Today was Oliver’s second trip to the dentist. He receives dental care from a center with doctors who specialize in autism. Our first trip, 6 months ago (you can read about how that went here), didn’t go as well as I had hoped. As a matter of fact, to quote myself, “Oliver’s 1st dentist appointment and, boy did it go as I had hoped it wouldn’t.” Don’t get me wrong, the staff was great, as were the parents; it was just that he was in a new place that he wasn’t able to freely roam around and explore. He was only few months into therapy at that point and, with that in mind while comparing these two trips, it was made even more blatantly obvious just how much progress he has made. The only tears that were shed were during the brief invasion of his mouth. To quote myself in my post regarding his first trip to the dentist, “he shrieked while running around in search of an exit; he wailed as he threw himself onto the floor. I tried to show him videos of himself on my phone, I tried to make a game out of running back and forth, and I tried singing his favorite songs with him; however, nothing helped. When he gets into sensory overload mode, it can be impossible to pull him out of it without removing him from the new environment.” This time was different for both of us. He went into the building in his stroller and a hat to, in a way, “hide” from all of the people and fluorescent lights. He also found comfort in watching videos of himself, which did not work for us last time around. He did wonderful and I couldn’t be happier! This center (visit their website here) is amazing and I would highly recommend it to anyone on the spectrum or who has a child on the spectrum. And…… NO CAVITIES! Hooray for healthy eating and incessant tooth brushing.
This past Saturday morning, we trekked down to an AMC Theatre for their Sensory Friendly showing of Finding Dory (click here to find out when your local AMC theatre is hosting a Sensory Friendly Film). We arrived, found a seat, and were fine (for the most part–there was some running around for all but one preview) up until the movie began. When baby Dory made her way onto the screen, Oliver stood up and quickly wiggled his way past the stroller barricade that I crafted to contain him to the aisle. He ran down to the bottom area, near the screen. I chased after him and kneeled near the lowest seat, motioning for him to come back. He started dancing and running in circles and then, following a look of play, ran as fast as he could toward the other set of stairs and up them. I, for some reason, thought that I could reach him if I ran up my set of stairs and walked around the top. Movie going has been scarce throughout the past 2.5 years, so I must have forgotten that that isn’t the case. I watched him closely as I ran back down, noticing a look of distress when he didn’t recognise any of the faces in the packed full theatre room. With that being said, he ran back down; both of us reaching the bottom simultaneously. I scooped him up and we left. Seeing as how he can’t sit still for the life of him at home, I should have assumed that this would be the case in a loud, crowded room, as well. At least now I know that he is not ready for movie outings. I will try again in due time!
What do movie theatre trips look like for all of you?
- Successfully consumed 2 full sippy cups of juice.
- Said “mama” and “nana” for the first times in well over a year.
- Said “no” and shook his head along with it appropriately.
- Started saying “under” when going under blankets.
- Starting saying “three”. He can count 1-5 on his hands and say “two” (and now “three”).
- Hugged and kissed a fellow toddler without being prompted!
While a majority of my days with Oliver reflect growth and happiness, today was one of the off days. I always try my best to keep my cool; I aim to be persistent, understanding, and encouraging for him.
He is still drinking from bottles, despite working on it in his autism class (and his occupational therapist and at home with me). When he isn’t biting off the tips of the nipples, he is shaking and/or pressing it into the floor to make it all spill out. After yet another puddle this morning, I took it away and gave him a sippy cup and figured if he got thirsty enough he would drink from it. This was not the case.
He is also still having issues with feeding. He’s allergic to a lot of different foods (see my post on “Allergy Test” to read about his allergies) and also happens to be extremely picky. In addition to feeling the need to give him his sippy cup, I also decided that he was going to attempt GFCF waffles, carrots, rice crisps, and almond cheese this morning. I know that one food needs to be introduced at a time, but I have been attempting to introduce foods slowly for so long now with little to no success (aside from the single occasion where he took a bite out of a carrot a few weeks ago). I woke up feeling determined, so I went with it and hoped for the best. He ate all of the cheese and rice crisps (yay!) and then cried when I tried to feed him the waffles. After two attempted bites of waffle, I tried the carrot out and he just kept trying to throw it on the floor.
After cleaning up and washing dishes, he signed that he wanted a bottle. I sat him down and told him that he would need to drink from his sippy cup if he was thirsty. He proceeded by throwing it on the floor. As time passed, I attempted more non-fruit/carb foods and then eventually caved and gave him his beloved toast, fruit, and cereal. Throughout the next couple of hours, he cried between hitting me, hitting himself, throwing himself onto the ground, flipping his table over, knocking the baby gate over, and breaking his nana’s crystal window hanging — all because he wanted his bottle. I knew that if he was truly thirsty and not just wanting a bottle nipple to bite off, then he would drink, so I stayed consistent with my word. The cries and hits began wearing on me before I caved yet again and fell into tears. I haven’t felt quite that frustrated in a while, so it was rather overwhelming. I want to stick with it so that he will learn that I mean business, but it becomes so stressful that all I can think about is how badly I want to end his meltdown by giving in. I know that cutting him off cold turkey probably isn’t the answer, but I have been trying for nearly one year and felt suddenly fed up with the lack of change in this area.
I took a deep breath and cuddled him, feeling like somewhat of a failure. I plan to touch base with his early intervention team on Monday, but for now, I wanted to share a tough excerpt from our day with all of you since I often forget to do so.
Have any of you dealt with this or something like this? I’d love to hear suggestions.
What does self-care look like for you?
Oliver is an extremely picky eater due to sensory issues. The foods that he has the toughest time with are vegetables. There are a lot of supplements and smoothies to help make up for this. I don’t have enough time at the moment to go into all of the details, but HE JUST TOOK A BITE OF CARROT, CHEWED, AND SWALLOWED IT! Hooray!
So, this might not seem like a big deal to most, but Oliver and I went in the grocery store today. I typically have to have my mom pick up our food for us because of the bright lights, loud noises, people everywhere, not being able to run free, etc. If we do go ourselves, he has had to be in a soft carrier on my back while going as fast as I can. Today I thought I’d give it a go since we needed a few things and he held my hand from the car until we got inside, allowed me to set him in the front of the cart, and stayed there fuss free for probably 20 minutes. He signed at everything he saw and pointed and smiled. It was awesome! He’s making so much improvement in every area of development.
As you may have noticed, my posting has been extremely rare over the past few months and will most likely continue to be a bit sparse in the coming months. I don’t think that I have mentioned my education much, if ever, on here, but I am in my third year of college. I am studying English with an emphasis on professional and creative writing and have spent every waking second of my minimal “free time” in online discussions, completing assignments, and writing lengthy papers. I will soon be posting an Oliver update, so in the meantime, just know that he is doing great.
Today is Oliver’s last day at the Bellevue location of his early intervention center. I quickly became comfortable and came to absolutely love and adore the other children, parents, and staff. Because they’re opening the same program that Oliver attends at their closer location in Bothell, we have to transfer. I will deeply miss the Special Educators, TA’s, his OT, and every other staff member that I have ever met in that building. That place is absolutely magical and, while I’m sure I will soon have these same feelings for our new place, I have a very heavy heart today.