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Thursday, March 20, 2008


A little known fact about me is that when I was little (maybe 4 years old or so), I dreaded waking up and having to get dressed every day. I hated getting dressed. Socks were the worst. You see, I hated the way clothes felt on me. I can't even explain the feeling, really, but I just couldn't stand it and most clothes had to be removed immediately. There wasn't 1 pair of socks that felt right; the seams always caused me problems. These issues led to hours of me screaming and crying because I just couldn't bear that feeling of those clothes on my body. And my mother was not much help. She thought I was just being difficult. She even decided that because I was being so "difficult", she would take me to a child psychologist, who told her that blue eyed, blond haired, fair skinned girls were simply over sensitive. That was the end of the search for what was wrong with me. I lived the next 25 years of my life with these issues, although they aren't as bad now.

Well, the other night I was doing some research on a particular disorder because some of the symptoms seemed to show up in my 4-year-old son. As I was reading, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Right there in front of me, I saw my exact childhood (and some now) symptoms. The disorder is called sensory integration disorder and it has to do with the brain either over-processing or under-processing stimuli to the senses. This can affect one or more of the senses and can be very stressful for the child. The treatment is occupational therapy, which sounds pretty easy compared to what some kids have and go through. Apparently, the kind I had (have) affects my sense of touch and my brain must be over-processing it because I really don't like things to touch me. I was stunned. I actually began to cry, thinking, "Surely this disorder was around when I was a kid. Why didn't anyone know?" I really wanted a straight answer, but I know that, even if I was speaking to her, I would get the same answer I always got from my mother: "I did the best I could. You were a monster and no one knew what to do with you. I had 2 other kids to deal with." Sweet mom, huh? Thanks, Kathie. I'm so mad right now. I can't believe I could have been treated for this and maybe had some of my childhood back (although for other reasons, some of my childhood was lost for good). I might be able to hug my husband and not cringe (because I hate to be touched). I might be able to buy any pair of socks I like without having to first inspect them to make sure they're going to feel OK. I know these are minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of things, but I can't help feeling gypped. Why did my older brother get his affliction treated when his knees started hurting? He was seen my many specialists who finally diagnosed him with RA. Why did my younger brother get his affliction treated when he started going, for lack of a better word, crazy? They took him all over to get a diagnosis of ADHD. Why did my mother settle for the first, idiotic I might add, idea from some obvious quack when it was me who needed help? God I needed help. Inside I was screaming for help. But no one wanted to listen. Why was I treated like my "pain" didn't matter?

These questions will probably go unanswered as long as I live. I suppose, though, there is some good that came from this experience. I will now always question anything with my kids that's not "normal". I will always listen when my kids tell me something just isn't right. I will always err on the side of caution when it comes to their physical, emotional, or mental health. I will never let my kids suffer the way I had to suffer.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The kids had some fun today. We took them to an Easter Egg hunt at the church where our 4-year-old goes to preschool. They told us that there were enough eggs for each kid to get 20, so if your kid got 20, they were to stop. Pretty simple rules, I thought. I knew we didn't have anything to worry about because I figured Charlie would try to give some eggs to other kids just to be nice. So we started with our 20-month-old, who was in the 2-3 year old group. She didn't really get the idea and just wanted to play with the toys. We had Charlie "help" her, which was really just him going and getting the eggs. But no one seemed to mind and she only got about 10 in the end, so plenty for the others. So then we went with the 4-5 year old group. There was this overweight little kid in there with probably more than 20 before they had even started. So the kids started and he is just running all over the place getting all the eggs. He must have had 40 in his basket by the end. Some kids only had a few; Charlie ended up with about 10. I kept looking for this kid's parent and couldn't see anyone who looked like he belonged to them. I thought it was a little rude of a parent to allow her kid to get double the amount they clearly stated in the beginning. These are just little kids and they don't understand why some bigger kid gets more. Luckily, none of the kids in the room seemed to care about his full basket (which he kept showing everyone bragging about how many he got). So it made total sense to me that there was no parent around. I knew Charlie could be in there without us, but we wanted to see him having fun. I guess this kid's parent didn't care, which explains the kid's attitude.

Maybe I'm being too sensitive about it, but I cannot stand parents who really don't want to BE parents. I don't understand why some people even have kids. It is painfully obvious that some parents don't even like their kids or want to spend any more time than is absolutely necessary. I'm not saying I'm a perfect parent, but I'm baffled at how some parents act around their kids. I know someone who says she loves her kids, but doesn't discipline them or make any time for them. She certainly takes time for herself though. I feel bad for those kids. They don't deserve to live life like that. But that's what this girl chose. She chose to have 3 kids that she doesn't want anymore and they are suffering for it. So sad...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Always do your best and wear your underwear!

This advice was given to me by my 4-year-old just last week. I was having a particularly trying day. I fly solo on weeknights because my husband works, so while I was cleaning up from a very messy dinner, I was simultaneously trying to keep an eye on the kids who were supposed to be playing "nicely" in the playroom. My son runs into the kitchen and sees me trying to be supermom and offers the advice, "always do your best, mom, and wear your underwear!" As funny as it sounds, that was exactly what I needed at that very moment. How did he know that this advice would have helped me through the night and, in turn, help him have a better night? He has what I call a sixth sense about things like that. He always seems to know when I need a laugh. And he can always deliver. Like the other day, when he felt an overwhelming need to tell us how his you know what was like a cement mixer. This caught us off guard, but he was totally serious. When we finally realized that he was not really even trying to be funny, we had to compose ourselves and engage him in the 10 minute conversation that followed on the subject.