Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Never a dull moment

Last night we caught Isaac reading Go, Dog, Go! out loud, pointing to each word, and reading very fluidly all by himself.  It was one of those rare, serene parental moments when you feel like you've done right by your kid.  When you feel like you've made at least some good decisions.  Enough good decisions that your not yet five year old is reading this well.  All this was after Isaac had hopped in the car after school beaming and saying, "I had a good day!  I get a cookie when we get home!  I didn't cry at rest time... I had zero 'minders (reminders)."  Awesome.  He finally feels better and is getting the hang of school and enjoying it, I thought.  Just in case, I emailed his teacher to see her side of things.  Her only response was to ask if we could come in to talk to the principal at 3:15pm today.  All feelings of good completely vanished.

My first thought was that they wanted to put him in a separate special ed class.  I reasoned this in my head because I had dropped off a big folder of all of Isaac's evaluations, IEPs, report cards, etc. for the special ed service lady yesterday.  I worked myself into a hot mess, went for a run, listened to music, prepared for battle.  I even gathered my troop- which consists of Andrew, to reign me in, and I was glad he came because he remembered something about Isaac that I would have forgotten to mention.  It turns out that his principal wanted to express her concerns over Isaac's readiness for kindergarten.  Fair enough.  He is not even five yet.  But also, to be fair, he's only been in school for a total of 7 days in the first two-three weeks of school.  Five of which he wasn't feeling well.  Andrew remembered that it took Isaac a few weeks to get back in the swing of things at the beginning of his second year of pre-school, too.  We asked what our options were, and she said that while the decision to enroll him is totally up to us, there are other programs like "pre-kindergarten" programs that would be just wonderful.  Oh? We asked, where are these programs? At private schools, she said.  Is there room at these programs?  Tuition?  She wasn't sure about any of these questions.  She did know that a few were affiliated with churches.  Southern churches.  No, thank you.  We chose public education for several reasons.

So we compromised.  We asked that she give him a couple more weeks now that he's feeling better to get the hang of things, and if he hasn't adjusted to their liking we will talk about options then.  Although, she even admitted to me that he is already having a much better week this week.  Andrew and I decided that if at the end of a couple of weeks they are not happy with his progress, or "readiness", or if his teacher seems not willing to work with us, we will just homeschool with something like http://www.time4learning.com/index.htm curriculum and enroll him in community classes for socialization until next year.  Never a dull moment around here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Stress eating cherries

Because what I really need is a beer and it's only 4pm, and let's face it, I'm on a diet.  Isaac had early dismissal at school today so we had some time to hang out before his check up at our new pediatrician's office.  We went to Wendy's and split a small fry and had some water and lemonade.  We talked, or rather I tried to get him to tell me about school.  His report home was highlighted with all the things he needs to work on- which is basically everything.  To be fair, he's only been to school a total of 6 days in the past two weeks and has a bigger learning curve than most kids, so I'm TRYING to take it with a grain of salt.  In reality, I'm inwardly obsessing about whether or not I made the right decision about kindergarten this year, year round school, etc.  My mind is buzzing with all the things we need to work on- like how to get my child to answer more than two questions in a conversation he is not interested in.  What I did manage to dig out of him is that there are about 17 kids in his class- quite the increase from the 8 total of last year.  I also found out that he has not seen the special ed service lady once.  She was supposed to be dropping in a couple times a week to see how he functions inside the classroom, etc.  Lovely.  

We headed into the bathroom and he argued with me about which stall to pee in.  I wish I was kidding.  I am not.  We went to the appointment.  Isaac did fine for the nurse but would not answer any of the doctor's questions.  And then they mentioned the shots he needed and he immediately worked himself into a full on tantrum before the shots were even brought out.  Hysterical screaming, crying, writhing like we just said he was going to be re-circumcised.  I had to physically restrain him with my entire body and he still managed to hit me square in the glasses- which now need to be adjusted- and almost attacked the doctor.  Even after the shots were over he purposely hit the tray the used needles were sitting on and continued screaming, crying, throwing himself around- even while I told him he would lose more privileges, while I paid my co-pay, while the poor little boy in the waiting room wondered what the hell they had done to make Isaac so hysterical.  He is now in his room until I tell him it's ok to come out as he is obviously too tired to have good behavior and my eye is obviously still twitching.

Just another day in parenthood.  At least it's the weekend.  At least it's the weekend.  Did I mention it's the weekend?

Back in balance

As suggested by the urgent care doctor, I kept Isaac home all day yesterday to stuff protein, fat, water, and probiotics down his throat.  The plan from the night before did not happen, mostly because he refused to eat the breakfast sandwich and because I couldn't find the blades to my food processor to make the strawberry protein shake.  Typical.  His breath was already smelling less yeasty due to switching up his probiotics the night before, and his appetite for things other than bread was much more agreeable.  So we compromised and gave him gfcf oatmeal with some soy protein powder mixed in.  Oatmeal is a good source of both protein and fiber on its own.  He then went on to eat two pieces of Applegate Farms bacon, one AF chicken tender, strawberries, pears, half a turkey sandwich, more probiotics, lots of water, tuna and pretzels, brown rice fried in coconut oil (for good fat), and broccoli with vegan butter.  By the end of the night he was back to being himself, had the breath of a four year old without a drinking problem, and is in school today.  I love it when a plan comes together!  But I think it was more than just a yeast problem, because the bug hit me for part of yesterday and I felt like I had been hit by a truck.  One missed day of school and lots more tools and products to help our kid function better?  Not a bad deal.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Plan of attack part 2

If you were in my house right now, you would be all too aware (as I'm sure my husband is) of my consecutive sighs.  It's the involuntary noise I make when I am tired exhausted.  Being a mom is not for the faint of heart.  I fought with Isaac to eat breakfast and failed and gave in and let him eat half of an Udi bagel- which did him no favors.  I ran with my dog, paid bills, did dishes, laundry, and just before 3pm received a phone call from Isaac's school saying he was in the office crying and tired AGAIN.  They wanted to give me the option of coming to pick him up early.  I agreed, since my after school plans were to take him to urgent care anyway to rule out an sickness that might be causing Isaac's lack of appetite, fatigue, etc.

I then proceeded to drive to, unload, and haul my four year old into the orthopedic urgent care.  Sorry, wrong number.  The lady behind the counter informed me that the urgent care I was looking for was in Cary- the next town over.  Luckily, it was near a grocery store I like so it was easy enough to find.  We were the only ones in the waiting room when we arrived and yet we still managed to be there for two hours.  I have several theories about why this might have happened, the biggest being the kind doctor that likes to chat and look things up on his smart phone for you.  Things like books about coconut oil, and types of apples that are lower in salicylates.  I'm not kidding.  I may have found the only mainstream/urgent care doctor that does not look at me like I have two heads when it comes to Isaac's diet.  In fact, he was impressed that I knew the trick about switching up strains of probiotics every few months.  We bonded.  Isaac whined.

After examining Isaac, he determined that everything looked good and that Isaac was probably still feeling the affects of last Thursday's stomach bug and an increase in yeast.  He tested his urine and said he was dehydrated and low on nutrients (not surprising when the kid won't eat).  He suggested keeping Isaac home tomorrow and trying to pump him up with water, rest, protein, fats, and fiber.  (Apparently my kid doesn't poop enough, either.)  A kid who won't eat is just going to keep having no energy and crying at the end of the day at school until the problem is fixed.  Fair enough, but I hate that he keeps missing school!

We got Isaac to eat a little dinner tonight, and I finally made it over to GNC before they closed.  I picked up the coconut oil Dr. Smartphone recommended to start cooking Isaac's food in, some soy protein powder, and probiotic/fiber chewables.  Isaac actually dipped a couple of raw baby carrots in the oil and ate them. The chewable was a big hit, too.  I'm hoping it works some magic over night.  My plan of attack is this:

1) Make him a soy protein/strawberry shake in the morning with the blender I no longer own- crap!  Ok, time to dig out the food processor.

2) Compromise and make him a bagel/bacon breakfast sandwich buttered with coconut oil.  OR butter with with soy butter and slap an egg cooked in coconut oil on there.  That might work.

3) Keep the water with a fun straw going.

4) Smell his breath, pray for poop, and hope for a miracle.

That's all I have.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Plan of attack

Life with Isaac has been pretty normal lately, and when normal happens I forget some things.  Like that my kid doesn't process typical amounts of sugar and carbs well.  Summer means popsicles and lemonade and chips, but too much of a good thing lands us in yeastville.  Our indicators this time were that our usual tough guy was crying a lot, craving rough play, super finicky about food, and for the past couple days has the breath and gas of a middle-aged alcoholic.    All this while trying to adjust to a new school, new teacher, and new schedule.  Poor kid.  Poor teacher.  Poor mom.

It's bad enough that probiotics alone aren't getting it under control, so tonight I did some research and found the following resources quite helpful:



We have not tried enzymes to help break down excess carbs and sugar yet, but I think it's time to try.  How it works is that you give your child digestive enzymes prior to eating or drinking their special treat (lemonade, popsicles, cookies) and it helps break down the sugar in these foods quicker/better so that they are less likely to feed bad stomach yeast.  I ran right out this evening to GNC to pick some up only to find them flipping the sign on the door and shutting off all the lights.  Just my luck!  So I'll have to go back tomorrow.  I did hit up the grocery store to get some all natural meat for Isaac, though.  Protein and fat help fight yeast- which is the good news.  The bad news is that once an overgrowth is to the point that your kid's breath smells like rising bread- they are usually only craving MORE carbs and sugar to feed the yeast and the fight to feed them just plain chicken breast is exhausting and tearful on both sides of the table.

I've also noticed that our usual cured turkey sausage, turkey bacon, and beef hot dogs have not seemed to be helping him lately.  So tonight I bit the bullet and bought Applegate Farms gfcf, uncured beef hot dogs, Sunday Bacon, and chicken tenders- along with some Hormel natural gfcf oven roasted turkey breast cold cuts.  These are all meats Isaac is more likely to eat (and cost more than he weighs), but I'm hoping they will be worth it in our constant fight against yeast.  Wish us luck!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Surprise! Kindergarten in July

There is nothing I love more than finding out that I need to get my four year old, type A child ready for kindergarten last minute.  We received a postcard in the mail on July 3rd informing us that Isaac starts kindergarten at our second school of choice on July 10th.  Needless to say, I was less than thrilled.  We had already gotten plane tickets to fly back to Michigan July 11th-18th.  Having a kid with pdd-nos miss the first week of school is less than ideal.  Turns out his staggered entry day is July 10th, and all they do is go and figure out where your kid is academically.  Then they don't go back to school until the following Monday, so Isaac will only miss the first three days of school.  Again, not ideal, but not the end of the world.

We met his teacher yesterday, and while she seems very nice and like a seasoned teacher who will have good classroom management, she did not know what pdd-nos was and had not received Isaac's school records and last IEP yet.  Lovely.  Juuuust great.  My first impulse was to talk to the principle to make sure that this teacher was going to be a good fit for Isaac.  She said that while she might not have heard of pdd-nos, she is one of their best teachers and has worked with many special needs kids.  Ok, that somewhat made me feel better. I guess?  Internally my thoughts were, why the hell did we move to North Carolina?  I cried, fought with my husband, and then got a grip and channeled my that mom.  I have spent a good part of this morning researching info on pdd-nos to print out, make notes applicable to Isaac, and give to her.

That only solves part of the equation to make kindergarten start off on the right foot for Isaac, though.  Yesterday, whenever we would walk into the very busy hallway Isaac would start spinning in wide circles, and while we were in the office he started jogging around the the chairs in a circle.  This is one of his tell-tale self-regulating behaviors.  It is not a discreet one.  So later, while enjoying some Rita's lemon ice, I asked him why he was spinning in circles.  He said, "I just missed you."  Just twist that knife right in there, son.  Thanks.
 "Does spinning in circles make you feel better?"
"I'm afraid you're going to run into someone.  Do you think there is a safer way that you can make yourself feel better?"  
"I don't know."
"Ok, we'll think about that."

So I thought about what might work.  Isaac still uses sensory chews once in awhile, but I don't want him carrying one around, dropping it on the floor, or having one obviously pinned to his shirt.  I asked if he thought a chewy necklace or bracelet would help him feel better instead of spinning and he said yes.  So I ordered this chewlery necklace and bracelet set in the color of his choosing- red.  Hopefully it will help.

Next, I ordered this book:

Arnie and His School Tools: Simple Sensory Solutions That Build Success by Jennifer Veenendall.  I'm hoping it will have some good tips for Isaac to learn how to manage himself in school.  We're not in special ed anymore, Toto.