Jake’s Fingers-Say What?

On any given day,  if a mother wrote down every thing she said,  the list would be a little strange.  I have heard myself telling Jake to stop hitting the dogs with his spoon, not to run into the couch with the car and to leave the fish alone. 

Having a child with sensory disorders only increases the strange things I hear myself say. Jake doesn’t understand why he feels stressed or scared about life and our therapist is working with me on helping him identify his emotions or stress level, to reassure him and to help him take care of whatever is triggering his negative reaction.

Here are a few things I’ve heard myself say recently.  I hope they make you laugh.

“Are your pajamas worrying you?  That’s okay.  We’ll get you new pajamas and they won’t  bother you any more.”

“It’s okay sweetheart, you don’t need to be stressed out.  Mama will get the cheerio off your finger.”

“It’s okay to be stressed out.  Beef jerky isn’t going to hurt you.  See?  It’s gone.”

When I gave Jake a bath yesterday, there was a black speck floating on the water, which helps the next one make sense.  “Oh, Jake, is that floaty thing bothering you?  It’s okay, don’t worry.  Mama’s got it.”

“Do you want Mama to get your booger for you?”

“It’s alright, sweetie, the applesauce isn’t going to hurt you.  I’ll scoot it over here and you don’t have to touch it.”

Since Jake throws up when he gets mad at me…”If you throw up one more time, you are going to be in BIG trouble.” 

I’m sure this is only the beginning of the strange things I’ll hear myself say.  It’s a good thing my sense of humor is firmly screwed on to my psyche, because some days are tough and it’s good to be able to laugh.

This week has been an up and down week.  Jake has made a lot of progress, but I kept feeling like he was stressed out all…the…time.  When I brought up his behavior to Becky today, hey! Guess what?  He was stressed out all the time.  The reason being, we’ve been working with him way too much and that has been pushing him too far, for too long and he hasn’t been able to recover.  So, now we are going to do his therapeutic snack sessions three times a week for twenty minutes.

During each of his snack sessions, we’ll be working with his scary snacks (carrot sticks, beef jerky, applesauce on the tray instead of in a jar, etc.).  I’ll be modeling the right behavior which is touching, rolling, holding, eating the applesauce off the tray, being okay with things touching his hands and helping him to do all of that on his own.  Becky showed me how to make games out of things, different songs to sing with him and other ways to make the therapy fun.

We are starting physical therapy as well and Jake’s velociraptor showed up again. Becky described Jake’s sensory problems with gravity as every time Jake’s nose and mouth aren’t perfectly straight, his body gets very confused.  And so,  while Becky worked with him, there was lots of screaming, throwing himself around, and general crankiness.  Jake is very stiff when he moves, since clenching his muscles feels good and is comforting.  So, we have to unclench his body, which isn’t always fun for him.  We’ll be bouncing on my yoga ball, sitting on his knees while playing with something up high, and leaning back and sitting back up and having him pick things up off the floor by bending at the waist.

Jake is a very communicative child and while that’s wonderful, his emotions are always very clearly articulated.  I’m sure you know what I mean!    As is often the case with children this age, they know they want something, they just can’t get say it.  So, we are going to be teaching him the basics of sign language so that he can appropriately communicate when he wants more, when he’s done and please and thank you.  I think that giving him a good way to communicate what he wants and needs will give us all (and quite possibly the entire neighborhood) a better overall experience.

The appointment today was so great.  I felt good, encouraged and Jake left happy.  I’m so relieved that we only have to do his therapy three times a week instead of every day.  I think that the velociraptor may back into it’s cave and my little Jake will come out to play again. 

And remember, “It’s okay to be stressed, Mama will always help!”  🙂

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4 Responses to Jake’s Fingers-Say What?

  1. Shannon Wilson says:

    Keep it up, Mary! You (and Jake) are doing an awesome job! Big hugs with no applesauce or anything scary on our hands and arms for Jake. 😉

  2. Jacquelyn says:

    Have you read “The Out of Sync Child” and “The Out of Sync Child has fun”? If you haven’t they are great though it sounds like your therapist is wonderfully helpful.

  3. Mom says:

    wow – what a lot of work — and you are doing a good job! Love you!

  4. Brenda says:

    “Put down that dragon. RIGHT. NOW.”

    “You can throw up if it makes you happy, but you are still going to have to finish your rice.”

    “I understand that you’re angry, but that does not make it OK for you to sing.” (I should add here that “singing” is actually “emitting an extended high-pitched squeal that is just a few semi-tones shy of breaking glass”, and is used as a subtle form of aggression.)

    “That is a perfectly good grape, and you are going to eat it.”

    We definitely understand scary beef jerky at our house!

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