Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Fun With OT

We had our initial OT evaluation for SmallBoy yesterday. HE had a ball - got to ride on a zip line, jump on a trampoline, hit a punching bag for a good 10 minutes, run around like a knucklehead, and a whole bunch of stuff I couldn't see, AND, when we walked in, he was excited to see his friend from school there, also doing OT. We found it very informative - we being Me, PC, Ex, New Wife, and New Baby. Oh yes, they came. After arguing with me about SmallBoy and thinking that I'm lying about everything, schools, therapies, behavior at home, etc, he decided that he "should be more involved" in SmallBoy's therapies (still doesn't want him for the weekend though - I'll get into that in a bit). So yes, we were all there. I filled out the paperwork, but made sure to ask their opinions on one of the sensory questionnaires so they didn't feel like I was excluding them, and to gauge their opinions on some things - ironically, they were pretty much in agreement with PC & I on everything.

After working very intensively with SmallBoy, Jamie, the OT, came to us and discussed her preliminary observations (although he still has to go back for, oh, another 30mns to complete the eval). She said there was definite sensory integration dysfunction (NO KIDDING), a great lack of body awareness and a lack of him being aware of the space around him and how his body moves through it, balance difficulties, difficulties with midline body activities, visual tracking issues (which I should have suspected would be tied in with the eye contact thing), and a convergence/divergence insufficiency - also with his visual tracking. She said a whole mess of other things too, but I was trying to take copious notes AND hear everything she said so that Ex couldn't throw anything back at me. One very KEY thing that she said, though, was that yes, he definitely qualified for OT services, but due to his academic record being so fantastic, he would not be eligible for services through the school district. You see, she works for the school district also, so she knows these things. At that point, she and I had a dialog about the new IDEA law and the restrictions that it put on the services. This was fabulous, since just the other day, Ex accused me on the phone of lying about his ineligibility for the services because I just wanted to keep SmallBoy in his current school. It was all I could do to restrain myself from doing the "IN YOUR FACE" dance ( I did it in the kitchen with PC as a witness when we got home). The other wonderful thing that came out of this was when the OT was bringing SmallBoy back out to us and she asked him how he was feeling, perhaps expecting tired, pooped, exhausted, whatever. His response: "I feel happy." (pump fist in air with a "YES!")

He was very very excited that we will be going back. We talked about what he liked the best (the zip line), things he felt were hard for him (balance beam), and how cool it was that Jamie is really fun. THAT makes ME happy.

Let me take you back to the waiting area, though. It was interesting to say the least. At first it was a bit uncomfortable, but we managed, for SmallBoy's sake. The comfort level got a little better as we included Ex and New Wife in the survey process...which led to conversation. We talked about lots of things, and I know I'm leaving out a key piece that PC remembers and I don't, but one of the things was what can we do to make SmallBoy feel more at home when he's at Ex's. That developed into, hmm, let's see, maybe we can have things in both places for him - identical things. For example, maybe we could get him the same toothbrush at both places or the same bathtowel. Maybe he can have a set of books that he likes to read - the same at both places. Perhaps SmallBoy could bring a bunch of stuff back and forth that can't really be duplicated - like the things from home that make him comfortable - his snuggle pillow, his bear that sleeps in his bed (he doesn't sleep WITH the bear, the bear sleeps with him - get it?), things like that. Sounds like a great idea.

New Wife then asked how she can tell how much of his behaviors are attributed to the Aspergers (which she called, "the syndrome" - I suppose that's better than AWSBURGERS), and how much are attributed to him never having to do anything at his father's house before he got married (because his dad spoiled him - HA! I was lauging so hard), because his brother and sister always anticipated his needs and took care of him, and how much was attributed to him just being a 9 y/o boy. I said, well, with Asperger's it's hard to attribute anything in any particular "amounts" to anything. Blah blah blah.

After a while, the conversation turned to THE MAIN TOPIC OF CONCERN - the health of New Baby in relation to SmallBoy's handwashing and - God forbid - TOUCHING New Baby's toys (ever, not just after sneezing, coughing, or using the bathroom). She asked me what else she could do to keep him from TOUCHING the baby's toys because he (NB) will get sick if SmallBoy touches the baby's stuff, and that SmallBoy insists on touching it. Had I been thinking, I would have said, listen, New Wife, when SmallBoy was an infant, I ran a daycare in my home. There was always someone there with a cold and yes, it is hard to be constantly monitoring who has boogers, who has washed hands, who has touched the baby's stuff, etc... SmallBoy never got seriously ill because children touched his stuff or touched HIM without washing their hands. I wasn't thinking, though. I simply said, that first of all, the more they stress how off limits the toys are, the more they appeal to him. I said that if they lay off a little each time (or altogether completely), that the novelty will vanish and he will eventually ignore him. We used PC's guitars as an example...PC's guitars sit out around the house in their stands. Initially, Smallboy was fascinated by them. He touched them, knocked them off the stands, picked them up and played with them. Eventually, though, after explaining to him that he couldn't touch them and then, harping less and less, but praising him for other things, he stopped. Now he walks past them and doesn't even look at them. New Wife echoed the statement of Ex, though when she said, "Well, it's not as though I can just zip him to my side to make sure he doesn't touch any of [New Baby's] toys. I have to take care of the baby, and I'm not locking his stuff up everytime SmallBoy comes over."

AAAAARRRRGGGGHHH!!! Granted, New Wife works in a NICU, so she's very into things being clean and sanitary, but I think she's gotten just a little carried away with this, don't you? So as we're leaving, and SmallBoy is saying his goodbyes, he turns to his dad and asks, "Will LargeBoy & Girl only be coming over to your house this weekend?" Hmmm....I've not said anything to him about him being excluded. Wonder where he got that? I cut him off and told him that they would talk about it later, because I will NOT have him stand there and get hurt by his father while he's outside in the freezing cold after working his butt off at OT. It wasn't the time or place, either, but I was also kind of hoping that perhaps Ex and New Wife would go home and have a discussion and maybe re-think what they're doing to him. I doubt it, but we'll see.

14 comments:

Roni said...

wow! Congrats on being the adult in the situation. Sounds like new wife is just being the crazy new mom with a touch of crazy nicu in her. She does need to chill thou. Hopefully she has more sense than the Ex, esp with her medical background and being at the OT session. Good luck! And make the Ex tell SmallBoy to his face that he can't come over. Don't let the Ex off the hook about hurting the kids feelings. Someone has to break his heart...might as well be his daddy, so he hears it from the source. At least, that's my opinion. Good luck.

mommyguilt said...

Thanks, Roni. Oh yes, I will make his father tell him. I told him that he needs to expect a meltdown too, and that he absolutely canNOT get angry with SmallBoy OR make him feel it is HIS fault. Girl already told me she won't go either.

You're absolutely right, though. I think New Wife is taking her hospital stuff to extent. I mean seriously, when people have more than one child, they're usually spaced so that the older of the children is still a toddler, right - dirty hands, snotty nose, MUST have all of sibs toys...DUH None of US ever died from that. I do think she's more the cause of this, but, at the same time, she will be the one to understand the Asperger's first, too - with a little more education in it.

Felicity said...

NW sounds like an ass, just like her husband. My kids have awesome immune systems because I barely ever clean and never ever sanitized anything...I was breastfeeding, so, it wasn't really an issue. But still. Those worrying Mommas give me the willies.

Laura said...

She seriously needs to get over these issues. Home is not a NICU. The baby is generally healthy, right? So he could use some exposure to germs. Otherwise he will get into school and be sick constantly. Sheesh.

Good for you doing the right thing. We're rooting for you over here!

Moi ;) said...

NICU Wife will find out soon enough, minute she takes the kid to that germ haven, WalMart, they will come home and kid will get sick. Just wait. ;D I only have one kid, but I know about germ exposure, lol.

If she doesn't put the toys away while SmallBoy is there, and if she has no "rules" for him to follow, then she shouldn't bitch. If she makes "rules" kids like ours will tend to follow them. I mean, really, why do the SMART thing? Rather than yell at him when he does something he has no clue is wrong.

Idiots. You have my permission to slap her silly.

Astryngia said...

LOL If it's her first child, she probably thinks she's doing the right thing by the baby. It's not because of smallboy, it's because of how she thinks a mother should responsibly protect her baby against war, famine. marauding bandits and...germs. I only ever had one baby but even I know how I changed in terms of cleanliness and 'perfection' by the time he was three. I was too exhausted for cleanliness by then. She'll get there, too. ;-)

Astryngia said...

PS LOTS of fantastic news, there!!! :-)

mommyguilt said...

Thanks! Ironically, New Baby is her second child. 1st child is 14, and very close with Girl. NW told me, "Well, things were fine before we brought the baby home...." Yep...uh huh...go fig. Oh, and I LOVE the comment in the post below about them using SmallBoy's AS as their scapegoat for their arguments/issues with each other. You are SO right on the money

Octoberbabies said...

Why the f*ck are they acting like they've never been around a newborn before?!

One short conversation with my mother and all the things she did abysmally wrong when I was an infant and they'll see just how hard it is to kill a newborn :-P

Moi ;) said...

Meh, like I told C, Baby will do the paybacks - hopefully she will bring home head lice....and sleep in their bed before they find out.... ;D

Anonymous said...

well....I stopped sterilizing my boys' bottles and toys when I saw one of them eating dog do....they built up some great antibodies after that and never missed a day of school until high school.... NW is trying to make new baby the center of everyone's universe...she should know better. How many years do you give THAT marriage??

Anonymous said...

I am thrilled that Smallboy liked OT!! I am so proud of you and PC for being so good for that lucky Smallboy.....every child needs an advocate, and he has two of the best....but don't forget Team Smallboy too....we love him, and...I am just not getting the germ factor. Loved, loved loved your daycare analogy. You Rule, Girl!!

mommyguilt said...

You guys are the best. The truth, with a bit of snarky-ness thrown in,is always much more easily swallowed. I think today is the day that Ex will be having his "talk" with the kids. He told them that they don't understand WHY SmallBoy can't be there, and that once he explains it they'll come around. HA! I'll keep you posted on that one.

Thanks, my favorite people, for your support, advice, and snarkiness.

marti said...

Just my 2 Freudian cents ... New Wife is quite sure and is quite terrified that New Baby will, if not guarded with the autority, die a horrifying death like many NICU babies have done under her and her co-workers watch. Such is the NICU. However, she needs a good shrink, and MommyGuilt needs to toast herself and PC with another glass of wine because THEY are fantastic parents.