Asst. Principal is going to work with the OT to get a game plan in place to help Brady get some breaks during the day. It feels great to have someone willing to help us even though he doesn't qualify for an IEP. We got a release form for our OT to talk to the school's OT. And, as an added bonus, we actually know the school's OT. She's a friend of a friend and we have been to many parties together. I feel like we are actually on the road to getting Brady what he needs. Too bad it took him drawing blood from another kid's face to do it.
So, back to the bus. Apparently, he's been sliding under his seat to get to the kids behind him and bother them. And he's been grabbing and messing up artwork, even threw one out the window. Sounds like he has been seriously out of control. I truly think it's the noise on the bus that is hyping him up. He used to avoid loud settings like that, but he can now "cope" with it. Problem is, it usually causes him to lose control of his body.
He was off the bus for the last half of last week. Hard for us b/c I have to wake little brother up from his nap to get to school in time in the afternoon. And Brady was seriously averse to the drop off line in the morning. Lots of drama after waiting in the line, pulling up to the curb, and then having to go park in a faraway place and walk him in with Henry in tow. We're planning on him riding the bus again tomorrow, and I'm nervous. Here's our plan -
1 - He'll have headphones playing classical music and our old iPhone to play games. Hoping the music will drown out the bus noise, and the games will help him keep his hands to himself.
2 - A fourth grader (friend from across the street) will sit with him to help if he needs reminding about turning on his music and playing his games and staying in his seat.
3 - I've been reminding him that having his bottom touching the seat is the only way to be safe on the bus. If the bus is moving, then his bottom needs to be on the seat. Just like when the car is moving, his buckles have to be buckled.
4 - The Asst. Principal is going to try to get a weighted lap pad for him to keep on the bus. He has one in the car, and he is much calmer when he has it on.
I'm scared, but we'll give it a week and see how it goes. I have a feeling I'll most likely be driving him after the winter break b/c it always seems like my best laid plans don't work with him. But, we'll see...
I got called onto the bus yesterday afternoon, and the driver told me that he's having a very hard time staying seated and keeping his hands to himself. SHOCKER!! No, really, it made me sad b/c I thought he was doing ok, as he is in class. So, for now, he's going to have to sit by himself in the first row. We had a long talk last night, and I told him to keep his backpack on his lap, hoping the weight of it will help remind him to stay on his bottom. He's usually pretty good when it comes to safety-related things, so I tried explaining how the only way to stay safe on the bus is to sit in the seat correctly. Equated standing up or getting on his knees to unbuckling his car seat straps. I'm huge on car safety, so I was already worried about sending him off on a bus. If he doesn't get better, I'm going to have to start driving him, which none of us really want. I told him that if he can start sitting correctly, then after awhile we'll try to let a friend sit with him. The driver seems very helpful and sympathetic, so I think we'll get him straight. But it does worry me that she has to worry about all these kids, Brady bouncing around included, while driving down a two lane road!
Oh, and I made sure he took his fidget wristband with him today and really showed him how he can play with it, which I realized I've probably never done. Maybe that will give him something to do since he's used to having friends with him :(.
I haven't given an update on where we are with Brady lately, so here it is.
A couple months ago, in the midst of our very difficult summer, I had made an appointment to have Brady re-evaluated for OT b/c I felt like he was back sliding quickly after 8 months without OT. Last week was the earliest they could see us. At this point, I keep feeling like he's doing better, but I think it's more that he's now in full day school and I'm not dealing with his antics all day long. On the weekends, Daddy's around most of the time, taking a lot of the burden off of me. And, we've all gotten better at recognizing when he needs to bump and crash and climb and kick and we (Brady included) now know of ways to get it appropriately. Still, he's been having a lot of behavior problems that could or could not be SPD-related. So, off to the evaluation we go. She does the normal fine-motor testing, everything's caught up there (good, but means insurance won't cover any OT now). Then she does some muscle and reflex testing. Found out something new there - he was asymmetrical tonic neck reflex, something that is supposed to go away by 6 months of age and that is now hindering his ability to hold his pencil correctly. He grips it kind of weirdly and too tight in order to fight the reflex that shouldn't be there. It was a simple test to find this out, but no one had done it before. And I did it to my husband. Guess what? He has it too!
By the end of the session, Brady was getting bored and jumping on the padded bed in the testing room, so the evaluator got to see that side of him. She gave him a sensory toy to play with, too. Then, she got to see a little bit of the behavior problems that we've been dealing with. He refused to give up the toy. He screamed that he wanted to be alone as he tried to hide from us. In my mind, I know that's what he does when he starts feeling threatened and is scared he'll start hitting and kicking. Too bad this wasn't the time or place to run off and hide. We got him out towards the waiting room and he did finally give up the toy - by throwing it at the OT. Then, we took the next ten minutes trying to get him to pick it up and hand it to her. He is just so darn defiant!! That's when she emphatically re-answered an earlier question I had asked - "Yes, I think it would be a very good idea to talk to the psychologist". I've had this nagging feeling that there's more to Brady's problems than just the SPD. I feel like we've got a decent handle on it, but he's still acting out. So, we've filled out the paperwork and are waiting on a call to set up an appointment with her. And, in the meantime, we're going to do some more OT, once a week, to make sure his system is organized before we start anything else.
In other news, we met with his teacher later in the week and she thinks he's doing fine. Not any worse than some of the other boys. Just a bit fidgety mostly, started doing cartwheels one day, hitting someone the next but overall not a disruption to the classroom. He's having a little trouble getting some of his work done, but it's getting better. We told her some things she can do to help him, and we just hope she'll do them and he'll be able to progress well in school.
As part of the SPD Blogger Network, the September Blog Carnival was to post about Sensational Siblings. I've been planning to write a post about siblings for awhile now, but I'm finally getting around to actually doing it. I've been reading some of the posts so far, and I'm seeing alot about older siblings coming to understand the younger ones difficulties and finding ways to help him do better. Unfortunately, our SPD child is the oldest and doesn't have that example.
For awhile, we thought Brady just might be an only. He was such a handful that I knew I couldn't handle another one as I saw most of my friends having their seconds. We finally decided to have another, and we were so blessed with a little brother for Brady. He loved babies, even chose to play with them instead of other kids his own age at playgroups. The biggest problem we had when Henry was a baby was that Brady didn't know where his limbs were, and those limbs were constantly on the move. It was exhausting just making sure that he didn't hurt Henry by accident and at the same time making sure he was able to play with him and give him the love he wanted to. Now that Henry is 2, they are best friends. Henry follows him around and copies everything he does (good and bad, unfortunately). And Henry is such a sweet, calm, snuggly little one. I'm so glad we got to experience that since Brady never liked to be held much and couldn't be left alone as a toddler b/c he was too destructive and I was scared he'd get hurt. Henry will go off to the playroom and play quietly by himself while I get other things done.
I do have to say, though, that it's tough with the oldest one having sensory and aggression issues. Henry copies EVERYTHING. I see some of Brady coming out in Henry. A lot of it is typical toddler behavior (which Brady hasn't completely outgrown) that will hopefully get better, but I worry that if we don't get a handle on Brady's problems, Henry will view that as how his behavior is supposed to be.
Henry misses Brady terribly while he's at school. As soon as the bus pulls away in the morning, Henry mopes back home saying "want Brady back". It's very sweet, and he's very excited to go pick him up in the afternoon. Problem is, Brady usually needs a little alone time after school, and he refuses to go to his room. Henry's too young to understand and just wants to play with his brother. And when someone gets in Brady's space at the wrong time, they get hurt. So I have to keep a crying toddler away from his brother so that nobody gets hurt, while somehow cooking a decent dinner (Brady doesn't get home until 4). Poor Henry does get abused a little. Brady also goes through phases of slapping him or pushing him down whenever I leave the room just for fun, but that seems to be getting better since Brady has realized that I have eyes in family room even when I'm in the kitchen.
It's funny how quickly little kids learn to protect themselves. Henry has now learned to duck and cover when Brady starts running around like a crazy person not looking where's he's going. He also listens very well to the command "Watch out, Henry!" And Brady is also learning to give that command when Henry's a little too close to line of fire.
Henry has also helped me see that Brady really was a handful, and it wasn't just bad discipline. So many of my friends would tell me that their kid just knows such and such is a rule so they do what they are supposed to do. Always made me feel like I was doing something wrong. A lot of them had handfuls for second children, so maybe they are now seeing that it wasn't that they were such good teachers, but they're first children just liked to please. Whenever I have to correct Henry, he gets this sad look on his face and says "k" in his little voice. Or, I threaten time-out, and he'll go there on his own and actually stay there. With Brady, time-out always turned into a game of chase, and we ended up having to buckle him down to an old car seat to teach him how to stay in time-out. And when I count, he asks what happens when I get to three. He's not worried about pleasing anyone, just wants to know if the crime is worth the punishment.
All and all, I am so glad that they both have a brother to grow up with, and am actually amazed at how well they can play together sometimes. Brady loves to make his little brother laugh, and he can be so sweet and gentle with him. They kiss each other's boo-boos. It's times like those that make other the stuff worth putting up with.
Brady came down this morning wearing a shirt that is known to have an itchy tag. He always wear another shirt under it to protect his skin.
He let me help him put on the "short socks" that he threw at me the last time we tried them thinking they were Henry's and telling me they were waaaaaaaay too small (ankle socks instead of crew socks) .
He got through his first fire drill at school, said it was just a little scary but he was brave and got in line with the other kids.
He allowed me to put on his socks and shoes yesterday even though he had a little boo-boo on his ankle. I was bracing for the shoe being thrown at me, but he just calmly told me he was ok with it.
He went out to dinner and then to bed last night and to school this morning w/out finding his lost toy lizard.
He says he loves the noise of the cafeteria!
He said he'd rather play chalk during recess than on the equipment??
He's been fine with the string of the nametag around his neck, which he couldn't stand touching his skin at orientation.
"Now that I'm 5, I'm a lot braver and that stuff doesn't bother me. When I was 4 it did, but now that I'm 5 it doesn't."
I could just cry! He's come so far in the last couple of years. At least so far, it's looking like Kindergarten is agreeing with him. I hope it keeps up! And I hope the itchy tag and short socks don't make him have a bad day today after he insisted he was fine with them.
Brady started Kindergarten this week!! After two days, he says he LOVES it.
He did very well getting ready the first two days, but today I got a glimpse of how it's probably going to go more often than not. He gets so darn distracted when he's supposed to be getting ready in the morning. He has his clothes picked out for the whole week in his closet, but comes down this morning in something different. Grr... that means he has to go back upstairs to change after breakfast (and no, he didn't want to wear his initial outfit which would have been fine with me). So, Henry is downstairs eating breakfast and Brady is upstairs doing who knows what? He FINALLY gets changed and comes down. Apparently, when he was eating breakfast he had asked to help me clean (he saw me wiping the table) and I had told him yes, once he was ready. Too bad it took him close to 30 minutes to be ready and at that point it was almost time to leave. So, to avoid an explosion, I gave him a sponge and let him wipe the table. Luckily, once Henry was done eating, he was ok stopping the cleaning because he's determined to the first one at the bus stop. Letting him clean always worries me b/c he doesn't want to ever stop, EVER. Combine these things with a new plastic lizard that he has to take care of AT ALL TIMES, and I'm starting to see our rough mornings getting to school coming back.
Oh, and we've just started soccer with practice on Wednesday nights. He gets off the bus at 4pm and has to be at practice by 5:30pm. So yesterday (our first time doing this), was a nightmare! I let him watch a show when he got home, and then he had to eat some dinner. He ate a tiny bit of dinner and then I started asking him to get his soccer stuff from his room. The process started off well enough, but then something changed and his tiredness led to meltdowns and explosions. I'm not even really sure what happened, but I remember one of them was caused by him tripping over his own feet. He blamed me b/c I was sort of near him, so he ran away from me and crashed onto the couch, screaming that he needed to be alone and don't talk to him and don't be near him. So I have to grab Henry and carry him away screaming(he's missed Brady all day and just wants to be near him). I could see it in Brady's eyes that if we didn't get away from him that we would be hurt. So, we sent Daddy off to soccer (he's the coach and HAS to be there on time) and let Brady cool off. About 10 minutes later, he came to the other room and let me help him finish getting ready. We had a small explosion at the soccer field, but luckily it was all directed at me b/c I wouldn't let him pull up all the turf on the field. Bedtime wasn't much better b/c he couldn't find an appropriate blanket to tuck his lizard in with. It was almost 9 by the time he fell asleep. I'm worried about this evening b/c of the lack of sleep and the grandparents will have to put him to bed as we head off to preschool orientation. And grandparents get him very keyed up.
On a good note - When he gets that crazy, "I'm gonna hurt someone" look in his eyes, he's running off to be alone and hiding behind the couch cushions instead of running at me with his fists and feet flailing. I think he might actually be learning some self-control! So, whether we're running late or not, I guess I'll just have to be thankful that he's finding the time and place to cool off instead of hurting me or his little brother.
Last Saturday, we had a party at Chuck E Cheese (his choice). He chose this venue because we had been there for another birthday party a couple months ago. The birthday child gets an inflatable crown with tokens and gets to try and catch tickets in a ticket blaster. He was VERY excited about getting in the ticket blaster. I knew VERY well that there was no way he'd actually do it. I wanted to give him the best possible shot at being able to do it, so we had them turn it on beforehand so he could see just how loud it was. He was still excited about it. They said Daddy could go in it with him. Once the time came, he insisted that Daddy go first, without him. He LOVED watching Daddy do it (and Daddy gots LOTS of tickets!). After Daddy was done, he managed to get himself in there with a terrified look on his face. They started it up and he begged to get out instantly. Luckily, the attendant turned it off very quickly when I told her to so that he didn't completely freak. I could see it in his eyes that if he was in there for 5 more seconds, he would have completely melted down. In the end, I was just super proud of him for trying, especially considering how he probably would not have even gone near it a couple years ago. It's hard, though, to know that your kid really wants to do something and just can't handle it.
Waiting for it to start
So, happy birthday to my sweet little boy! It's been a long road, but I feel like we're finally starting to understand you and how to help you be the best Brady you can be!
First of all, I'd like to apologize for being a horrible blogger lately! I keep thinking of post ideas, but haven't found the time to actually get them written.
We went to the beach with my family a few weeks ago. Brady absolutely LOVED the beach. Everything about it. He played in the sand, carried tons of buckets of water to the hole that was inevitably dug every day. Even splashed in the surf, and rode in the kayak with Daddy. My eyes kept seeing all the proprioceptive input he was getting all day long (which he never tired of), and I think it helped get him to do this -
Before this trip, it took all he had to just get his face in the water, but at the beach, he very easily jumped in from the side and dove for torpedos. It was amazing.
I couldn't help but think about the last time we were at this exact beach in this exact house - 3 years ago. Brady was almost 2 and I'd never even heard of SPD. I was reading "Raising Your Spirited Child" to help figure him out. It did help to some extent, btw. The one thing that sticks out most in my mind is how he reacted to the ocean. We were in the Outer Banks, where you have to walk up steps to go over the big sand dunes. You couldn't hear or see the ocean before you reached the top. And as soon as you reached the top with Brady, he'd start crying and screaming and trying to jump out of your arms back toward the house. It was crazy! Each day got a little better. I think it was the second or third day of trying to get him out there, as we were standing at the top of the stairs, he started saying "OFF!" while pointing out at the ocean. Aha! That's the problem, it was TOO LOUD! Too bad I couldn't fix that for him. So we spent a lot of time at the house, and towards the end of the week he could tolerate it enough to go and play in the sand with his cousins for awhile. I also remember some drinks getting splled b/c we were with people who weren't used to his craziness and would dare to leave a drink unattended within his reach, and a lot of food being thrown during the big family meals, and other people's food being pushed away if it got too close to his personal space. I remember him spending most of the meals with his booster seat up against the wall so that he couldn't reach anyone else's food and push it on the floor.
So, it was interesting to be back in the same house again, with an older Brady whom we now understand a bit more and Henry being about the same age Brady was the first time. With understanding what is behind a child's blowups, it is easier to diffuse them. I could see it in his eyes when he was about to get aggressive and could usually diffuse the situation, and he played wonderfully with his cousins at the house, the pool and the beach. It was also interesting to see how Henry did with it all. He loved the beach (unless sand touched his face) and the pool from the start, and left everyone's food alone. He had more meltdowns than normal, but I think that's to be expected at 2 years old.
Most people who know Brady love his sweet personality and love of life, not to mention his hilarious antics and funny quotes. He's very smart and wants to know everything about everything. He's a wonderful big brother, making sure Henry is ok when he cries, wanting him to play in his room with him, and teaching him how to do "big kid things". He tells us he loves us all the time. He loves his friends and makes them cards and wants them to come over all the time.
And then there's his other side. The side that slaps, kicks, scratches when you touch him to try to get his attention when he's ignoring you. The side that runs to attack you because you did something that he didn't like. The side that kicks you in the gut if you try to brush his skin or help put on his shoes when he's not in the mood. This side of Brady is starting to get scary when it shows up.
Brady has always been an aggressive kid. When he was a toddler, he was usually the first one to hit at playgroups and would run and tackle kids at his gym class. Sometimes, he'd be standing up for himself when someone took his toy and that was pretty normal for that age. But it was the times where it was completely out of the blue that were hard to handle. How do you help a kid "use their words" when you had no idea what he was trying to say? As he started talking better, things got better, at least in public, and when it did happen, I'd at least be able to see why it happened. As we learned about his SPD, I realized that he was doing these things at playgroups and gym class because he wanted to leave (that was usually the consequence) and couldn't tell me in an appropriate way. And then I felt guilty for putting him in those overstimulating situations.
We really persued the SPD diagnosis because he was having problems in 3yr old preschool. Whenever they lined up, he pushed and they dominoed. When another kid got into his personal space, they'd get a toy thrown in their face or pushed down or hit. After several months of OT, he did beautifully in 4 yr old preschool. We still had some problems here and there, it's just in his nature, but it was manageable. Then came the summer and a big increase in the aggression, most of it aimed at me.
We have just finished reading "The Exposive Child" and it has definitely helped with the predictible explosions, when I know that something is coming that might cause one. But usually the aggression comes out when someone does something that he wasn't expecting in his mind, or does it the wrong way. Or, if he doesn't want to do something that needs to be done, he'll either ignore me or talk over me. I used to be successful is getting him to listen if I touched his shoulders. But lately, he runs away from me, and if I'm successful in getting close to him, I get hit or kicked.
I just scheduled a new OT evaluation, but couldn't get in until the end of September! Grrr..... So, for now, I'm banking on a new dedication to his picture schedule, sensory diet, and just hoping that the routine of school in September helps to allow us to see the sweet, caring child that we all know he truly is.
Well, it happened once again. Not surprising to me at this point. I've been dealing with Brady being the playgroup bully since we started with playgroups. He's such a sweet, loving kid that I hate to think that other kids won't want to play with him because if he doesn't get his way they are likely to get hit, kicked, or pushed.
All the big kids went out to play on the playset and, as usual, it ended with a little girl coming to tell us that Brady hurt her. Apparently, there was a minor thing earlier where he hit a couple people. Then, later on, one of the girls come in with scrapes on her face. She said Brady kicked the door of the clubhouse in and hit her. Brady told me that they were being mean saying that he wasn't allowed to come in. I'm just getting really worried about him and his social skills. Everytime someone does something he doesn't want, he tries to get his way by kicking/hitting/pushing. I'm at a loss as to how to help him. He knows what he is supposed to do, but just can't do it in the heat of the moment. I'm scared no one is going to want to play with him anymore. He didn't seem to have these problems at preschool this year (but did the year before), so I'm hoping he'll do okay in Kindergarten in the fall. He's also become much more aggressive with me lately, and I don't really know how to handle it.
I don't know if it would help or not, but I'm thinking about calling to see if we can get back into some OT.
If anyone out there has dealt with this, please let me know what, if anything, helped.
Most days Brady seems like a typical rough and tumble little boy who has some quirks. But it's outings like this that remind me that he does have some "special needs." We've been wanting to see "Toy Story 3", but we were wondering if we should take Henry or not. He's still a bit young to sit still through a whole movie, and we wanted to try out Brady's new kid-sized earmuffs. So, the three of us headed to the free summer movie this morning - "Horton Hears a Who" which Brady has already seen multiple times. He's been to a couple movies before and was fine as long as we kept him out of the seating area until he got used to the loud sound, so I wasn't quite expecting the difficulties I had with him since he was now armed with earmuffs.
He insisted on having the earmuffs on before even going into the theater and it still took a lot of convincing to get him to walk in as he was scared of how dark it was and how loud it might be. Then, I had to hold my hand over his eyes off and on for about 40 minutes because he was scared of things looking like they were going to come out at him. I guess I should explain this fear by telling you that we made a horrible mistake in trying to go to the 4D movie at Busch Gardens a few weeks back. After two water squirts, he was curled up in a ball screaming "make it go away." So now he's scared of things coming at him from the movie screen. Poor kid.
I kept telling him we could leave if he wanted to and watch it at home, but he said he was too scared to walk down to the door b/c he'd have to get closer to the screen. It was a mess. Towards the end, he settled in and had some Goldfish and is still claiming that he loved going to the movie theater.
And all that was the easy part of the day. As we were leaving the theater a little girl bumped into him and spilled water on him. He had to hide until she was no longer in his site. Then he kept growling very loudly in the car, which made his brother do it as well, and then he cried for his earmuffs b/c it was too loud. Then we get home and had tantrum after tantrum over how I cut his sandwich (the way he originally asked, but then he changed his mind a second too late). After 5 minutes in his room, he was able to come and eat the heart-shaped sandwiches. After lunch he was a little better, but more argumentative than normal (which is very) and hitting and screaming when I don't let him do exactly what he wants.
He's in quiet time now, playing pretty nicely, so hopefully he'll be feeling better after some downtime.
And in case you were wondering, Henry did beautifully at the movie. Sat quietly through the whole thing, not getting upset until I picked him up to leave!
Shopping with Brady in tow is always an adventure. At the grocery store, Brady still likes to get into the little car carts, but he's constantly hanging his head out the side trying to talk to me and yelling to me about everything we just have to buy because he's never had it before or he's seen it on TV. And at Target, he's usually just grabbing things or at least touching everything.
Well, yesterday, he had a blast at Target. It really was pretty funny. Apparently, he needed some proprioceptive input and he actually found decently acceptable ways to get it! We got one of those carts that has the two seats attached to handle side, but he didn't want to sit there for long. For most of the trip, he pretended that the cart was a runaway train. He'd stop and have me walk ahead and then he'd run and jump onto the seat. He had a great time and entertained some of the other shoppers as well. When we had to stop and look at something, he had a horrible time trying to be still and stop talking so I could think, but once we were moving again, he was fine. At the end of the trip, we had to stand and wait for some pictures I had printed. Instead of bugging me too much, he found a new way to get some proprioceptive input -
And after all that, he was able to calmly decorate the frame we had bought for Father's Day. Even when he didn't do something quite like he had planned, there was no meltdown, he just decided that Daddy would still like it. Usually if he makes a mistake, he'll have to start over no matter how minor the problem. We were dealing with permanent markers and I was scared, but he did beautifully!
At almost 5 years old, I would've thought he'd be better about dealing with this by now. Brady comes up with a plan, and if it has to be changed or interuppted, he acts like the world is ending.
Ever since he could communicate, he's been very firm in what he wants. It used to be that a certain person had to get his drink for him, or his sandwich had to be cut a certain way. If you didn't meet his expectations (whether he had told you about them or not), he'd have a fit. It wasn't all that surprising when he was a "terrible two-year-old", but now it's getting really old. He has the words to tell us what he wants and he should have to patience to deal with things if they don't go according to plan.
His poor daddy gets the brunt of this because I know most of his little games and plans and the way he likes things done, but Daddy isn't always in the loop. Two recent examples:
First - When we open the garage door and light pours in, Brady pretends it is fire. He freezes on the stairs until the door is completely open and then has to walk around the light patches on the floor because they'll "burn" him. Major meltdown when Daddy tries to make him finish down the stairs before the door is done opening. And by meltdown, I mean pushing Daddy back up the stairs trying to hit and kick, then running back inside crying for 5 minutes before we could coax him to come back outside to the car. Daddy had NO idea what he did wrong.
Second - On the way to dinner last night, Brady decides he wants us to sit on either side of Henry, and Daddy on the other side of the table. I told him Daddy would want to sit with them, but that is not acceptable in his mind. We get to the restaurant where we're meeting Daddy and Daddy picks up Henry, sits him down in the booth and slides in next to him. Brady starts bawling. After a couple minutes, we manage to calm him down so he can tell Daddy his plan and we figure something out that's agreeable to all. He sometimes calms down fairly quickly, but I don't know how to help him not have the emotional outburst in the first place..
I'm just wondering if/when/how Brady will learn that people can't read his mind so he needs to use his words instead of crying/hitting/kicking/running away when someone does something he wasn't planning on and if/when/how he'll be able to handle a change in plans or do what other people want to do instead.
All that and ..... I really wish he'd stop being so rude to people that try to open or hold the door open for us. He's my designated doorman, but other people don't know that and they are just trying to be polite. Even Daddy forgets sometimes and he gets an earful when that happens.
Thursday morning, we went to the zoo with some friends, then went out to lunch. We all decided to head to Johnny Rocketts, where we've never been before. As soon as Brady walked in, he got a terrified look on his face and covered his ears. One of his friends tried to hand him a pack of crayons and Brady kicked them out of his hands. We stayed for a few minutes to see if he could get used to it, but he couldn't. I felt so bad b/c he kept saying he wanted to eat there, but he just couldn't handle it. So we all walked to McD's.
Fast forward to today. We got a coupon for a free shake from the same restaurant, and I thought it might be good to try it out again when we weren't with a bunch of people and have had a calmer morning. He did great! He was scared at first, but knew a milkshake was in his future so we were able to distract him and he got used to it fairly quickly. I was so happy for him to conquer the loud restaurant!
I don't know if it was an after-effect of the loud restaurant (since he seemed to handle it so well), but he was constantly in and out of quiet time this afternoon. And he wanted to come to the store with me this afternoon to get some papers laminated (I'll leave what I'm doing with those to another post). Major issues just trying to get out the door. He just doesn't get it that there is limited time in a day. He kept going back to playing when I told him we needed to leave. Then I'd threaten to leave without him and he'd freak out. He finally got shoes on, then realized he had wanted some cherries for snack and started crying when I told him he'd have to find something he could eat in the car instead. I can't remember how I managed to get him out to the car, but I did, even though I knew it probably wouldn't be a pleasant shopping trip. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to do any of his "exercises" before heading out.
First stop - OfficeMax. He got a little upset that they wouldn't let him help laminate the papers, but I distracted him with some little card holders on the counter. Then we had to go find the velcro. He found crayons that he didn't want to give up. Once I wrestled those away, he started head-butting me as we walked down the aisle. It got worse as I tried to figure out what I needed to buy. When I squatted down to talk to him, he jumped up and his head went straight into my nose. OUCH! We then had to stop at Babies R Us. He did alright in that he didn't start to head-butt again, but he had to touch every single thing he walked past and knocked lots of things down. At least he cleaned everything up without too much hassle.
I really need to stop trying to take this kid out in the afternoon, especially when we haven't done a very good job with the sensory diet for the day.
Yesterday was Brady's very last day of preschool, so I lined up a sitter for Henry so that I could spend some one-on-one with my rising Kindergartner! We went out to lunch, then to the mall play area, then to the post office and bank (b/c they are near the mall), then to Target, then to pick up Henry. We also happened to have a birthday party to go to for two of the boys' cousins. So, we got home at 4:30 and had to wrap presents, eat dinner, and head back out by 5:30. Stayed at the party to almost 8. Both boys are usually in bed by then.
For the most part, I enjoyed the afternoon with Brady, but it was exhausting. He did pretty well with all the stimulation, but by the ride home that night, he literally could not stop talking. He even ran out of things to say and started singing a nonsense song.
I have to say that I'm grateful to know how to help him with overstimulating situations. After lunch, we went and played at the play area. I let him jump off the equipment as long as no one was close enough to get hurt, I let him skip down the mall, I let him climb the pole at the post office, and touch everything we walked past at Target. I really never thought I'd actually encourage my kid to do most of these things in public, but I can see such a difference when I let him do them. He used to start spinning, running and hiding, crashing into me, falling on the floor, and trying to pull me down by the end (or at the beginning) of a shopping trip. So, to me, skipping down the aisle w/in a reasonable distance from me and touching every item on the shelf is much more acceptable behavior. I really think we're both figuring out how to get the input he needs in a decently appropriate way.
Oh, and giving him my sunglasses when we forgot his rather than trying to get him to walk out into the daylight w/out protection. He looked pretty funny, but I was so glad I had something to give him b/c he was refusing to step out of the shade w/out them.
Before we went back out to the birthday party, I convinced him to let me do joint compressions and it's amazing how calm he gets while I do those. I almost thought he was going to fall asleep. At the party he did pretty well, but had a hard time sitting through the present opening. He was banging his head into his dad's chest and pushing on his brother with his feet. But once he could get up and moving again, he played pretty nicely. We did have a few hugs are were too tight for the little girls, but I was proud of him for not taking a running and leaping start into the hug, which he has been known to do.
I guess this just shows how crazy this SPD thing can be!
Brady asked me this morning for water in a straw cup, kind of strange for him. I gave it to him, and he drank a little, but then proceeded to chew on the straw. I told him he couldn't chew on the straw b/c it'll break. He understood that, but kept asking what he could chew on. After school, I found him chewing/sucking on a finger. Then, later he was eating yogurt and kept twirling the spoon around in his mouth and chewing on it.
So I went online and ordered him some chew sticks to have around.
The weird thing is that he hasn't chewed on anything like this in over a year! I remember back when we were first figuring all this out, he was chewing on his fingers alot. But he hasn't done it since we started OT, so it was a surprise this morning. I was always glad that he didn't chew on things, so I hope this phase will go quickly because it's just gross. I'm guessing it'll stop by the time the chew sticks arrive.
It's really crazy how their little sensory systems can change things up so much from day to day.
I didn't realize that W sitting was really a problem until his OT told us to discourage it on our very first visit. I recently did some online research and it really explained how Brady's constant W sitting was caused by balance problems, and also made his problems worse. I've been scrapbooking pictures from 2008 lately, the year he turned 3, and in every single picture that he was sitting in, he was W sitting. When we first started trying to get him to stop, he really had a hard time sitting any other way. It's funny that a position that I figured was just a preference was actually hurting his development of balance and he was doing it because he wasn't stable enough to sit any other way. But now, over a year after starting to work with him on it, it's still his default sitting position, although he'll go easily to another position when reminded. Will he ever get out of this habit?
Our other issue that hasn't gotten much better is the toe walking. It's almost like he can't think if he's not on his toes. The harder he's trying to get out what he's trying to say, the more he wanders around on his toes. When he should be standing still, he's actually up on his toes kind of teetering around. It's mostly when he's barefoot, so hopefully he doesn't do it too much at school. I'm worried that kids are going to start making fun of him because he's getting a bit big for it.
I just can't help wondering how much longer I'm going to have to constantly be saying things like, "We don't sit like that," "legs", "fix your legs", "watch how you're sitting," and "heels down."
Poor Brady has been wanting to start taking showers off and on for a while now, but has been scared because he hates getting water in his face. We tried to do one a couple months ago, and it did not go well, even with a swimming mask. He wanted to try one again tonight. It was still hard, but we got through it and by the end, he was closing his eyes and putting most of his head in the water. We even washed his body AND hair!!
It started off with us trying to figure out the water temperature. Brady likes his baths to be lukewarm, and there is a very narrow window of "correct" temperature. So getting the right temp from the faucet up to the shower was an ordeal and I almost gave up before he was barely even wet. Once we figured that out, he decided he liked the water on his back, so we started soaping him up. We had a few problems rinsing his front side, and moreso once it was time to get his hair wet, but he got through it. There was a lot of screaming for his towel to wipe his eyes. He said his eyes burn when they get water in them. Poor kid. His towel, and me, and the floor, were all quite wet before it was all done, but I'm so proud of him for getting back in there. At one point, he got some water on his face and said "I'm kind of fine, but I want my towel." He was trying to be so brave.
He was so incredibly excited and proud of himself for this accomplishment that I'm so glad I was able to keep my patience and help him get through all his fears and burning eyes. I hope this continues because I hear showers are a lot quicker than baths for kids.
I can't believe this day is finally here. It's been on my calendar for almost a year, and it's finally here!
I took Brady out of preschool a little early today and took him out to lunch before we went to register. He told me that they hadn't gone outside at school yet, so that was worrisome. To get some exercise, I asked him to do 20 jumps while we waited in line, and of course he didn't stop there. At lunch, he acted up the whole time we were there, couldn't decide what he wanted (even though he ALWAYS get the pizza), whined A LOT, spilled his milk (thank goodness not much got on him b/c I'm out of extra clothes in the car), and kicked his shoes off. I was worried. So when we finally got back in car, I did joint compressions and talked about behaving at the school and listening to the teacher. He was excited to go and told me he'd behave. When we got there, we had to wait in line, a short one thankfully. He kept pulling on me and trying to swing and jump around. Nearly pulled my arm out of the socket. Luckily, he took my suggestion of coloring the pages they had out for the kids. Once he got involved in that, he did fantastic. And did wonderfully on the testing. I think he was excited to tell the teacher everything he knew.
We went out for ice cream afterwards and then stayed and let him run back and forth on the sidewalk area for awhile. I'm so glad that this day is over and everything went reasonably well. So, I guess he's definitely starting next year! He's so excited and I'm very nervous.
I really don't know if this an spd thing, a Brady thing, or just a boy thing, but having friends or family over to visit causes the children to go WILD. I really wish I could take Brady out of the equation and see how the other kids behave. Brady gets soooooo excited to have people over to our house that he just can't stand it. When we tell him someone's coming there's lots of jumping up and down and squealing, followed by asking every five minutes when they're going to get here. And once they arrive and the "hi"s are said, Brady proceeds to RUN around the house, sometimes bouncing off the furniture. And the other kids follow suit, most likely b/c they aren't allowed to do that at home.
With all the fun toys and games we have, all the kids want to do is run around the house. And throw things at each other.
Ok, so they don't always throw things at each other, but when my husband decides to blow up a beach ball right before guests arrive, they do. We had 3 boys and a girl over for dinner last night. For most of the evening, they all ran around throwing the ball at each other, hiding from each other, etc. The little girl would take breaks to play quietly with Henry, which was great, but they'd eventually join the fun. We did manage to get the craziness outside for a little while right before and after dinner, which gave the adults a much needed break. We have a fenced in yard, so we could just watch from the peaceful house. Only problem - poor Henry couldn't join them w/out an adult and none of us adults were in the mood to go out there. So he just sat at the screen door watching all the big kids. Luckily, he didn't get as upset as I expected.
So, I'm really wondering how playdates go when Brady isn't involved. I have visions of the kids doing some imaginary play, some games, maybe a little bit of running around. But maybe not, guess I won't really know until Henry gets to be Brady's age and have playdates without Brady around.
This also poses a problem when we have kids over that have a "no running in the house" rule at home. The other mom is constantly reminding their kid to stop running, and I apologize, trying to explain that I gave up on that a long time ago b/c Brady just doesn't know how to walk unless he's in a line at school (and even that didn't really happen until after several weeks of OT). So, the rule in our house is no socks if you're going to be running.
Brady has his first t-ball game today. Actually, it's called Blastball. They only have one base (which squeaks when you step on it) and the fielders just have to get the ball and yell "Blast". Hoping it all goes well. At the "orientation/practice", he was determined to always get the ball and all the kids tackled each other and fought for the ball. Hope it goes better today. We tried to have a practice last weekend, but only half the team showed up. The team is only 6 players, and one of the kids that showed up wanted nothing to do with it. Should be fun, and hopefully no one will get hurt.
I'd have to say yesterday was our hardest day in a long while. For some reason, I thought I'd try to do something spontaneous because Henry fell asleep in the car while Brady was at preschool. I knew he wouldn't be able to take an afternoon nap after that and both boys desperately needed new shoes. The best shoe store in town is 30 minutes away, so it's hard to find the time to get over there. So, Henry slept for 30 minutes in the car, we picked Brady up from preschool, went out to lunch, and then headed for the store. Lunch went fine, but took a lot longer than it should have b/c we ran into the boys' grandparents right when we had finished. Brady was still hungry and they offered to buy him another sandwich, so we stayed for almost an hour longer than we should have. Brady is used to having quiet time in his room every afternoon, but we sometimes skip it if we have other things going on. Yesterday showed me what NOT to do in lieu of quiet time.
We get to the store and Brady tells the lady that he has to have light up shoes. My only requirement is no laces. Poor girl searched all the brands for a light up pair in his size, but they had none, so he didn't want to get anything at first. While she was looking, the boys started unshelving their display of stuffed animals. I was ok with that at first b/c it was keeping them occupied and I knew they'd clean it up when they were done. But then Brady started, as I should have expected, throwing the animals at the ceiling, and I couldn't get him to stop. Once we managed to get the first pair of shoes was on his feet, he had to run across the store b/c the lady asked him to walk for her. And then he wouldn't stop. And then his brother started copying him. He got completely out of control and I should have just left, but we had a whole pile of shoe possibilities sitting there and it's so hard to get to this store. So we stayed. And things got worse. He refused to even try on the sandals, and when he put a pair of tennis shoes on, he'd pull them right back off saying they felt funny. The final pair, I managed to get him to keep on long enough to have them checked and told they fit him great. But then he said he didn't like them and tried to pull them off. I set a timer for 3 minutes and told him he had to keep them on until the timer went off. By the end of the 3 minutes, he loved them! Mission accomplished after way too much "Brady, please stop running." "Brady, please stop throwing." "Brady watch out for your brother!" "Brady, where did you go?" "Brady, please stop climbing on me" "Brady, just leave them on for a minute to see if they fit." "Brady, don't you want a balloon? 1, 2.."
All of this took over an hour, and I was so drained. Halfway thru it, I realized that joint compressions might help. They did, but only for a little while. I felt like the other customers were giving me dirty looks thinking these kids just needed some discipline. I wanted to tell them all that he was in sensory overload and just couldn't control himself. And little brother just wants to be like big brother.
I know shoe shopping for kids can be hard under any circumstances, but this was just horrible. He's usually pretty good looking for shoes, but I guess he was just "off" today and couldn't get it together. And little brother copied his craziness.
I really don't know what I was thinking trying to just up and do something productive.
Thank goodness he slept in today, and we have nowhere to go, so I'm hoping for a better day!
I'm a stay at home mom to two boys, Brady and Henry. My oldest, Brady, 5 years old, has some "sensory issues" that make life a bit more difficult than it is for others. I'm hoping I can keep up with this blog as I'd like to use it as a journal for myself, but also possibly help others out there struggling with the same problems. The youngest, Henry, is 2.5 years old, and seems to be much more mild-mannered than his brother, but also loves to copy him, which can lead to some crazy days.