Bit # 1: The other day, Happy was evaluated for Occupational Therapy. I knew he had some tactile, auditory, and sensory seeking behaviors that were likely off the scale of normal and thought we would at least check to see if they were the sorts of things that register on the OT’s scale. Anyway, the OT handed me this survey to fill out on Happy’s behaviors and one of the first questions was Does your child like to put things in his mouth? Um, that would be a yes. Everything but food. Food, not so much. Eating is a drag for him but other stuff (and in the case of the photo above- fake food), all about it. Yesterday, I discovered the buttons on my calculator had been chewed off. Cannot blame Lola for that one. She is not nearly so precise.
Anyway, Happy technically qualifies for OT in the areas that I felt we were seeing some issues but the OT evaluator also felt like we were doing so many of the modifcations at home already that formal occupational therapy wouldn’t help us get much further. Kudos to all the folks in our pre-adoption education who had us read as much as we could beforehand about working with children with different needs so that we could be better prepared when we came home. Right now, our approach is to, as we transition, to let Happy know the next few steps that will happen. As we prepare for nap, I tell him that we are going to read, then change his diaper, and then go night-night and we repeat that several times throughout the reading, etc so he knows what is coming next and can prepare himself. We give him time to become still in between activities. For example, if we have dinner out– whether just as a family or with other people- we need to come home and have transition time before he can get into the bath without it being too hard for him. So, we leave in time to build in that transition time at home. We also try to do a fair amount of safe physical activity with him on our terms- maybe more than the average kid needs- so that he doesn’t have to go seeking them out on his terms which may be less safe. So there is guided big jumping, pillow crashing, big bear hugs, Happy sandwiches, wheelbarrow walking, etc to help him get all that input he both wants and needs every day. We also choose a preschool that has a fair amount of physical activity built into their days including gymnastics a couple times a week. Each day it feels like we get one more piece of the parenting puzzle figured out and that’s feeling really good and productive right now. Hooray!
Bit # 2: So, I’ve noticed this for about the last year with Happy and it still just cracks me up (and I don’t believe that I’ve told y’all this yet). Every time Happy sees me after it’s been awhile (ie: when I pick him up from preschool or come home from working away from the house), he screams and then instantly says, “Milk.” It totally cracks me up that he associates me with milk even though I didn’t breastfeed him and I don’t believe he was ever breastfed. Milk=Mom, we even know that at our nontraditional family house!
And another observation: When it comes to prayer, I tend to limit my personal prayers to one of two varieties- prayers for strength and prayers of thanks. Outside of that, I have long, personally, felt that I don’t really have a right to ask for more than strength because as a person with faith and a deep spiritual root, I believe that my life is not accidental- so what has been handed to me has been handed to me for a reason- what I need is the strength or grace or etc to get through it, if that makes sense. Anyway, that means I try to source out gratitude in my personal prayers or ask for the guidance and wisdom and perseverance and compassion and resolve that I need to make it through something. I tend to be an all day long pray-er. Meaning that when something strikes me is when I send up the prayer– at whatever time of day it is, wherever I am when I hear about what someone’s going through or read something in the news. Anyway, I’ve noticed over the last year and a half that I have a new constant prayer. It is not one that I am particularly proud of, but it is one that I know I used to say over 200 (I would chant it over and over again, I am not kidding) times a day when we were faced with the constant lack of sleep and that I now probably say 5-10 times a day as we’ve gotten down to just bad naps (and getting less bad every day, I might add) and more moderate nighttime sleep issues (and this is not a prayer that technically qualifies in my prayers for strength or prayers of thanks categories). If you are looking in my window mid-afternoon or mid-evening, you can most definitely read the following on my lips, “Please, God, please let this baby sleep.”