The Texture Of Things

Stumbling Blocks

February 18th, 2014

Just about the worst thing that can happen when you have a kid who doesn’t eat* is stomach flu.

In the past year, the Tot has added some good foods to her repertoire — apple slices with peanut butter, pancakes and waffles (with whipped cream), grilled cheese — but for the past week, she has struggled with a barfing virus. If our experience with the Barfs holds true again, it will take us a while to work our way back to even some old standards.

Makes me sad, ya know?

* First World Problem, yes I know.

P.S. Somehow Comments are turned off and I can’t figure out how to turn them on. I’ll figure it out soon! Pinkie swear!

Sharing Circle

October 14th, 2012

I won’t call Kage Alan my old friend, but he has been my friend for 20 years. During these short, few years (ahem), he has published many novels, all of them very clever. (No, really. Please go buy one of his books.)

Because he is a writer, he has loads of free time, so it is only natural that he keeps a blog. Earlier this year, he added a feature to his blog called Face of Gay, where guest writers share their stories about being or supporting a LGBT person.

I didn’t consider myself a potential contributor because I am a boring, straight, married woman with a boring, white bread life, so mostly I just read the posts and commented occasionally. But one day not long ago, I was chatting with Kage and I happened to mention a gay student of mine from many years ago. He couldn’t let me get away without sharing my story of course, and honestly, I am happy to share it. Please consider reading it and, if you feel so moved, please consider sharing the series with others whom you feel would enjoy it or benefit from it.

Much love, my friends!

The Face of Gay 13

Bubbly

February 16th, 2011

Every so often, I find myself looking at a completely plain experience. I mean, thoroughly plain, like a bubble bath. It is a moment that catches me by surprise, though it shouldn’t. It is a moment that catches me by surprise because in this life, it is not a plain experience. It is nearly exotic.

The experience of bubble suds on your skin can be described as “unexpected touch.”* Unexpected touch is basically any touch or tactile sensation that is a surprise. Splashing water, a spill, a tap on the shoulder from a person you didn’t know was there — these are also unexpected touch.

In a person who is hypersensitive to tactile sensation, unexpected touch can be quite unpleasant. So, bubbles, then, are something to dread rather than something to enjoy.

In order to get to the place we are today, with the tot in a bathtub filled with soapy, bubbly bath water, we had to move through many steps.

It started with the cold turkey approach, right about the age of 1.5 years old or so. I just put the bubbles into the water. The tot, who had been excited by the prospect of a bath, had a complete breakdown. Melting into a puddle, crying, foot-stomping, turning away from the sight of the bubbles breakdown. I was surprised because I thought all kids liked bubble baths. I was frustrated because – Come on! All kids should like bubble baths! But she didn’t.

So that didn’t work.

I bailed on the idea of bubbles in the bath for a long time after that. At some point, however, Food Friend S suggested we blow bubbles outside and work with the tot to get her popping the bubbles. It was summer by then, and the tot around 2 years old, so it seemed like a potentially fun thing to do outside.

The tot was cool with watching bubbles, but she did not want to do them herself. Over time, she began chasing them and stomping them, later popping them by finger touch, to clapping them to pop them. (I want to say that last development was the summer she turned 4. I don’t recall when she finally wanted to blow them herself. Possibly the summer she was 3, but if so, late summer. Maybe the beginning of the summer she turned 4.)

Although blowing bubbles doesn’t seem like it connects to bath bubbles, it is exactly what we needed to transition from the meltdown reaction to today’s bubble bath.

She liked the wand and the bottle, and she liked play stirring, and somehow or another, one time at bath she asked for her empty bubble bottle to play with in the tub. I gave it to her and (eventually) had the idea to blow bubbles *into* her bath water. Bubbles, if you have never blown bubbles outside after the rain, will land on the wet surface and linger.
At that point, it was just a matter of desensitization. Number of bubbles, size of the bubbles, proximity of the bubbles, etc. Then suds made from soapy washcloths and eventually bubble bath.

It sounds systematic, but it was a long process, to be sure.

Funny aside, I am drafting this on my phone while Tater is playing in the tub, and the tot just came in and asked to blow bubbles into his bath. Ha ha! We haven’t done that with him before, maybe even since he was born. I guess bubbles are on the brain around here!

And now, my dear friends, I must go put the tot in the tub, with bubbles, of course.

*The prickly popping and slide-y sensations of bubbles are also light touch, which I’ve written about before, and if I remember later, I’ll link to the post.

Notes on Therapy, Week #2

January 19th, 2011

In-home therapy is complicated in some ways. Like, you have to open yourself up, not just the emotions you are working on, but, um, your whole house. Yes, that includes all the dirty dishes you left on the table. And by “you”, I mean “me”, and by “dirty dishes on the table”, I mean “the mess throughout the entire house”.

Let’s just say that one good thing about starting up with S again is that she is familiar, a good friend, so I’m less worried about my house than I would be if our therapist were a stranger. And, frankly, I’m more concerned with getting to the bottom of things that if it so happens that S sees a pattern in our home that reveals a clue, then all the faster we go toward our goal. (Though, I feel kind of cring-y and twitchy thinking about how painful some of the work we are going to have to do will be. Stuff like refocusing meal times or rules or that sort of thing. Oy.)

Anyway, S came right after the tot got of the bus. The tot CHOWED a snack. She must have been starving. But, you know, as I think about it, the issue of familiarity comes up again. If it weren’t S, I wonder if she’d have eaten like that. I think not, because when there are people here, she generally doesn’t eat well. I wonder if she’s comfortable eating with S in a way that she isn’t with other, non-family people. I will mention this to S when I email her later.

During snack and after play, S and I chatted. More background stuff, details, and strategizing about how to put together the necessary releases for her to go observe the tot’s classroom someday. Then they went into the tot’s room to play with the baby dolls. The most salient thing that came out of the play was the tot’s reaction to S making one of the babies be scared of something. The tot called off the game temporarily and said, “All of my dolls are BRAVE.” So, she’s not ready to let down her guard and be scared with S, but it’s early, and that will come with time.

On the topic of procuring OT, let’s just say that I’ve called the two best contenders, and the wait lists are loooooooong. The place we went to before told me that because it’s been so long since we were patients there (2 years), we would be treated like new patients, and that means going to the end of a very long waiting line for after-school time slots — after all the current patients who are waiting for those times. The receptionist was not very warm, welcoming, or open to the idea of, say, putting me on that list. In our conversation, she created no openings for me to say, “Put me on the list.” I was brokenhearted to discover that the wait could be so long, but I called the other place, just in case.

The receptionist at The Other Place was warm and inviting from the get-go. She did admit that there can be quite a wait for those time slots (and their Saturday times), but she practically jostled me into giving her the info necessary for an OT to call me back with answers to my questions about approach, training, etc. The OT called me yesterday, and after hearing our story and talking through things like background, current therapy with S, and the tot’s school situation (lots of stress there!), she had the receptionist call back to schedule an in-person eval for this coming Saturday.

THIS SATURDAY!! OMG, WTF, BBQ!!!

Provided I can get all the necessary fuzzy little ducks in their fuzzy little row, naturally, and that includes a prescription from the pediatrician.

No problem! Except — problem…. The nurse at the ped’s office called back with a hundred questions and a solid undertone of cynicism. I guess the first time we got a script for OT two years ago, the ped didn’t put anything in the chart, and last summer at the tot’s physical (when we happened to see a different doc, purely due to schedule availability) nothing was put in her chart then either. Now, we didn’t talk at length at that last physical about it because things were generally fine, but I DID ask about caloric intake because I was worried about the tot getting enough to eat. The doc gave her a little speech about eating lots of vegetables so she’ll be “big and strong”. You know the one? The speech that all grown ups give all kids at some point to drive home the message of “healthy food might not be your thing, but you still have to suck it up and eat it”? That one. But there’s nothing in the chart, so the nurse has to talk to both docs before she can write the script for a doc to sign. She says she’ll get back to me on Friday about whether they will write the script.

W-T-F-Ever.

Bonus: Because of the rules with our new health insurance, I have to renew this prescription every 30 days. Let me tell you, I CAN HARDLY WAIT FOR THAT. Oy. Shoot me now.

Things to do/prepare for this week’s in-home therapy:
*work on OT paperwork
*get scary creature toys, like dinosaurs, sharks, etc.
*tidy the tot’s room

Intermission Music

January 18th, 2011

We’ve had our second play-therapy session, the notes for which are forthcoming. Also, I made a breakthrough today in scheduling occupational therapy.

I continue to have symptoms of teh Thyroid From Hellz, but I think the meds are slowly kicking in. Huzzah.

I’ll try to pull together a real post tonight or tomorrow. Love you all!

A Little Love, Please

January 12th, 2011

I am in need of a “Poor baby, I’m sorry this is happening to you.” Also accepted: ((hugs)). Other forms of sympathy welcome as well.

I went to the doc to get my annual thyroid bloodwork done so I can renew my prescription, and the results came back really, really bad. Like, seriously really bad. Like, the normal range is between .5 and 1.5, and my number is over 9.

I was honest with the doc about my poor compliance over the last 4 weeks or so, and he said that even considering that, my number shouldn’t have been above a 3. So, there is a problem. He has jumped my dosage up two levels, but it will take at least 6 weeks before I’m normal.

I have no idea how I am upright all this time, but somehow I have been. Of course, now that I know this information, I just want to go to bed and stay there until spring, but (again, of course) I will soldier on. I’m just pouty about the whole thing.

And I feel like an idiot because all of my classic low thyroid symptoms have been right in front of me this whole time, yet I didn’t see them until the doc and I were on the phone. Count “cloudy-headed” in that list of symptoms, I suppose.

Bright side, of course, is that we’re on the path to correcting it, but still. *pout*

BB Test

January 9th, 2011

This is a test to see if the WordPress app on my phone works.

The Problem with OT

January 9th, 2011

The tot received play therapy through a local organization from just after she turned two until she aged out of the program at four. At that time, we transitioned to Occupational Therapy at a privately owned clinic.

I was sad to be leaving our in-home therapy (and S!), but I had hope that the change would trigger a leap forward, as we had been stalled a bit. When we had begun, the tot had so much anxiety that trying to work on food desensitization could only happen at home. Outside the home, she would simply shut down. But as the tot got older, she progressed and, I think, was actually held back by being at home. So, the clinic.

The hour-long sessions occurred on a weekly basis, and were broken down roughly as follows:
*about fifteen minutes doing gross motor play and motor planning
*about fifteen minutes doing pretend play
*a transition from the big gross motor play room to the small room, plus getting situated
*about 10 minutes doing oral motor play (whistles, bubbles, etc)
*whatever time was left rushing through the food items we had brought to focus on

This was problematic, and my criticism of it is tangled. On one hand, I understand that the tot has a motor planning delay. Yes, she needed to work on that, but that was a secondary concern for me. Additionally, I understand that the tot scores on the border of Sensory Processing Dysfunction (or whatever they’re calling it this month), so yes, she needed the gross motor play to help her regulate her sensory integration, but the amount of time we spent on it could have been shorter because, with coaching, I could have done it prior to the session.

My priority was food, from day one, but it was not K’s priority. So, each week, we spent too much time doing things that were useful, yet they used up the time I wanted to be spending on eating issues. This was complicated by the fact that K was impossible to communicate with. We routinely ran over time, so there was no time to talk about how to improve the session during the session, and only after a couple of months did she reluctantly give me her email so I could send some questions to her. Even then, I don’t think she checked her email every day because it would take many days before I’d get a reply, and when I did, it never fully addressed my concerns.

So, I bailed. I am not proud of this, but my aversion to confrontation got the better of me. I used the birth of Tater to try to reschedule as a way of getting to meet another therapist, but it didn’t work. My schedule didn’t line up, plus they were booked solid and acted like they preferred to simply put me with K on another day.

I completely felt like I was done. At home, HG was making progress with the tot eating, and it didn’t cost a 20% copay each week. On top of that, it was during this time that we discovered the tot’s tongue tie, and when I asked K to take a look and tell me what she thought of our choice to pursue surgery (eventually), she dismissed it. She said it was definitely tied, but the tot didn’t need surgery because she didn’t have a speech impediment. (Bonus: the ENT had *just* told us that some large percentage of kids with tongue ties do not actually have speech problems. I don’t recall the percentage, but I recall being STUNNED!)

Ugh. So, we went for a few more weeks, and then HG caught wind of some downsizing happening at his company, and I decided to temporarily cancel therapy and sock the money away as a way of battening down the financial hatches at home. I figured, at the time, that I could try to go back in a while and request another therapist, but following the tot’s surgery, we had so much success at home that it hardly seemed worth it.

We’ve had our ups and downs, but it wasn’t until this most recent big down that returning to therapy even crossed my mind. Now it seems pretty critical.

Day One

January 7th, 2011

Day one of therapy:

The timing of the session appointment is such that S arrives right when the tot gets home from school, so today the first few minutes was small talk and such while the tot ate some pretzels and had some chocolate milk. It will take a bit to hit a routine and find a way to expedite that after school snack, or we might have to move the session by a half an hour. We’ll see.

The structure of the session was split between play and gathering history. S and the tot played in her room (it’s going to be just the two of them) for a bit before S came out and we all sat together and talked family history and anxiety patterns. A lot of the conversation was just refreshing her memory about the tot’s history — her birth, her size, her early anxieties. Ultimately the session will be an hour of play, just the two of them. I’ll hang out with Tater elsewhere in the house.

S and I emailed a bit before today’s meeting, and in those emails, we decided a team approach is necessary. S will work with her on the anxiety, and we’ll find a clinic for therapy surrounding the actual eating process. As we talked about the tot’s tongue tie and early eating difficulties, S suggested that perhaps instead of an Occupational Therapist, we look into a Speech Therapist for the clinical therapy because a Speech Therapist is trained in oral-motor strengthening and such. We’ll see. I thought it was an intriguing idea, and frankly, I don’t care which kind of therapist it is, as long as it’s the right kind.

I need to:
*request of the tot’s growth chart from the pediatrician
*email S regarding some details I didn’t want to share in front of the tot
*get some baby dolls together (S requested next week they play with babies)

Things

January 7th, 2011

I am making a handful of mistakes right now that I know I can correct. Somehow, I feel powerless to change them. I am going to challenge myself to do something by putting them here, where I can’t as easily ignore them as I seem to do with my To Do list.

The problem: I am not taking my thyroid medicine with good regularity. The cause(s): the meds are in my purse, not the bathroom, and I hate taking them. The solution: move the meds; also, quit bitching and take one pill on the way to the medicine cabinet.

The problem: I am not getting enough sleep. The cause(s): I toss and turn, wake with back pain all night; I have anxiety over the tot not eating and the impending therapy; I am staying up late to hang with HG and to chat with friends on FB, because that is my “me” time. The solution: get a new mattress in 2011, go to bed earlier than midnight, maybe take a Tylenol before bed?, put the kids to bed earlier so I can still have my “me” time and get to bed.

The problem: I’m lonely. The solution: do something with my friends. // I don’t really know what else to put with that one. I like my friends, and they presumably like me, but I guess I too often put myself on the backburner and I forget that hanging out with my friends makes me happy, so I don’t prioritize it. Maybe dinner out with HG should make that priority list… ;)

The problem: I need new clothes. The cause: everything is ragged, holey, or hopelessly out of style. The solution: I have to shop for myself, but I don’t know when to do it. I need to be kid-free or just have Tater with me (the tot just whines if the shopping isn’t about her — early emergence of the teenager syndrome?), and that’s been a challenge because the tot’s been ill. She’s on the mend now, and Tater is going to daycare Monday morning. Shop then? Is there enough coffee to motivate me to shop for clothes second thing in the morning?? (Internet shopping for the items I’m looking for isn’t palatable to me; otherwise, I’m so there.)

There are a zillion things I don’t have the answers for, but I think those wait until I get some of the more concrete stuff done.

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