Surviving the life of a "High Needs" child & parent.

Category Archives: Parenting

After finding out that Habanero’s diagnosis I joined a Facebook group of people who are also challenged by Sensory Processing Disorder. It’s been really great to see some of the questions on the group – believe it or not there are actually over 78,000 members. So posts move pretty quick; some days it’s not much I can relate to and others having me laughing or crying at the relate-ability. Today was one of those days; a mom posted about how she is exhausted that her two and half year old won’t stop moving. He’s a seeker just like the Habanero, and she was writing because she wanted some confirmation that she isn’t crazy to get upset when people say things like “he’s being two” and “he’s all boy”. Since when did being an exhausting, constantly moving… sometimes P.I.T.A become expected because of gender? This really irritates me.

Having a seeking temperament for us too means that our son is constantly moving, constantly getting into something – and always restless. Though many would claim this is pretty typical age appropriate behavior for us it is more extreme. On any given day you will find our child climbing a ladder, ripping the curtain rods out of the wall, drawing all over the house and throwing trash everywhere because he’s looking for stimulation. It is exhausting and particularly more difficult to handle when you are alone and have a second child to look after. I’m pretty sure if I were a stay at home mom I’d go crazy.

I think the average parent gets a good taste of some of what I am talking about when their kids are out of school for the summer, but multiply that. I enjoy spending time with my children but having to constantly stay on guard and one step ahead is really tiresome. Even a simple task like walking through a parking lot into a store or an appointment becomes a chore to keep my child focused enough on the task at hand to complete it. It’s a daily struggle of constant distraction and frequent mood swings.

Recently I decided to share my son’s diagnosis with my family on social media – after making my first blog post here. I am not quite sure what I was expecting, I guess you could say I wasn’t expecting anything but I wanted to raise awareness for this disorder that seems so overlooked. So I posted an image of brain activity in a person with SPD compared to Autism. So many people have heard of Autism but no one really knows what SPD is when I mention it. I thought it would be a good first post. I got all of 3 responses from my HUGE friends list of 130. 3. That’s it. I get more “oh how cute” when I post pictures of my kids.

I’m not quite sure what to think about the lack of response from my Facebook friends – as they are mostly family members. I would say probably 100 of my 130 are all family because I don’t like to randomly add those that I hardly know. I wasn’t really looking for sympathy or encouragement or even really any understanding. Just a response. Just an acknowledgement that I’m struggling with something out of the norm. I got mostly nothing…

Even questions would have been welcomed. One family member commented on my post. I guess it’s good to know that at least 1 in 130 cares! *SIGH*


When you are a first time parent you often wonder if you can really be instinctually correct and you tend to write childhood behaviors off as “normal” because well you don’t really have much to compare them to from the perspective of a parent anyways. I’ve had a lot of experience working with kids – and as I may have mentioned in the past I took several Early Childhood Development courses at the local community college toward a certificate.

I can’t say I really learned anything in that program about SPD because it was really never mentioned. I’d heard of Autism because of media attention that it has recently been getting but never SPD. So when the Habanero’s teacher at his pre-school did a “evaluation” of him at about 2 and half I didn’t think much of it. I’ve done every ASQ for the pediatrician and never had any concerns. What were these teachers going to find that was out of the norm? Nothing; I thought my boy is pretty typical.

Then my husband had a review of my son’s eval with the teacher and said they specifically mentioned him covering his ears in protest when other kids are singing and dancing in class. I thought huh that’s weird maybe he’s just being a grumpy pants so I started paying more attention to my son’s quirks and I quickly realized he was covering his ears at home too at normal household noises like the sound of running water or frying bacon. These things weren’t loud but to him they were incredibly disruptive.

When he was a baby the Habanero got pretty upset at the 4th of July when my husband set off some fairly tame fireworks and we thought maybe he was just startled by the unexpected noise. He has shown a significant intolerance for noises since very early on and I felt horrible that I never really noticed it or thought much of it.

And there were other things like the fact that my oldest son is still in our bed and can’t seem to fall asleep without the TV on or playing with my hair. The fact that he likes to lick us – which we thought maybe was just a kid thing. He doesn’t seem to show much reaction to incredibly sour foods. He is constantly moving.

We couldn’t go out to restaurants without help because he’d spend the entire time terrorizing the place. It’s not that he wasn’t well behaved for the most part it was more that he would be constantly interrupting others trying to enjoy their meal by touching their leg or be staring at them. In the end the biggest flag that went unrecognized was his clumsiness. It’s hard to call a toddler clumsy – really they are just getting better at walking and running. Our boy has a constant line of bruises on his chins. We thought it might be related to his club foot – maybe his feet were regressing and it was tripping him up so we wrote it off. As it turns out it’s actually a proprioception issue.

So we had our son evaluated by a professional and fortunately there are several clinics in the area to choose from but not many specializing in treatment of kids his age. Apparently SPD is more common with older children since the clinics seem to revolve their availability around them which is pretty frustrating for a parent trying to balance a full time job and therapy.

In any case… yet another hurdle to overcome presents itself. Challenge accepted.

November and December were rough and as a family we are so glad to put 2016 behind us. We completed 3 castings in a month to get the Habanero’s intoeing on his right foot corrected during December. The compromise for us and our doctor was to have plaster casts wrapped in fiber; by the time the lil man finished his last set he was walking around with full leg casts on. They didn’t slow him down a bit!

What did slow us down was all the illnesses we ended up with between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every week it was something new, Roseola, Ear Infections, Fevers, Pink Eye (twice) and finally the week of Christmas and the last week of casting the Norovirus. Let me tell you what a great pleasure it is to have a child that won’t stop vomiting in casts. You can’t bathe them – so you end up with a kid that smells like puke that wants to be held all day and all night.

Norovirus, if you’ve never had it or heard of it – is a stomach bug that can last anywhere from 24 hours to 3 days (for most) in which you pretty much spend the entire time with stomach cramps and/or vomitting with unrelenting diarrhea. My husband was nice enough to bring it home from work and I got it and so did the Habanero despite our best efforts to prevent it’s spreading. Nothing works for over the counter medication to stop the symptoms… or at least it didn’t for us. We ended up in Urgent Care the night before we were supposed to get the Habanero’s casts removed with a dehydrated and withering baby. He was so dehydrated (even though we had been actively trying to prevent it) that they couldn’t find any place to put an IV in after 3 failed attempts.

How did we know the lil man was dehydrated? He would cry and have no tears and was uncharacteristically lethargic. It was scary to see him in such bad shape and as a parent nothing is worse than feeling so helpless. After a dosage of Zofran, the Habanero was finally able to keep down a little bit of water and pedialyte. We spent the next 3 hours at the Children’s Hospital squirting water into his mouth with a syringe every 5 minutes until he finally perked up and started to act normal again.

All this was very frustrating as you can imagine, especially because I had been harassing my husband to keep an eye out for dehydration symptoms and had even called the pediatrician concerned the morning that we ended up going to the ER but was told to call back the next day if the Habanero still had a fever. Needless to say, I spent my weekends making up work hours and even worked Thanksgiving because I had run out of sick time for the year and had no other options for staying home with my sick child. We have started out January with Bronchiolitis, Pneumonia and Pink Eye.

Had I the chance to go back in time I could say I would want to change history to not have experienced all this, but in retrospect I find gratefulness. This illness, (probably the only real major one that we experienced as a family so far) really made me appreciate everything we have so much more. It also put a spot light on what a fighter the Habanero is.

Even when this kid couldn’t keep down less than an ounce of water he still kept trying to drink and eat. He was desperate in his search for water – at one point we found him drinking out of the dog water. It was disheartening for us as parents to not really know what to do. The only thing we could do for him without consequence was to wet a paper towel and let him suck the water out of it so that he could keep it down. He would have drank from a fire hydrant if you let him but even in a state of dehydrated lethargy he found the energy to fight for what he wanted. He got really mad anytime he saw water and was not allowed to have it and threw a tantrum like you’ve never seen. It probably sounds odd that I would be grateful for such desperation, but I don’t really know how to explain it so that it makes any sense.

No parent wants to see their child suffer, but in the times throughout their life that you get a glimpse of how your child deals with a tough situation you can’t help but be proud of their stubbornness, fortitude and passion. After all the club foot treatment, you’d think that I would have already seen this ability to overcome adversity in my child but this opportunity really awakened me.

The Habanero has always been dramatic in his fits and is easily upset. A while back he started occasionally sending himself into a coughing tantrum when he was mad about something and I didn’t think much of it. Sometimes the coughs would lead to him spitting up, but most the time we have been able to calm him down before it gets to that point.

Last week in our car rides he started shoving his fingers down his throat (and other objects) to make himself gag which eventually leads to him puking. As you can imagine, this behavior is very frustrating in the car because there’s really nothing I can do to stop it besides telling him not to do it which of course he doesn’t listen to.

I thought maybe it was just normal for a kid to put their fingers in their mouth and gag themselves all this time, so I really haven’t thought much about it. In talking to some other people I’m realizing that this behavior of his really seems to be more about attention than anything else. There is little in the way of advice online for this that I can find and everything I’ve read says to interfere with the behavior by stopping the child physically from doing it and tell them not to, but as you can imagine that’s pretty hard to do when I’m driving.

For a while now I’ve been hoping that this coughing/gagging himself thing was just a phase that he would eventually grow out of as I’ve seen others say this about their children. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon without some sort of intervention and it’s probably going to get worse as we get closer to the age of 2. Getting tired of cleaning the car seat…

I’m going to start this post out by saying I love being a parent, so as anyone doesn’t think I absolutely despise it or gets any other crazy ideas in that regard. I know I’ve made mention before of the fact that my husband is working some shift work right now, he’s about to transition to a new job but I’ve been living like this for a while and I just need to vent. It’s important to note too that I have only two family members living in the area local to where I live to help me out (who aren’t incredibly reliable) and that I don’t have many friends that I can ask on to help me out who aren’t too busy with their own lives.

I do have a couple people that have offered to babysit for me and while I think it would be helpful – I’m not going to pretend it’s going to help with what I’m about to talk about. Being a mother is so hard, so much harder than I ever thought it would be. I’m sure many parents think this but I don’t think it’s really something you can quite comprehend until your in the position yourself. If you are mother then you’ll probably know exactly what I’m about to rant about.

These people I know that complain about getting a break from their kids and say things like “Oh, I don’t know what to do with myself because my kid is spending the day with so and so” really irk me. Rather than appreciate their time alone, they complain about it. Maybe they aren’t complaining – maybe they are just stating fact… but to someone like me that let’s face it, never gets a break, it’s really freaking bothersome. Let me explain.

I can’t eat by myself. By that I mean, if I’m eating something, the Habanero wants some – and rightfully so I can’t fault him for wanting to try everything he’s a curious little guy. I can’t drink by myself, if I am trying to drink even some water, I get whined at to share. If I try to get him his own water and it’s not in my cup more often than not he gets incredibly pissed and goes into a tantrum. No mom, I didn’t want my own water… I wanted your water to blow bubbles in and backwash with. Maybe my own kid’s backwash shouldn’t bother me so much, but I’m admittedly a germaphob. I can’t crap alone, in fact I mostly can’t crap anyways because I can’t even relax enough to unless I’m at work and I don’t have someone staring at me like a kid or a dog. If I close the door, the crying commences. If I want to shower by myself, its not going to happen. Even if dad is home, I’m expected to shower the little man. And not only does dad expect me to shower him, but the Habanero expects to be let into the shower anytime the water is running. Have you ever had a slobber filled ice cream cone? He doesn’t actually eat it he just slobbers all over it until I have lost the will to eat it.

Is it too much to ask for to be able to be open a package of anything in my own house without my kid or my dog at my feet begging me? You know, I’m starting to wonder if maybe this all is getting to me more than it normally would because I’m pregnant and I have to eat and drink ALL THE TIME. I don’t know. Anyways, I just wanted to share how little I know realize I thought I knew about what it’s like to be a parent, besides all the other responsibilities of actually developing a human being into a good person. This is exhausting.

Recently I’ve been thinking A LOT about tantrums, because the frequency of them occurring in my house is increasing significantly. I’ve looked around on the web a little reading suggestions on how to deal with them. Oddly enough I think this is something that was completely glossed over in my Early Childhood Education courses I took. I remember how strange it was when the advice was given during class that you are not to restraint a child who is acting violently, unless you have been certified to do so and have good reason that they are endangering themselves and others.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) as a parent you are allowed much more freedom to make mistakes than teachers are with little consequence (mistakingly perceived) from others. Obviously a significant amount of damage can be done to a child from their parent in ways that we may not even consider in the moment of madness.

I see kids all the time throwing tantrums in public and usually try to ignore them, but can’t help to often notice parents saying “Use your words.” or just allowing their kid to beat on them as they try to carry them out of the public eye. I have to wonder why the kid thinks it’s okay to continue to beat on the parent physically and I’ve come to the conclusion that this physical response of a child is not really a learned behavior, so much as a innate behavior to frustration.

Prior to being a parent, I would think, “Man what a little brat” when I would witness a kid wailing on their parent… until my kid started doing it. Right around a year and half it started that when the Habanero was frustrated he would windmill his arms and smack me or whoever else was close enough to let them know he was frustrated. The first time it happened, my instinct was to try and hold him and hug him to calm him down. I quickly learned this was probably one of the worst options for a response I could have chosen.

After several attempts to “love my child through the tantrum” I got tired of being beat on and realized the only way to stop the tantrum in it’s tracks was to do something my child was not expecting me to do. So, I started pushing the Habanero away from me when he’d start a windmill tantrum and I’ll never forget the look of shock and dismay on his face the first time he came over to me hit me and I pushed him back and he fell on his bum. Clearly it wasn’t something he wasn’t expecting me to do – and given that I’ve never really expressed my dominance over him physically well… ever since he was born he didn’t know what to do with it. The tantrum stopped and he just looked at me like I was a horrible mother, “Why did you do that?!” I’m sure was running through his little head.

It was then that it occurred to me how much child can get so wrapped up in their passion they don’t even realize what they are doing. This realization was somewhat enlightening because it helped me also conclude that my actions during a tantrum are not hardly even noticed by my child unless they interfere with his ability to express his emotion. Even as an adult I know how hard it can be to stop a moment of frustration without being interrupted by something unexpected in my environment. My husband will attest to the fact that when I decide to get mad about something I’ll just keep going on and on and on… and I’m inclined to think that maybe I didn’t ever really learn how to deal with my emotions very well when growing up myself.

I’m sure someone somewhere would consider it child abuse to push your kid hard enough they fall on their butt so as to set a boundary. Maybe it’s not the right answer. I know this is just the beginning of a long life of testing boundaries, but arguably the most difficult time to deal with it since you can’t really effectively communicate with your child until they can speak. However, even if they could say exactly why they are mad, would it really matter? As an adult wouldn’t it be patronizing to hear “use your words” every time you got mad at something? I think it’s more important to let a kid express their frustration as long as it doesn’t endanger anyone else, and let them know that in their frustration its not acceptable to harm anyone around.

A while back when biting started, I recall reading that it wasn’t good to bite your kid back because you are just perpetuating the violence by teaching them it’s okay to continue. I suppose physical aggression is something I really should have addressed back then, but I really didn’t know what to do. I shouldn’t bite back, but how do you communicate a boundary to a child that can’t talk? I resolved to show the Habanero how much he hurt me the few times he had bitten me, albeit dramatically. What else can you really do? I’m happy to report that these days when I get called about a biting incident in the classroom it’s usually my kid getting bitten.

I guess you could say I am a bit of a hippie when it comes to anything dealing with modern medicine. I’ve fought vaccinations for the Habanero when he was first born, I was determined to have a natural birth and breastfeed my child for at least a year before I had him. Some of my opinions on all these things have changed as I was not able to do what I desired by my circumstance. Now in my second pregnancy and thinking about how I’d like the birth experience to be different than it was the first time, I thought it might be a good time to document what happened (as I recall) since I never really did.

I’m the kind of person that looks for natural remedies as much as possible – I don’t swear everything else off I just prefer to try something natural first before resorting to antibiotics. I don’t think that vaccines are worth the fuss that is made over them and feel that for the most part all they do is interfere with your own immune system function you were naturally given.

So when I was going to have the little man, I didn’t want to go to a hospital. I did my research, I read the horror stories of drugs, surgery and induction. While I give some credit to the fact that generally speaking there are more people out there who write negative things than positive (because hey, who doesn’t like to complain) I also try to stay objective as much as I can. I’m an educated person, usually putting a lot of time and effort into research so it’s kind of comical now thinking back on it that I essentially refused to do any studying on having surgery for birth because it wasn’t going to happen to me.

In the beginning my water broke earlier than 40 weeks, right around 38. I attribute this pretty much to the fact that we moved into our new home and I overdid it on the move, rupturing my bag with only a slight, barely noticeable leak. It wasn’t until the morning after I think the waters actually tore more that I started to lose them with any significance. I was told to go to the hospital immediately despite the fact that I had no contractions because I had tested positive for Strep B and they wanted to start IV antibiotics ASAP before labor began.

I spent 24 hours in the hospital, with no labor progression. Because there was no activity (the little man was still refusing to do anything) I got to be induced by Pitocin. I had wanted to use the tub in my hospital room to help relieve the pain of labor, but was unable to because I had been induced which forced me to be bedridden (another requirement I didn’t know about). I had read that being induced non-naturally can cause much more pain than natural contractions and I don’t know if it was true, or if it was because of the baby’s position and having “back labor” but I couldn’t stand the pains and broke down and got an epidural; something which I had been so very against doing. At that point I stopped caring about drugs because well, nothing was going the way I had wanted and I wasn’t allowed to leave the bed anyways. I felt as if pretty much any damage there was to be done had already happened.

The sad truth is that c-section surgeries are very common in the U.S. as far as I can tell really with no good reason. Most likely because they cost whole hell of a lot more than a traditional birth. I ended up with a c-section delivery because the Habanero slid down into my pelvis in a way that made it impossible for him to be turned or delivered naturally. He was what they call posterior, or Sunny Side Up, meaning rather than his face facing my back, he was facing my belly. My midwife and doctor claimed that vaginal delivery was at this point impossible and because his heart rate was affected by my pushing I was forced to consent to a c-section delivery. About 12 hours after I had been induced my son was pulled into the world via doctor’s gloves.

Because of all the antibiotics and drugs, and non-natural progression of labor I really do feel that my ability to be a mother in the first few days suffered significantly. Besides the after affects of surgery alone on my abilities physically, I think all the chemicals rushing through my system really affected my son. My milk never really “came in” despite my best efforts to keep pumping – for 6 months I could never get my body to produce more than a couple of 6 oz bottles a day, usually two at most.

After it all I have so many questions, and maybe it’s because of my lack of knowledge… but I can’t help but wonder why something wasn’t said to me sooner about the possibility of surgery because of the babies position. In fact, nothing was said to me before labor was induced about the position being a possible hurdle to overcome. I was so beyond frustrated by my whole first experience, that you might think I was crazy to go back to the same provider for my second pregnancy, but I did anyways. I had my first visit with the doctor who had delivered the Habanero, and was told that more than likely I will have another c-section since “I had already had one”. This made me so mad, that I immediately went in search of another provider. It truly is ridiculous that there are some doctors that, rather than give their patient the benefit of the doubt about their birth plan, would not even be supportive about the option of a VBAC.

Speaking of searching for providers, can you believe I was actually turned away by a birthing center during my last pregnancy because my BMI was too high? They claimed it made me more high risk since I was on the high end of their acceptable range, they told me that they wouldn’t see me.