The Faithful Scribbler

A Catholic Mother In A Secular World

A Long Overdue Update

on February 22, 2011

We here at the Faithful Scribbler would like to apologize for our long absence from the blogosphere! There have been a never ending, overwhelming, exaughsting string of events that have left me completely tapped out on both time and motivation for blogging.

First up– The Auditor is considering a new job he was tentatively offered. Many pros and cons lists have been drafted. Much discussion has ensued. Many sleepless nights of agonizing internal debating, tossing and turning and ‘what if?-ing’…and still no decision. The position would be newly created especially for him, and as yet, nothing formal has been offered. All that emotional energy wasted!

Second– Please pray for our nephew, aged 13, who has just decided that he may in fact be bisexual. He also went through a two day stretch of threatening suicide on the internet last week, necessitating me calling his mother at midnight and waking her up to deal with it. He’s got a laundry list of emotional problems, and from what I can discern (because I am Judgey McJudgerson) not much support or stability at home.

Third– My brother’s wife is having a baby!! But we’re not allowed to tell anybody yet because she’s not yet out of the first trimester, so I’m sitting over here stewing with all this baby excitement, crocheting tiny hats and sweaters in a variety of colors, until such time as this issue can be thoroughly discussed and explored. I WANT TO BUY BABY CLOTHES FOR MY NEICE-PHEW ALREADY!!!! Sigh. A few more weeks! :)

Fourth– The Scribbler Adoption Saga continues. We met with Catholic Charities for a second time, got a second round of paperwork, and are pressing forward. The average wait time with their agency is about one year from the time your homestudy is approved, but we are very aware that it could be much faster, or much much slower, than one year. We’ve had a little hiccup in how we’re going to pay for the homestudy (our tax refund isnt what we thought it would be because we owe the state of Maryland for municpal taxes…sigh) but we’re pressing forward anyway as of this time. Once our homestudy is done, we will continue exploring financing options. Frankly, researching financing options is pretty much how I’ve spent the last several weeks, and there are some promising programs that I’m hoping we’ll be able to work with!

I’ve already got the “nesting” instinct kicking hard, and I’m anxious to set up the crib and dig out Little Scribbler’s old baby clothes and sort through them, etc etc. I’m pretty sure this instinct is driving my husband to the verge of insanity :)

The Little Scribbler is not terribly excited about the prospect of becoming a big sister, so we’re treading lightly in that area.

Fifth– and most importantly– the Little Scribbler is having a pretty hideous time of things right now. Her bahaviors have increased to the point that some of her functionality in the world is compromised. Lots of tantruming, lots of erratic behavior, lots of aggression. About two weeks ago, we had a conference at school because of the issues occuring in the classroom, which include not just the Little Scribbler, but three other preschoolers as well. The school psychologist is going to be spending time in the classroom to try to develop behavior plans for each kiddo.

I went into school to observe her in the classroom– they have a little room with a one way mirror like a police station– and saw what really really surprised me. There was LOTS of aggression happening, and melting down, and refusal to cooperate. Where was my sunny girl, who always found such joy in such little things!? I met with the Occupational Therapist, and attended a seminar in attention disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and behavior modification.

After much self-evaluating, I think we’ve pinpointed the problem. A few months ago, LS started to really push the envelope at home with her behavior. The Auditor and I decided we needed to “lay the hammer down” and really box her in with our expectations, in the hope that if she got away with NOTHING, she would start to ” toe the line” and stop behaving so erraticly.

What we forgot is that Little Scribbler’s brain doesn’t work the way our brains do. LS has Sensory Integration Disorder, amongst other things. Her proprioceptive sense (sense of touch and body position) is ALWAYS going haywire. It is in such a heightened state that it actually suppresses her sense of vision and hearing, meaning, unless the Proprioceptive sense is satisfied, she CAN NOT pay attention to what she is seeing or hearing. By “laying down the hammer”, we were creating expectations she COULD NOT meet, becuase her Proprioceptive sense wasn’t satisfied. The constant failure was making her a nervous wreck, and she started to develop an emotional complex– every little thing, spilling milk, tripping, dropping a book, elicited a tantrum of epic proportions. I was getting so frustrated that I broke Rule Number One of Parent Little Scribbler– No Yelling. Never, Ever EVER Any Yelling. It sends her nervous system into a tailspin.

So, long story short, we needed to hit the reset button on Little Scribbler’s life. She and I BOTH needed to start over. We took four or five days, stayed home, went NOWHERE, and did only things that we thought LS could do well. Regardless of her behavior or clumsiness or tantrums, we showered her with love and comforting and compassion. We needed to build back up that trust in her that we love her unconditionally, and wont yell or become upset when she cant control herself. After a few days of that, we were able to reintroduce some limits and discipline, with MUCH better results!

Also during that time, I met with her Occupational Therapist, Dana. Dana is really awesome. She reminded me that not only do I have to be Little Scribbler’s mom, I also have to be LS’s full time special ed teacher, therapist, and laison between her and the outside world. I have to always be thinking about WHY she is having a hard time, and I always have to be stimulating her proprioceptive sense, because she CAN NOT function until that sense is satisfied. So we’ve introduced a “sensory diet” into LS’s daily activities.

In case you were wondering (and I know you probably weren’t but in case you were) there are many things you can do through out the day to satisfy your proprioceptive sense. You want the activity to give deep pressure to the body– the deeper and more consistent the pressure, the better. It’s best if the pressure is applied to the shoulders/back, the legs and feet joints, and/or the arm/shoulder joints. Some great activities to satisfy this sense are jumping on a trampoline, wearing a lightly weighted backpack, jumping rope, pedaling a bike, pushing heavy things, chewing gum, etc.

Additionally, for attention disorders, a higher protein diet is extremely helpful in leveling out the behavior without using medication. The seminar taught that somehow the way the brain breaks down protein (as opposed to carbohydrate) leads to a more stable level of seratonin in the brain throughout the day. This is actually GENIUS and has helped tremendously in the past few days!

So we’ve implemented a new “Sensory Schedule” that looks something like this:

Wake Up– Deep Pressure (calming activity like massage)
1030 am– Protein snack/ Proprioceptive Activity (stimulating like bike riding)
1145 am– Proprioceptive Activity (stimulating like bike riding) and Gum Chewing
1230-330– LS is at School
345 pm– Protein snack/ Proprioceptive Activity (stimulating like bike riding)
500 pm– Proprioceptive Activity (stimulating like bike riding)
Bed Time– Deep Pressure (calming activity like applying lotion or massage)

That is our schedule on TOP of our school schedule, our chore schedule, and our meal schedule. You know how they say kids with attention disorders thrive on routine? yeah, it’s true.

The collection and implementation of ALL this new information (and really, I’ve summarized about four textbooks worth of information into this blog post!) and new schedules has pretty much ruled my life the past two weeks. But…it’s working! It really really is! Sensory Integration Disorder comes and goes in spurts, so we’ll have to redo the testing and remodify the schedule as the months wear on, but at least we have a jumping off point!

Oh yeah, and as if that werent enough, we decided to start volunteering with the church’s High School Youth Group as a family. So now our Sunday evenings are spent with teenagers, who are actually pretty hilarious and awesome!! Their antics will probably feature heavily in future blog posts :) AND, as an added bonus, they ADORE the Little Scribbler, who has become a mascot of sorts. For some reason they call her the ‘Hot Potato’, which she thinks is so hilarious she can barely stand up!

I love my life, but MAN is it tiring!

(sorry I’ve been out of touch everybody! I’ll be back in the game pretty soon, I promise!)

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