Friday, August 27, 2010

Up, Down, Catch 22

Yesterday morning I wrote the "Shenanigans" post.  Everything's great, la la la la.  I think I set myself up for disaster, sometimes, you know?

We went to his auditory therapy appointment, where his new teacher met us to observe, and it was the holy grail of disaster.  While he is tolerating being bilateral again, he is extremely sensitive at times.  It comes out of no where.  His first major meltdown came after both myself and his therapist praised him.  Apparently we were too loud, because it set him off like a fire alarm.  Between a combination of giving him some quiet time, then holding him, then showing him his absolute.all.time.favorite.auditory.therapy.time.toy, he calmed. But then go upset again when we took said toy away, because it has lights and spins and in his rough state we knew he'd stim on it.  Stim on it?  Focus solely on that toy, stare at it and ignore the rest of the world.

While he was screaming, I found myself in yet another Catch 22.  I knew if I took his coils off, he'd stop crying, thats what he wanted.  We are in  very delicate stage right now in that we don't want to develop a dislike for hearing the world, or be in pain, but we don't want him to think he can just take them off whenever he wants and get his way.  This is where the "AJ whats wrong...Mama my ear hurt" would come in really handy.  I found myself getting worked up, and embarrassed.  I know the teacher who came to observe, but I always get nervous when someone is around AJ for the first go around.  I would be a bit intimidated if I had a child I was observing and he was screaming bloody murder, wouldn't you?  This teacher has been around AJ several times now, so I know better, and perhaps I am not giving her enough credit.  But in the moment, I felt myself getting rather worked up and frustrated while I was holding my son, trying to calm him.  This is the Mom feels helpless routine. 

We kept plodding away with activities and eventually AJ participated, begrudginly at first, but then gave in.  We kept our voices calm and cool and continued on.  He did do some great listening skills that day. 

We wrapped up the session to give AJ's therapist and the teacher a chance to talk.  I joined the conversation, where I shared his "OOOO" for "ON" and "AH" during ma-ma-ma.  His teacher could tell his body language changed, showing he understood when we'd say "bye-bye" to a toy and he'd look over at his therapist, anticipating the bucket to appear from behind her.   From sitting next to him, we saw him pause and look.  He participated in a bit more of vocal play this time around.  The joint consensus: AJ is inconsistent. Big surprise right?  This makes it very difficult to figure out exaclty what AJ can do.  Is he vocalizing with intent?  Is his imitating? 

We left the appointment and made an impromptu stop at the park to meet up with a friend, where AJ proceeded to have a meltdown about the swings.  I let him swing for a few minutes and then took him out to see if he would enjoy those rock-back-and-forth-horse-things-on-springs at the park.   He screamed bloody murder.  A full all out tantrum. After he calmed a bit, we eventually went back on the swings for a short while and he crashed out cold in the car on the way home. While he enjoys swinging, it also causes him to loose where his body is in space.  Its very odd.  I would have thought since he loves the vestibular movement, it would do just the opposite.  Nope.  We will keep trying, and hopefully each time he will learn to calm himself.  I do know that we can longer swing him for long bouts of time, just because he likes it so much. 

We zoomed on over to school for "Meet the Teacher Night".  I can't believe how much is classmates have grown.  It was great to meet a new parent, who was the carbon copy of me last year.  So nervous about her kiddo attending school for the first time.  It was nice to be on the other side of the fence and calm her nerves, at least a little bit.  We met some of AJ's new classmates and I got some clarity as to how this year is going to work.  Very exciting stuff! 

We left, due to AJ going into "Mom its loud and I can't take it" mode, and the car ride home was intense.  I think I was coming off of a nervous-high intensity day for me and AJ was tired, hungry, and of course, trying to tell me by whining.  I sort of barrelled through the door when I got home and Jeremy knew he was on duty for a moment, or three, while I took some time just for me. 

I hadn't realized how nervous I had become about AJ returning to school.  I know he'll do fine.  But I still get nervous.  I know the potential this kid has, and I become frustrated when something or even AJ himself stands in his own way! Knowledge is power, and up until yesterday, I didn't have all the pieces.  Heaven forbid. 

I was upset about his therapy session early in the day.  While I know today is a new day and yesterday is behind me, I was still frustrated about that session.  Not at AJ, but at the fact he got a blasted ear canal infection at the worst possible time, in the worst possible ear, and is having the worst possible (in our opinion) time bouncing back from it.  We have done all this hard work boosting his auditory skills and it sort of is, down the drain.  I know, dramatic, but true.  As we were walking out, his therapist and I were both really bummed about his sensitivity to sound right now.  We don't even have enough to say whether what we are doing is working/not working, in regards to whether we should continue therapy or not.  So we decided to keep plugging away, and will continue therapy into the school year.  While this makes both Jeremy and I extremely excited, the reasoning behind it made me sad.

I took a long shower and settled into the couch with the "your kid is starting school" packets we received last night.  I love paperwork!  As I read, I watched my boys wrestle and watch the Packer Game.  It was the perfect end to a very hectic day.

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