June 5, 2012

Safe and unsafe touching

I’ve been posting less for the last year, not because the Blog is Dead.  I don’t really care if people aren’t reading or writing personal blogs anymore, just like I don’t care that everyone else plucks their eyebrows.  I’m a rebel like that.

No, I haven’t been blogging because it’s been a really hard year with my boys and it felt wrong to air what was going on here on a blog where their friends’ parents and their teachers could read it.  I’ve been writing about it, though, working on a book that I felt could deal with it all more thoroughly and help other parents down the road.

Here’s the short version: both boys have Sensory Processing Disorder, which is real, dammit, no matter what the AAP seems to think.  We also had them both fully evaluated by a developmental pediatrician, and Benjamin was diagnosed with high IQ and a difficult temperament, which we could have told you.  Zachary was depressed and anxious, along with the high IQ, and I’m not going to get into more detail about how that was manifesting except to say we were very worried.  (Again, to the AAP, whose to say part of his anxiety wasn’t dealing with the sensory issues?)

We did a couple of things.  We got occupational therapy for both boys for six months, which helped them but also gave us a bag of tricks to use on a daily basis.  We learned that their minds need to be fed a nutritious diet of heavy cognitive lifting for them to be happy.  We also moved.  A large part of our reason for moving midyear was Zachary’s unhappiness.  We weren’t sure how much the issues were just him and how much they were him in the wrong situation, but we figured we’d change the puzzle before we started trying to change the piece.

I’m happy to tell you that Zachary isn’t depressed anymore.  He’s still anxious about some things and Benjamin is still intense and neither of them does great at birthday parties that lack structured activities, but this move has landed them in a much better place.

That’s the good.

I got up at 5 AM yesterday and again today.  I wanted to go through all that I’ve been writing, the hundreds of pages of writing about what we’ve been through in the last year.  And I realized there’s no way I can write this book, no matter how many people it might help, no matter how good it would be for me.  It’s just too personal.  It’s one thing for me to vaguely say things were hard.  It’s another for my boys, in ten or twenty years, to read a book I published about exactly how parenting them through all of this felt.  I can’t do that to them.

Someday, when Zachary becomes the writer he dreams of being, he can write the book about what we all went through.  I’ll save my notes for him.

And that’s the good, too.

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  • Reply Jennifer June 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    You’re a good mama. This sounds exactly right.

  • Reply Tara June 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Sounds like the right call to me, too, although it would have been a kick-a*& book, and I’m sure many parents would have found it useful, reassuring, instructive, etc. Do save the notes.

  • Reply alejna June 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    It sounds like you’ve made a good decision for your family. My admiration for you grows and grows.

    I’m so very glad that the move has worked out so well for you all.

    I’m glad you’re saving the notes, too. (I do find myself wondering if there is some way that your experiences could help others, without impinging on the privacy and well-being of your children.)

  • Reply Elizabeth June 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Maybe you can write the book for them and them alone. In ten or twenty years, they might very well want to know the story.

  • Reply fiwa June 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I would devour anything you wrote, but it does sound like you made the best decision in this case. Save your notes. One day your boys might benefit from reading them.

    And lastly, hang in there, Momma. You are doing such a great job.

  • Reply Lilian Nattel June 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Hard decisions–and you are a good mama. Someday you may co-write that book with them, or when they’re old enough, they may give consent to your writing it. It’s hard being a writer and having powerful personal material and making that decision not to use it because you need to protect your kids. Hats off to you.

  • Reply Melanie June 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I know I’ve said this before on your blog but these kinds of things are the very reasons I don’t blog, not because there isn’t value in our stories, but because I feel like my kids have the right to protect their story or not, on their own terms. I really cannot imagine how I would have felt if my Mom were to have blogged my childhood, even though it was mostly a wonderful one.

  • Reply Heide June 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    We actually saw a neurologist who said, “SPD was invented by the OTs. I don’t know anything about that.” We had to go to a second neurologist (waiting another several months for an initial evaluation appointment) before we could get a referral to OT. It helped, a lot. A couple of years later, we’re looking at a second round, because some of the issues are recurring and some other issues have cropped up.

    I’d recommend the book Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers, if you haven’t already run across it.

  • Reply Poker Chick June 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    As someone who has had the joy of seeing the improvement I can’t even begin to appreciate how hard your year has been with your three kids. You are truly a strong, strong woman. Personally, I’m glad you’ve still been blogging some.

  • Reply Poker Chick June 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Oh, and Heidi, I had no idea there was book about “guiding gifted readers”. THANKS! I am so getting that…

  • Reply Issa June 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    I get this so much. There is stuff I can write about and things I plain just won’t.

    I’m glad they are both doing better though.

  • Reply Slow Panic June 5, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Both my boys have sensory issues. They are 10 and 14 now and really have outgrown a lot of it. When they were toddlers and young children it was incredibly challenging. We had them evaluated by an occupational therapist and determined it wasn’t severe enough for therapy, but we read a lot of books, made a lot of adjustments at home and worked with them A LOT.

    I could talk about this FOREVER. We still deal with stuff — the most rewarding thing is seeing them learn to deal with it themselves, see them make progress, move past some of the sensory issues and learn to embrace who they are –even if it is different from the kids around them.

    My heart goes out to you.

  • Reply sarah piazza June 5, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Good for you all. You are a force to be reckoned with, my friend.

  • Reply Angela Stockman June 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    There are so few people who think deeply about the unintended consequences of sharing their stories, no matter how much it might help them or others. Rock on, Emily. You are a great mom. Wish mine had been as sensitive and responsive as you are.

  • Reply Anjali June 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    You probably know about this one, but I LOVED reading Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students.

  • Reply nicole June 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Sounds like a great mother/son project to be. I understand and respect your reasons. I hope you do get to it someday.

  • Reply Catherine June 6, 2012 at 1:22 am

    Good for you.

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