Welcome to My Corner of the World

I hope you find humor, inspiration and something worthwhile on this blog. I plan to be as candid as possible. Life is hard. I know, I've overcome a lot (and still have a way to go).
It doesn't help others if the rough things are glossed over.

I will no doubt fill this blog with stories of my achievements as a mom as well as my personal struggles.

I have an incredible husband whom I call "my sanity." I have two great kids with strong personalities. I struggle with anxiety and depression and I have had a colorful childhood.

I also have an addiction to Gilmore Girls, A&W Cream Soda, and Starbucks peppermint mocha.
I have recently added biking to my list of hobbies and also love to read, knit, and play tennis.

Welcome to my little corner of the world!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

OT Evaluation, oh the emotions!

  So today was the big day. A had her evaluation with an occupational therapist. It went really well, but not as I expected.
  I was ready to schedule at least 3 months of OT, get some answers, feel validated and have a "diagnosis" (SPD is still not a diagnosis, but they're working on getting it recognized as such).
  As it was I got answers...and that was "all." The OT (Kathy) was great. I feel like she did her job well, even though the outcome wasn't what I initially wanted.
  Basically A does have some sensory sensitivities. Kathy showed me how to do the Wilbarger skin brushing technique with A. I will take 3 minutes or so (perhaps longer since Bug decided he wants me to do it with him too!) to use a special brush and brush the skin on A's arms, hands, back, legs and feet. I will follow that by doing joint compressions on her wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, knees and hips. Essentially this will help desensitize her skin and her over responsivity.
  We should notice that A's tolerance for tags, shoes, socks and having her hair combed will be much greater. Yay!
  Another thing that has been driving me and my husband crazy is A's inability to keep her chair still at the dinner table. She tips it on its side legs constantly and is up and down and all over the place in it.    Kathy pointed out that when someone who is sensitive to where her body is in space isn't able to put her feet flat on a firm surface while sitting, it's really very unsettling for her.
  The solution: a step/foot stool to rest her feet on! So simple and yet so wonderful!
  Kathy even addressed A's picking tendencies. Of course it makes sense that they're sensory related! 
  The places A picks at are the nape of her neck and her upper arms. Those are places that are frequently tickled (which is a negative sensation to A) by little hairs, shirt sleeves, or even collars.  Hopefully the Wilbarger brushing will help that too.
  We've already come a long way on our own, and I am very confident in saying that A would definitely qualify for therapy if we hadn't parented her the way we have. However, since we've covered so much ground over the past few years, Kathy was pretty sure that A more than likely won't qualify.
  At first I was crushed! There are enough people in my life right now who are wonderful people, but who just don't see the SPD. They either don't see the meltdowns or they think firmer parenting on my end would help. I have found myself feeling a bit isolated lately because I know SPD is right! I feel the need to make everyone see it so they can be on my side.
  I started thinking about getting a second opinion.
  Then reality started to set it.
  First of all this evaluation wasn't a ton of fun for A. Sure she got to play and loved that, but there was also work involved. There were questions to be answered and things to trace, draw and cut. Why would I want to make her go through that again?
  Then there's the fact that no matter where we go, the tests will all be the same and will be scored the same way.
  Then I started questioning my true motive. Why did I desperately want my child to be in therapy?    
  Apart from the fact that I truly thought she'd benefit from it, I was hopeful that once I had a doctor and an occupational therapist supporting me those who were doubtful would see that it's not all in my head. I would feel validated.
  Unfortunately the tests didn't show what I've gone through over the past 5 years with A. If she actually tested and qualified for OT, though, it would prove that what I've endured and slogged through was real. It would show that it wasn't bad parenting or a difficult kid or a mommy who couldn't handle stress, after all.
  How selfish is that?!
  So I changed my point of view. I am a mommy. My job is doing what's best for my family and right now that means doing what's best for A.   Is pushing for another evaluation (especially one that would probably end up the same way) going to benefit her? No. It's not fair to A.
  When I listen to reason I can see that I did get validation--Kathy acknowledged that there are sensory issues and gave me some strategies to deal with them. She gave me her personal cell phone number and e-mail address so I can talk to her when/if something else crops up.
  If there are people who don't buy into it, they wouldn't have "bought" it even if A needed OT and had a diagnosis.
  And, A got the right amount of help she needed. We'll do the skin brushing and joint compressions. We'll get her a step stool. I'll keep reading and learning. We'll make special adjustments when needed.
  We're in a good place. I won't mess with that (and yes, I will definitely be keeping this post handy to remind myself of my non-meddling clause I just established).


Friday, March 16, 2012

Books, books, books!

I went to a used book store today and boy did I have a great time!
I was looking through the parenting section for a few SPD books I wanted. Even though I didn't find the two books I was looking for, I did find six others that sound good.
None of them deal with SPD, but it certainly won't hurt to read them.
As I looked back through my stack I noticed a theme: self esteem. That's one thing I think A has lacked throughout her life (all 5 years of it). She used to act like a dog that got beaten all the time. When I would get onto her she would cower. I was not prone to yelling (neither is her daddy). And sure we spank, but we never used it to threaten her with and we barely had to use it as a form of discipline because she minded us so well.
Even now she still has a very obvious comfort zone when it comes to people. She doesn't like to ask certain people for something or even tell them things. Just recently she accidentally threw her plastic plate in the trash at lunch. She wanted to tell me, but refused to do it with her daddy listening. It was an accident! She wasn't even remotely close to getting in trouble and yet she would only tell me in private!
So many of A's behaviors can be attributed to her SPD, but there are also many things that would have been part of her even without the SPD. I'm pretty sure this is one of those things. She would just naturally have been more timid than other kiddos.
It's certainly something I think she's improving on. Used to she would only meltdown for me and was perfect around everyone else. On one hand, that's every parent's dream: everyone thinking your kid is a perfect angel. On the other hand, however, I wanted other people to see what I had to deal with! I wanted someone else to see how hard it was to parent A. There were many times during her meltdowns that I would be tempted to call my husband or best friend just to let them hear what I dealt with on a regular basis (there were a few times I actually made those calls)! I think that her new found boldness is a result of her becoming more confident and comfortable with who she is. Yay!
Unfortunately I am not a naturally optimistic person and depression runs rampant on both sides of her family tree, so teaching A optimism is not something that I will be able to model well for her. If I can change the way I think (something I've worked on in counseling) and thus help change the way Ava thinks then she's already years ahead of other people!
So today as I saw these titles about self esteem and raising positive, optimistic kids I just couldn't pass them up!
I want to be an advocate for A. I want to be able to be her voice when she is too young or too intimidated to be able to speak up for herself. I also want her to learn how to be an advocate for herself.
I'm looking forward to having a better outlook on life and now I have more motivation--it's not just for me, it's for A too!