Just when things were looking up, we’re (almost) back to where we started. Sometimes it feels like just when Cameron is starting to “outgrow” his SPD symptoms (does that even happen or is it just wishful thinking???) he ends up right where we left off.
Let me start by saying that things in our house have been out-of-sorts lately. My husband, Jon, is in a part-time, yet intense, Masters program, Cameron is in swimming two or three nights weekly, Jon is working extra nights and weekends to make up for time missed for his Masters program, and I am going crazy trying to become an extreme couponer by taking advantage of double coupon days and clipping more than I ever have (no worries, though… I’m not hoarding cases of aluminum foil and toilet paper anywhere in my home), working full time more than 30 minutes from home, planning a trip abroad for my students, helping with an extracurricular club at school, exercising, flossing, reading to my children, trying to be a good friend, sleeping, cleaning, and the list goes on. I’m not complaining, I’m simply explaining what has been going on around here to cause the SPD behaviors to come back in full force.
One of the first resurfaced SPD behaviors is his speech. When Cameron talks to us, but naturally not to anyone else in the world, he struggles to get his thoughts all the way out. Seriously, Jon and I think we are crazy because no one else experiences Cameron’s laborious task of speaking like we do. It’s been something we’ve noticed for quite awhile, but it is getting worse. Every sentence he tries to say to us stops four or five words into it, takes a 5-10 second pause (it doesn’t sound like a lot, but try counting that out while you’re talking to someone), starts from the beginning, pauses again… Repeats process. I am so frustrated for him, and I asked him if everything is okay because he is having such a hard time talking, but he didn’t have any reasons for it (duh, Mom, my life is upside-down).
While he’s always bossy with his sister, Cameron has become so incessantly bossy that I literally cannot stand the sound of his voice because all that ever comes out of it is negativity. If he isn’t bossing her around, he’s complaining about anything and everything. And when his complaining doesn’t get him what he is so clearly entitled to (which it never has and never will, but still this seems to be a giant shock to him each and every time), he cries. And then he keeps crying.
While all of our house changes are clearly causing Cameron distress, they are doing the same to me. My coping skills and patience are nearly non-existent. Which leads to the straw the broke this camel’s back.
Accidents. The kind found in underwear. They’re back. To be completely honest, I do not check every pair of underwear that I throw in the laundry because I am scared that I’ll see what I don’t want to see. I know there are some accidents thrown in here or there, but they are minor enough to ignore. I have dealt with so, so, so many accidents, that I simply cannot deal anymore without getting emotional about them. Case in point, when I found a surprise while doing laundry recently, I was quite angry—not because of the accident, but because I found it when I went to pick up clothes to throw into the washer. Ick. Then later the same day, when a strong smell hit me in the bathroom where a certain bather’s clothes were, and I asked if there had been an accident, receiving the good old, “I don’t know… Did I?” as a response, I was even angrier. However, I did not share this with the bather, I simply explained that I also didn’t know if he’d had this potential accident, because the underwear in question were boxers, and I couldn’t tell if there was an accident or a self-care issue at hand. I calmly walked out of the bathroom, shut the door, and swore like a Marine raised in a trailer park of truck drivers.
Then I cried. This seems to be a theme in these blog posts. This time I cried because I feel like I did back on his very first day of life. See, breastfeeding was so excruciatingly painful for me that every time I held my beautiful baby boy, I was forced to recoil in pain literally almost as bad as the labor I’d gone through to bring him into this world. But every time other people held him, they were given the gift of being able to goggle at him with adoration and love that every baby should have, without thinking about what he was about to do to them. I started to resent this innocent being because he was torturing me. That’s when we switched up the feeding plan a little so I could love him without fearing him. The way I felt then is the way I’ve been feeling lately. Grandmas and grandpas are prevalent in our lives, and they get to see him for the incredible kid he really is; they get to have his snuggles, his humor, his passionate nature, and his love. I get to nag him. I feel like all I ever do is nag that kid, and I feel horrible.
This week, when Cameron brought home eight pages of math with corrections to be made and one page to be completed (he had been distracted in school, so his teacher sent home what he wasn’t doing there), my husband asked the question that I was thinking. “Do you think we should get him on meds?” Neither of us want this. We will try anything before we do this, but his behavior is starting to affect his schooling, his relationships, etc, and frankly, we don’t know if it’s all SPD or if there is ADHD mixed in with it, after all.
Well, instead of calling up the doctor to get a prescription, I ordered a new book I had recently read about, Cure Your Child With Food by Kelly Dorfman. I started reading it immediately, and opened to the chapter about SPD, only to find a checklist of behaviors typical of children with SPD, in addition to nutritional suggestions. It said that if your child has three or more of the behaviors on the list, he/she may have SPD. I read the list to Cameron, and we both laughed pretty hard at the fact that he had 11 out of 12 of the behaviors that I read to him. It is always reassuring to read about more kids like Cameron with puzzle pieces that don’t necessarily fit together so perfectly.
So, what are we going to do now? Well, the book says that kids like Cameron need supplements: Omega-3 Acids, Vitamin E, and Phosphatidylcholine. We do give Cameron Omega-3, but we ran out a while ago, and I just keep forgetting to buy more. This could be another reason why we’ve seen the spike in SPD behaviors. Other than that, we plan to start Occupational Therapy again, but we need to wait for summer to add anything more to our plates. I also made a flow chart of weeknight expectations so he won’t be surprised; it seems to be helping.
Tomorrow will be a trip to the store to buy the supplements that may help him. I’ll keep you posted on whether or not they work. Until then, I’m working really hard to fix my own attitude by reading up (more) on SPD with the book Raising a Sensory Smart Child by Lindsey Biel and Nancy Peske and by reminding myself of how to be a happier parent with one of my favorites, Raising Happiness by Christine Carter. How do I find time to read right now? The dishes don’t get done and the laundry doesn’t get folded. And I’m not sorry about it.
One more thing… It turns out that the bather mentioned earlier did, indeed, know he’d had an accident in his pants that time, and had lied about it. Lying seems to be the first response to any question asked these days. It also doesn’t seem to show up on any of the checklists for SPD. Hmmmmm. Suggestions on stopping this unwanted behavior are welcome!