I'm supposed to be working on a class I'm taking, but I can't stay focused. My mind keeps wandering to sensory issues, strategies, and in general, what the hell is wrong with my kid? I don't want to sound like a broken record, but this is a big deal in our house right now. I just wish I knew what "this" really is.
In my last post I wrote about Tera's sensory struggles. Well as much as I'd love to say all the little things we tried have a made a difference, I can't. She's had some days that are a little better than others, but as of tomorrow, she'll have had two straight weeks of very challenging days. Currently challenging is defined as: hitting, pushing, defiance, outbursts, screaming, meltdowns, and stress. I've spent more hours than I care to admit reading, watching, and pinning ideas about how to help her. But what concerns me almost more than anything else is, what if it's not sensory? I mean, her behavioral therapist, OT, and teachers all seem to think so, and so do I, but if the techniques aren't working, what is going on?
In a perfect world, I would have what's referred to as a sensory diet laid out for Tera. Unlike other diets, a sensory diet is not food related, but activity related and is really more of a sensory routine to help keep her regulated. In a perfect world I would do this routine regularly and we would see the happy, helpful, sweet, energetic but not destructive, girl we know she can be. But it's not a perfect world. There are a lot of factors to keep in mind along with knowing what will make her situation better or worse and I still have Zoey to think about. Will keeping her home for a week to work on this benefit her or will it make her return to daycare more difficult because we broke her routine? What's practical for her daycare teachers to do with her? Do we keep her out of activities until she's more regulated?
This last one is particularly difficult for me. See, part of what is prompting this post is that yesterday, after a day at daycare that really hadn't been any better than the those of last week, she had what I would consider her worst swim lesson ever. She only made it 15 out of the 30 minutes (which has never happened before) because she kept getting out of the pool, looking for and throwing anything she could find in the pool, repeatedly jumping to her instructors (when it wasn't time to do that), splashing, and in general, completely unable to sit still. It was awful to watch and I will admit I was embarrassed by what she was doing, and then I had to go into the pool area, half drag her dripping wet to change her clothes while she cried the entire time, and the while trying not to completely lose my composure until we got into the car. I wasn't even angry, I'm just so upset that we don't know what's wrong and how to help her. But she loves swim so it seems cruel to keep it from her. On the other hand, it's not fair to the other kids and the instructors to have to spend time monitoring her every move for her safety and the safety of others. Tonight she has baseball, which she also loves, but will she be able to refrain from throwing the bat after hitting? Will she continue to throw anything she can over the fence? Will she refuse to do what she is being asked and try to run out of the field multiple times?
Possibilities behind this almost two week long situation are: change in routine because she's not going to school anymore, constipation, food allergy or sensitivity (though we don't know of any), growth spurt, a reaction to one of her supplements (though nothing is new), or something else we haven't even considered. I've tried visual schedules, verbally talking through what's going to happen and what's expected of her, doing sensory activities before we leave the house and while we're out, prune juice to get her stomach more regulated again, and holding off on her iron supplement for a while. I think about what she's doing all day when she's at daycare and so desperately want to text and ask, but I'm afraid of what I'll hear back. I don't want to take her anywhere because it's exhausting to hold her through a meltdown.
I spend my evenings reading articles, posts, and watching YouTube videos on sensory techniques all the while hoping that one of them will be the magic trick to get her regulated. I'm three days into summer break and while I love seeing my kids faces more, I don't even feel that happy because I'm constantly distracted by how to help her and feeling helpless that I haven't.
In a few minutes I will start gathering her stuff for baseball and hoping it's not a disaster. Then tonight I plan to connect with both her OT and behavioral therapist to see if we can't brainstorm some ideas and talk about what we need to really put in place to help her get regulated. And wine. There will probably have to be some wine involved because this beautiful, challenging girl is stressing me the hell out...