Monday, March 29, 2010

From a Good Night Kiss

I was checking the boys one last time before heading off to bed myself. Re-covered them both, and, as always, hoisted Charlie into a more "normal" looking sleeping position (you know, instead of feet up by head, or top half of body dangling off the mattress and bottom in the air).

Giving each a kiss on the forehead, I had to pause by Charlie's side. Look at him. He is a child that is just hard to pin point. Sometimes I wonder, "What IS his age?" How do I relate to this little boy, who has been in our lives for four beautiful years. When I tuck him in at night, I still feel like I am kissing a sweet baby on the cheek. His face is so young, his body so small, his mind to tender.

And you should see how preposterous a sight it is to strap a back-pack on his back during the week to send him off to the school bus. Passers bye must think it odd to see a dad loading such a small child onto such a big, yellow rig, heading off for school.

I don't mind it. It is just intruiging to me. Will, when he is 15 or 18, I still look in on him at night and see such a sweet little boy. Will he ever grow up, at least in my eyes? Time goes so slow with him. He is very clever, and much more mature than Calvin in many ways, but in others, still so, oh, I don't know, unspoiled, or as yet undefined, or just less informed? It is hard to say, because I don't want to make less his effort or inquisitiveness. He is just a different kind of boy to raise. But, I am very glad to have been given the chance.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Health is Restored...

...Except for some possible conjunctivitis coming on. We'll see how gooey and red Cal's eye is in the morning.

Anyway, Happy World Down Syndrome Day! Go Charlie!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Poor Calvin is spiking fevers so high it is making him chat to us delirously. He told us he was "little baby chop chop," and some other weird things. Fever is coming down now with some drugs (down to a nice and cool 103.4).

He had two jabs yesterday at his check-up. So, I'm guessing his fever may be a vaccine reaction, though he has only ever spiked very low fevers in the past from vaccines, if at all. We tend to space our vaccines out and slow down the schedule, and boy, I'm glad I did not have them throw the third one in they had offed. It seems two was plenty for this round!

He was so anxious during his appointment, anticipating the pokes I suppose, that at one point when the doctor came toward him with the flashlight-thingy to look in his ears he began to struggle and cried out, "Oh God, No!" Which, was pretty hilarious considering his desperation. It was not what he really said, because he would have no clue to use that phrase (just not something we say), especially for that context. Or, maybe I am wrong, and he was ernestly calling out to God for help. Who knows, the point is the whole appointment was so stressful for him. He was not the calm baby they have seen in the past at all. The Dr. asked if I had brought in the same laid-back Calvin she has always seen before.

Yesterday after his nap was the first sign of trouble when he called for me because he could not (more like, would not) move his legs. He was so tense during the shots that I think his injection area was especially stiff and sore. I gave him to pain meds, and slowly, slowly he worked his way up to trying his legs again. He has been hobbling around ever since, though. There is no swelling or redness at all, just muscle soreness I think from getting jabbed in such tensed-up tissue.

Last night he began in with the fevers. 102 and 103 or so. Feeling really rotten, and having the chills. He was only comforted yesterday evening by calling all his favorite people on the phone. Thanks everyone who played along to listen to his sad story of Doctors office visit, and his triumph of earning a sticker after all the drama was finished.

Anyway, his fever tonight was up to 104.7. Yipes! It has never been so high before. He was just out of it, talking with eyes half open, saying things that did not make any sense at all. He would say something, and Ray and I would just look at each other with worry. Luckily Tylenol is bringing his fever down, or we would be really worried.

Anyway, say a little prayer for our Calvin. He has no other symptoms, just the fever. Hopefully this ends soon!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Just Normal Stuff

There is not... a whole lot going on here. Always something, of course. But not so much blogging I suppose. I was thinking tonight about just how normal our little life seems. One mama, One dad. One boy who is four and yet is so tiny and tender, and one boy who is two, and who all at once is ready for the world and needing mommy's arms around him, tight. The last couple evenings at the dinner table I just marveled at our little family. Our little dynamic that is ours and so comfortable and homey. I'm at home with all these fellas.

A Calvin Story.
One of Calvin's favorite things to do is draw with markers. You should see his creations. Drawing is for him, however, a collaborative affair, and he will often pipe up with a request for mommy or daddy to draw a "steam engine" or a "diesel engine" or a "milk truck" or "Grandpa's truck" or "a horse" or "a dog". Tonight it was happy faces he wanted. He drew the circle. Mommy drew the face. Then Calvin finished it off my adding hair, oh so carefully. I'm amazed at the control he exerts over his pen, even while holding it in a full fist.

That Calvin amazes me. His birthday is this Saturday. He will be two. Though, in truth, I think he has been two for a good long while now. Sweet boy.

A Charlie Story.
Talking with Charlie is a certain task. You have to listen closely. Pay attention to body language, and the occasional ASL sign he throws in for clarification of emphasis. Tonight over at Grandpa and Grandma's we two were talking about Boris, our little Russian Tortoise that lives in a big wooden box at their house. Charlie was telling me a great deal of things. He was excited to see Boris, and told me he was "sleepy" and showed me where he slept. He told me where his food was, but explained that Boris was "not hungy, no eat gwass." We talked and talked, and it was really great to hear him using full sentences and expressing so much. So much of our communication is stunted by daily commotion that makes it hard to take time to really hear and see and experience what Charlie has to say. It was a sweet moment.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sensory, um, Issues

We are at the beginning of a new journey. Well, it is not really new. It is old. Okay, four years old, that is. I guess we are on a journey of discovery, or "connecting the dots" as one mom put it to me, about how Charlie deals with sensory information.

The background: I can't remember a time when Charlie could ever be in a room of people and noise and NOT feel totally overwhelmed. When he was a baby, overwhelmed meant having a good cry. Now it means the "flop-n-drop" on the ground, becoming a totally immobile pile of little boy. It means folding in half in his chair at a restaurant and refusing to eat. It means trying to bolt out the door of church is something is different than the usual when we walk in. It means anxiety.

A few weeks ago I was about to write a post about extreme shyness. He is, after all, an introvert like his mom, and I was thinking his behavior was about not wanting to interact with tons of strange adults. That could be part of it. I mean, just being Charlie attracts attention. People stop to say "hi" to him all the time and desperately want him to acknowledge them. He is a special little boy. It must be concerning to an introvert to have people drawn to you. It's good for me. I get to fly under the radar like a true introvert would rather. Charlie gets all the attention. (Well, Calvin draws his fair share of attention as well, because he just has those electric little eyes and sly grin. Oh, and he's 2! Maybe I should have more children, no one will ever notice me again if I am buried beneath loads of beautiful faces, right?)

Well, after pondering this shyness for some time, and after a very pertinent conversation with our Pastors one evening, both of whom happen to be counselors in their day jobs, we started to wonder if there is more to this than one boy feeling very shy.

For one, I notice that when we are out of doors, Charlie will say "hi" to a person passing buy. He will gladly oblige and pet their dog if they offer. He will run and scream and laugh and chat with us, even at the farmers market where there are lots of folks around. But, if you put all those folks inside a building, he can't handle it. He becomes the pile of boy on the floor, full of anxiousness and unable to enjoy himself.

It can be overcome. With repeated exposure (like, lots and lots and lots, and, um, lots!) he will eventually become comfortable in a place. Just this past week his teachers have shared with me that he has been coming out of his shell, talking, and even making a friend at school. It has taken full a year. He is fine in the grocery store and the doctors office, oh, and the dentist office is one of his all time favorite places to go, period! But other places, uh, not-so-much.

Our counselor friend put it to us like this using his own terminology: It seems as if Charlie has a bit of "sensory distraction" going on. He is overwhelmed with all the sensory info he is taking in when he is in new places or meeting new people. The more people, the more noise, the more the commotion, the less functional he becomes.

Essentially, he is experiencing an overload, and not having the least bit of a comfortable time trying to make sense of it all. Another friend in a support group likened it to being in flight or fight mode when all the sensory info is coming at you, and you just can't figure out what to do with it. Or, for Charlie, "flop mode".

Anyway, Sensory Processing issues are complicated, you know, multifaceted, after all, we all have 6 senses (yes, six! sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, and proprioceptive). We are looking in to having him assessed for sensory processing issues. I anticipate it will be tricky, given that I DO believe he is a quiet, cautious child to begin with. It may be difficult to figure out what is influenced by what and how in x-situation with x-number of unfamiliar people and whatever else could possibly be factored in.

As for me, I'm not so interested in giving him another label unless it would serve him. I am simply hoping that his difficulties can be addressed in all that good therapy he is receiving at school, and that his therapists can educate Ray and I on how to help him cope better in the world. It would do my mama's heart good to have some tools to help Charlie through situations that I can see cause him so much stress.
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