Saturday, March 19, 2011

Define 'Normal'

Joe took the 4 oldest kids to the park to ride their bikes. The baby is sleeping in her swing. There's a strange sound in my house right now and I can't quite put my finger on what it is. Oh's silence.

Silence is so rare these days.

So why am I not sitting here enjoying this time? Maybe reading a complete sentence, having a thought from beginning to end, or even taking a much needed nap?

Because I'm still thinking about the ugly scene that just unfolded in the living room about 10 minutes ago.

The kids have done NOTHING but cry and beg Joe to take them to the park so they can ride their bikes. R cried for 30 minutes straight yesterday because playing at the park WITHOUT bikes for 2 hours wasn't enough. So, Joe decided to load all 4 of the bigger kids up, along with bikes and helmets, in the van and head down to the elementary school's playground and parking lot. It took about 40 minutes to get everyone dressed, coats on, shoes on, tires pumped up, bikes loaded, dad dressed, etc. Finally, with 3 of the kids' noses pressed to the storm door waiting for Joe to tell them it was time to go, R stopped half way out the door and completely shut down. Joe told him to hurry up, but R said he was "scared."


Scared of what?

I quickly put two and two together and figured out that Joe had probably been talking about when they would be taking off the training wheels and learning to ride a 2 wheeler. I assured R that his training wheeles were still on and he wouldn't fall.

He still wouldn't budge from the front steps.

I said that this was ridiculous and he should just get in the van. He'd been crying about going for 2 days. He said "I can't choose."

I am still puzzling over what that meant.

And truth be told...that kind of statement reminds me WAAAAAAY too much of my ex-husband. The guy who used to use a battery operated, miniature bingo ball machine to choose things like which CD to listen to, which movie to watch and which tie to wear to work. Because he COULD NOT make a decsion on his own.

Let me pre-emptively put out there that there is NO chance R has ANY PART of my ex's DNA.

Anyway...I went from confused to enraged with R. I can admit now that I was kind of in lunatic mode. I snapped. I raised my voice (Read: yelled) that he needed to get in the van or get in the house.

Maybe it was a little more like this:


Not sure that's how the neighbors like to wake up at 9:30 in the morning on a Saturday.

I then launched into what NO PARENT should say to their child, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!"

I am incredibly embarrassed by that. I KNOW better. You don't imply to your child (who is obviously struggling with something) that there is anything WRONG with them.

But I am at the end of a very tiny and fraying rope.

I have hesitated to blog about this because it's really personal and I don't know quite yet what to make of it.

Maybe, though, someone reading can help me figure out what this is...if this is anything.

I'll start at the beginning...

R was a very fussy baby. He didn't sleep well. He didn't eat well (he constantly spit up.) He didn't react to loud nosies well (like cheering during a football game.) The doctors chalked it up to acid reflux and colic.

As he's gotten older, we've noticed some things but never really took note. Like sometimes, for no reason, he will completely shut down. He would be mid-sentence in the car, telling us a story, and then--out of nowhere--take on this Linda Blair like voice and say, "No! I'm NOT Telling!" And then he'd stop talking. It was like his thoughts were fighting to get out of his mouth, but he just couldn't make it happen.

Now that he's in school, we have noticed other things like how he chews on everything (especially his sleeves) and has a heart attack when we try to put certain shirts on him. (He does NOT like collared shirts or turtle necks.)

He still shuts down mid-sentence sometimes.

I can't greet him with a loud and chipper "Hello!!!" or "Good Morning!!!" like I can the other kids. I have to tip toe up and very quietly say, "Hey, Buddy!" or he will become very crabby and go into the fetal, grunting mode again.

I am getting concerned because none of the other kids display this kind of behavior.

I have contacted a friend who is also a special education teacher. I am hoping she can spend some time with him and see if she notices anything out of the ordinary.

I'll tell you what I'm thinking: Sensory Integration Disorder or Sensory Perception Disorder. I've read some about it and I see a lot of commonalities. I have not listed everything here that concerns me about R, but just a general idea.

I don't want to be that mom who jumps to conclusions. But I also don't want to be that mom who may be in denial and robs her child of a chance to learn how to process things better.

Is R's behavior "normal"? I don't know. I've never had a 5 year old before.

And what exactly is normal anymore? There seem to be so many kids falling somewhere on the Autism Spectrum now that I don't know if there really is a rise in the disorder or if there is merely a rise in the diagnosis.

Or is R just a typical 5 year old little guy who gets crabby? A lot. ??

Thoughts? I welcome them. I am trying to navigate my way through this, but having a tough time.

I appreciate any feedback.
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