Saturday, November 28, 2015

Underwear Required

Max lives in a very naked world. Underwear required. 
Max is now potty-trained which was a HUGE deal! 
He still wears pull-ups at night, but most nights will wake up dry and go potty right when he wakes up.  It has been life changing.  He gets so excited about going and screams "I did it!" after every success.  But beyond being potty trained his sensory issues have taken a huge nose dive. 
He hates clothes and takes them off any chance he gets.  Now, we understand that being naked is a part of childhood, and it is "normal", but Max screams, cries, fights, and tantrums over the thought of getting dressed.  He has taken his clothes off in inappropriate places and we have had to fight to put them back on.  He doesn't like the feeling of anything on his skin, not matter what fabric.  He tolerates it when he is forced.  We do know that cotton clothing and soft materials are more tolerable than others. 
At school he wears these noise blocking earphones to help block noise. 
Dexter has his own sensory issues.  He doesn't like anything covering him while he sleeps, he hates loud noises and gets overwhelmed in loud places.  Dexter is starting to become very picky with textures of food, and just like Max, is starting to drink more of his diet than eat solids.  We are trying different methods to get Dexter to eat, and when either Max or Dexter requests something to eat we are happy to oblige for them.  We just need both of them to get calories.  People are always shocked when they hear how Max eats because he is off the charts in height and weight, but Dexter isn't even on the charts and can use the calories!

One thing that Will and I wish people would understand about Max and Dexter is how overwhelmed they get in large groups, on holidays, and anything that is out of the norm.  For example, Thanksgiving Day was spent at Aunt Katie's house.  We had a great time, and Max and Dexter actually did great.  Max had one major melt-down but other than that the day went smooth.  On the way home Max got fixated on a helicopter that he played with at his Aunt's house.  This turned into a tantrum that lasted all the way home, and then into the night.  It took us two hours to get him calm and into bed once at home.  Then the next day his body was exhausted and he spent most of the day calming his brain down.  He spent so much of Thanksgiving trying to stay calm which takes a lot of brain power for Max.  We have to pick and choose how many events we do in a day and in a week because too much can really be hard on our whole family once we get home. 

Holidays and social situations have changed for us.  But our boys are teaching us that it is okay to be different.  Different is good. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Overwhelmed on Halloween

Being overwhelmed is such an awful feeling. 
It can be described as: 
-to overpower or overcome, especially with superior forces; destroy; crush.
-to cover or bury beneath a mass of something
-to load, heap, treat, or address with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything 
(a child overwhelmed with presents; to overwhelm someone with questions.)
I get overwhelmed and anxious when I have to much scheduled in one day.  I start the day feeling tied and worried about the long-jammed-packed day ahead.  I also get overwhelmed if I get behind on grading and the piles are stacking up against me.  
This year for Halloween we were prepared for Max to be overwhelmed by the end of the two day holiday.  This year Halloween was two days because it was celebrated in school on Friday and also on the actual day of Halloween.  This year was better than last year, and I am sure in years to come  will be even better than the last.  
Max gets overwhelmed easily.  He doesn't lash out, or hurt himself like he used to, but he gets very emotional and screams and cries.  His overwhelming behavior might not be apparent until later that night or the next day.  His mind can only take so much stimulation and once it hits maximum capacity he spins downward.  He goes into manic behaviors especially at night.  He can't fall asleep, he talks very fast and in gibberish, he cries, and can get physically violent.  It is very hard to watch.  This is why we have to be careful as parents to pick and choose what activities we do around the holidays.  We want Max to be involved but not at his expense.  

Children and teens having a manic episode may:
  • Feel very happy or act silly in a way that's unusual
  • Have a very short temper
  • Talk really fast about a lot of different things
  • Have trouble sleeping but not feel tired
  • Have trouble staying focused
  • Do risky things.
This year Max had two packed days.  Between his classroom party and then trick-or-treating on Saturday with his cousins Max was done.  Saturday night he was up until 2am and mad at the world.  Will and I knew this would happen, and we prepared for it.  But finally on Sunday his body crashed.  He wanted to do nothing but sit and watch his i-pad.  Which we let him.  He needed his brain to relax.  He needed to re-focus.  It is all about balance and being okay with taking a day (or even two) to regroup.  And yes, that means Max has a lot of "screen" time, and yes we are okay with this.  
 We are learning on step at a time.  
This year the boys were Mario Brothers.  It was a perfect, simple, cotton costume.  
Past costumes:

Max's First Halloween: