Sunday, March 21, 2010

A sad video, and a happy one

I took a video thursday to try to illustrate how worked up and anxious Jake has been lately. This isn't a tantrum, this is how he has been acting at home for a couple of weeks. The high pitched "uhhh uhhh uhhhh" was pretty much a constant. Just a little ball of nerves. Everything is "scary." I know this is a long one, and hard to watch. A couple of things to notice: His unusual language pattern "No broke on the school!" (I'm going to break the school? Maybe?) He makes an "explosion" sound and sign when he gets worked up talking about school to demonstrate how much he doesn't want to go to school. Random sentences "Want some helicopter." Oh, and he has been eating Mommy's dark chocolate hence the Joker mouth.

Maybe that helps to show why I haven't been able to blog lately... I've just been a wreck hoping that eventually SOMETHING would make him happy again. Sometimes I forget that he has these spells when he's trying to work through something new. The past few days he has made a 180 degree turnaround and has been happier, has begun to talk more, and although he has had some tantrums (what almost 5 year old doesn't), those tantrums have a beginning, and so thankfully, an end. I didn't know if I could endure another rainy day stuck indoors, but here is how most of the day was spent:

At least he's quiet.

Deep cleansing breath.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I've been run down...

I can't believe that its been over a month since I blogged. My dad actually wrote me an email and asked if I had moved my webpage. Honestly, facebook is fun, and I love posting about our antics and having our experience validated by my friends, but I post the less exciting details here. I don't even know what to say about what has been going on this month, its been hectic, there is no schedule,....

Manny has been going to therapy with Cindy on Friday mornings. She wants to work with him with weighted clothes, pressure suits and other things that I am only barely beginning to understand. I have had experience with restless leg syndrome, and I understand the way that dogs experience the world. I try my best to try to understand how my children must see the world. I am capable of sewing some of the therapy equipment that is suggested to me, however I am having a really hard time motivating myself to sew some new items to try to increase sales, since business is at a standstill. It is hard to explain, but I really want several DAYS to lock myself into the sewing room and create, sew awesome backpacks and messengers that people will buy, pants for my kids, a dress for me, a pair of shorts for Steve for his birthday that has come and gone.... but instead my time is cut into one or two hour pieces, interrupted by dog grooming clients that barely pay me for my time, my late obsession with getting fit and healthy (just another constant source of guilt), laundry that is getting behind .. and scattered amongst days. I shouldn't really complain and act like an uptight artist type.. but it is still frustrating.. the job that used to be a "real job" has turned into a big fat flop... it will get better, I'm sure?

Gosh, that last paragraph describes exactly why I have avoided blogging for so long. I am losing my ability to organize my thoughts, I think.

Please enjoy this video of a talk given by the great autistic scholar, Temple Grandin. I can't imagine, if you know and love Jake, or me, for that matter, this video should make you go "oooooh.. yeah.. now I get it" :

Manny still wasn't sleeping, as of 2 weeks ago, more than a few hours per night. It was enough to make everyone insane. Its really hard to explain to anyone what it is like to go without "real" sleep for 2 or 3 years. Most people think that you are exxaggerating. Those who don't think that you are exaggerating think that you aren't doing it right,a and if you'd just impart some harsher sleep tactics..... And only the most special of people are willing to offer to help.. on a weeknight.. just cause... (thanks, y'all).

One night Manny woke up at 11:30 Pm and didn't go back to sleep for 14 hours (after waking us up for 3 consecutive nights after a few hours of sleep). Jake got up at 4:30 AM and due to a frustrated mommy and a badly timed JERK to a blanket that Jake was standing/pulling on, Jake fell and his teeth hit the hardwood floor and his two front teeth ended up busted loose. I"m not going to talk a lot more about this incident.. because it was horrible.. probably the worst moment in my entire life. I need to push the keyboard away for just a few minutes so I can cry....

Jake completely blames me for this incident, because I was obviously angry when it happened... though I never thought he'd hit the floor if I jerked the blanket. He shows many signs that he is traumatized. Just like when I tried to send him to preschool when he was 3, he has decided that he MUST wear a hat, even when he's asleep. One of his teeth has nerve damage so it is dying. The teachers at school have showed a concern so I have taken him by Dr. Patterson's office to see if there's anything to be done for his dead tooth. No, it will be fine.. many children fall and bust their teeth... its a common injury.....

The incident has opened a new chapter in my relationship with my children. I must learn to keep my temper, no matter how it is challenged, move physically slower when I am angry, and try to accept what is happening in my life, even if it means less sleep.. much less sleep. Jake was already having a "spell" of unusual and really neurotic behaviour before this incident.. it couldn't have come at a worse time and I can't stop blaming msyelf.

At the advice of other parents, literature, and Manny's therapist, we have been giving him melatonin supplements. The change is so insanely dramatic I am almost afraid to post it here. With 3-4 mg of melatonin, Manny tends to sleep through the night from around 9 PM until 6 AM (give or take).

We barely know what to do when we wake up at 5 or 6 AM and he is still asleep...

I anguished over the decision to finally try to medicate him, even with melatonin.. which is a STRONG drug to me (makes me disoriented/sleepwalk, with just 1 MG). Finally, out of desperation, I gave him 3 MG of sublingual melatonin. He slept all night, until 6 AM.. a first. He had only been sleeping from about 8 or 9 until 2 or 3 AM consistently.

I was hesistant to admit to "conventional" practicioners that I was giving him melatonin.. I usually get chastised for pretty much anything I do.

Cindy, as usual, came to my rescue and agreed that a couple of weeks of melatonin therapy might jump-start his own pineal gland. I also read buku studies showing that children with NF1 may not produce melatonin all night.. and have a problem with night-waking. Also..the pineal gland is part of the thalmus.. and located very close to Manny's tumor.

While visiting Greenlife on Steve's birthday celebration (I think he had fun) to pick up a new supply of melatonin.. we went to check out at the check-out stand. The young lady running the register beeped our melatonin and said "be careful with that stuff.. its serious medicine."

"umm.. yeah." I said, kinda stunned. "I can't really take it" (i can't!)

she said "well, if you take it a lot, you become dependent on it, and your brain can't make your own melatonin, just be careful with it.. i'm not a fan."

I anguish. I lay awake. I can barely stand myself I'm so worked up over whether or not I'm making the right decisions for my children. If you run the checkout counter of a health food store... Please shut up.

Anne Monk, the special instructor from Babies Can't Wait works 1 day per week with Many at his preschool. Steve (and I) are always really happy when Manny says "juice" or "cheese"... he hasn't said many more words than that. I try.. i swear I try to stay positive. I think that Manny may obtain a pretty good vocabulary of nouns, however.. I am not sitting here thinking that he'll snap out of it, and ever become an adult who isn't a special needs person. Eveyone gets really angry at me for thinking that.

Steve and I have been very very lucky to have been able to attend several music events: Yonder at the Tabernacle, Further at the Tabernacle, I went alone/with friends to see Trey at the Tabernacle, Steve saw Sam Bush at Rhytmn and Brews, and we both caught Cornmeal this past weekend at rhythm and Brews.

Steve's birthday was yesterday on St. Patty's, and he wanted to go out. Unfortunately he was confined to the hours of 2 PM until 6 PM for his party. We lucked out, and after a wonderful lunch at Terminal Brewhouse we headed to Greenlife for whisky tasting on to St. Elmo for a crazy and impromptu parade and then onto the Moccasin Bend Brewhouse. I think he enjoyed himself :)

Last year we had a rockin cool time at Jake's birthday party. I am hesistant to call this years "Spring Thingamafling" a birthday party, but it should be a fun time. Don't tell anyone, but SLIM PICKINS! should be there. Start marking May 22 on your calendar.

Thats the best I can do to sum up a whole month :) Cheers.