Category Archives: A Day in the Life

Merry Christmas!

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Yep, I’m a little behind.  But such is life around the holidays, so here I am to make up for it.

Christmas has been a fun adventure around here.  We actually got to have a pretty quiet day on Christmas itself, just our “little” family, nowhere to go, no rush to open presents, no timeline to worry about.  The kids were, of course, very excited, but not over the top.  They even let us sleep in until almost 7:30!  Santa brought all the right presents, Mom and Dad did pretty good too, and everyone was very happy.

The next morning we left early to head to family in Michigan.  A little more excitement, lots of cousins and fun, and a few good meltdowns.  It’s inevitable in this situation…cousins don’t play quite right, or siblings get in the way of cousin fun…it just wouldn’t be a family gathering without a little fuss, but overall I think the kids did very well.  Our two big concerns with Christmas parties are Booga losing his “gentleness” control and Squirt falling apart when it’s time to go home (the worst transition of all).  I think Booga did pretty well, although he did have trouble leaving the new puppy alone, and Squirt managed to leave with only tears, and not a complete meltdown, so I’m going to go with progress and be happy about it.

The second day in Michigan we went to a movie with 9 cousins…Movies are great, and typically ok for the kids, (we’ve tried to avoid 3D so far, as I think that would be too much stimuli) but with all the added holiday hoopla, and the fact that it was an excited animated film, it was a little overwhelming for Booga.   He did well for most of it, switching seats once to sit with his Papa, staying (mostly) quiet, but at one point he did wander down close and try to touch the screen.  Oh well, at least it was a kid’s movie and no one really cared, right?

The day we got home from Michigan we had a package waiting for us that I admit I was more than a little excited about…Booga got a new “hug”!  We decided to order him a weighted compression vest, that we’ve been talking about for awhile, but didn’t really want to spend the money on.  Thanks to Swagbucks and Amazon, I was able to get it for less than half price!  So we spent the next couple days getting him used to wearing it for short periods a day, calling it his “hug” and his “police vest”.  He seemed ok with wearing it, but didn’t want it on for long, and has little tolerance for the weights pushing on him.

On our next trip to Michigan (3 days later), we went straight to an extended family gathering, where we got a chance to try out the “hug”.  I had him wear it right away for a little while, because it was a room full of sensory input, with lots of kids and people and noise.  He was less than impressed, but I did notice that he calmed down faster.  We took it off for dinner, he seemed to be ok, then present time began.  This set Booga off into what I like to call “spin cycle”…switching from spinning to running to break dancing, all while being VERY loud.  Back on went the vest (minus weights, since he complained about them) but definitely under protest.  That’s a hard call; I want to use it for his good, and not have it seem like a punishment, but I also want him to get used to wearing it when I know he needs it, even if he doesn’t want too…I guess that will just have to take some adjustment.  It did seem to help, but it was still a struggle to keep him from trying to take it off every five minutes.  Hopefully this will get better with time.

The rest of the weekend was filled with cousin time and Christmas, and everyone seemed to deal with it very well…We even left with a minimum of tears, so I’m calling it a big success!  All in all we had a great, stretched out holiday, the kids didn’t get too burned out, and we learned a little more about how to deal with sensory issues.  Sometimes it feels like we’ll never stop learning how little things like too much gravy on the turkey can bring an end to a peaceful Christmas, but every day we get a little closer to helping them cope!

Dear McDonald’s Workers,

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When I ask you kindly to put the ketchup on the bottom and the cheese on the top of my dear son’s cheeseburger, please do not look at me like I’ve sprouted 3 heads.  It’s so much more important than you realize: ketchup + cheese = slippery.  And slippery is something he CANNOT eat.  No, he’s not being difficult, he’s coping.  And I’d like him to eat more than french fries today!

In the world of SPD, I am very lucky as far as food issues go.  Booga actually likes most every vegetable he’s ever met, and he loves protein bars, so even when we’re having a bad day, I know that he will get everything he needs.  But we do have our little “preferences”.  I actually don’t like to use that word, because it makes it sounds like he could choose to ignore those preferences and just try it like any other kid.  Those of you with kids like mine are laughing, because that’s just not possible.

Actually, when we eat at home, he does very well, and we don’t make special plates for him; he is expected to eat what we eat.  We make adjustments when possible.  Booga doesn’t like anything slippery, slimy, stringy, or that will make his fingers messy.  Leftovers are a dream come true for him, because they are either cold or slightly warm, and will not bother him.  Coffee filters are my best friend, because they keep his fingers clean and he can eat tacos and other messy things.  So, all in all, he eats VERY well for an SPD, texture-sensitive child.

But eating out is a different story.  And in a family of 6, with several sports, church activities, etc., eating out happens more often than it should.  For the first 3 years of Booga’s life, he really only ate french fries at restaurants.  Unless, of course, they were too salty or too greasy.  Then we discovered *why* he was turning his nose up at food we knew he liked, and started making small changes.  Like making sure chicken nuggets are not fresh; he’d really prefer to take them home and eat them cold or slightly warmed.  Or making sure his ketchup and cheese do not make his burger slide around.  Seems so simple now, but I still get those looks…

So, yes, I am the strange mom asking you to make a cheeseburger a different way.  But at least my boy will eat his lunch today!

A Day in this Sensory World

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I’ve been trying to get up and running for awhile, but feel overwhelmed with all the information I want to put together and share.  Finally decided that I would just sit down and write a post, sharing about an average day in our crazy world.

6:30 am: Mom and Dad up, start the music playlist for the big kids to get ready for school

…this is just a YouTube playlist of the kids’ favorite upbeat songs, 4 songs to eat breakfast  to, 3 songs to get dressed and make beds to, and 3 songs for hair, teeth, shoes, coats and backpacks.  The kids know what songs mean what, and it saves my voice from nagging in the morning!!

7:10 am: Squirt and Boyo leave for the bus, littles will wake up soon.

…Time to make some eggs for breakfast.  We always try to start the morning with protein; fortunately Squirt likes a scoop of protein powder on her cereal, so I don’t always have to make eggs before she leaves.

*Note: this is not an everyday morning, as the big kids usually do NOT make the bus, and someone needs to drive them to school at 7:50.  Makes everything a little crazier with all 4 up at once, but 6:30 is awfully early…

8:00 am: Cleaning up from breakfast, time to start Booga’s therapy.

…This morning he wanted the vibrating massage instead of the brush, but giggled too much, so he just rubbed his feet on it while I gave him a regular massage.  Then on to compressions (he calls them “pulls”), spinning until Mommy is more than dizzy, and crashing.  This means every cushion on my couch gets thrown on the floor so he can jump off the couch and body slam into them, repeatedly.  Oh well, who needs a nice couch, right?

8:30 am: Still working on cleaning up, catching up, checking messages, and feeding Scooter.

9:00 am: Time for Preschool with Booga.

…He likes to start with a busy bag, and unless I have something special planned, I usually let him pick through and choose one.  Then we do “carpet” activities and some workbook pages.  Somewhere in the middle Scooter will need a little rock for his morning nap.

11:30 am: School is done, Scooter is probably up again, and it’s time for lunch.

…If I’ve been a good planner, Booga’s lunch is packed in his lunchbag just like the big kids, and he thinks it’s a great adventure to sit and eat from his lunchbox.  Today it is not, but he doesn’t notice.  Mommy eats leftovers 🙂

The afternoon time is spent playing, watching tv, or going for a walk.

2:00 ish pm: Scooter goes down for his second nap, and Booga helps Mommy with some chores.

…Sort of.  He’s really just running to the window waiting for the big kids to get home…

2:40 pm: Big kids get home and have downtime; playing or watching tv with a snack.

…I really like for them to get outside, weather permitting, and today looks good for that.

3:30 pm: Time for our second therapy session.

…We try to include the big kids in the this one, since Squirt really should be doing all of this, too, I just don’t always have time to do both of them.  Today we are going to do puzzles in the hallway with the scooter board, then I will have him do the sit and spin for awhile.  If I can, I may try and get him on the outside swing, but that depends on Scooter.  REALLY wish we had an indoor swing for this!

4:00 pm: Try to get Booga to play quietly so the big kids can do their homework.

…This is the biggest stress for Squirt, and we still haven’t found a quiet space that still lets me help her and keep her on task, or any kind of motivation.  Last night’s math homework went over 3 hours and I made her quit there.  Hoping today will go better.

4:30 pm: Try to make dinner.

…Tonight is supposed to be Chicken Parmesan, but I don’t see enough chicken.  Might have to get creative.  Hopefully Scooter is sleeping again now, but probably not.

5:30 pm: Dinner time.

…Hopefully.  This can be a stressful time of day, as Booga doesn’t eat anything that feels “stringy” like shredded chicken, or that will get his hands messy.  It’s not that he doesn’t like it, he just CAN’T, and we have to adjust.  It’s hard to make other people understand this, so eating out or with relatives can be tricky.

6:00 pm: Start the bedtime routine.

…If we do it right, this means starting with playdo or clay at the table, a big, warm bath for each of them, a massage with lotion for Squirt and Booga, at least lotion for Boyo, depending on his mood, and books in a darkened room.  All told, this routine could take us 2 hours, but we aim to have them all in bed by 7:30.  This is why my dinner dishes are never done 🙂

8:30 pm: Scooter will fall asleep now, but by now Mommy is usually so tired that I just cuddle with him and watch tv until my own bedtime.  Helps relieve the stress of my day, but doesn’t help my house get clean.  Oh well, I’ll work on that tomorrow…