Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sensory Integration Dysfunction—that’s me

Finally got a label on what the brat has and it is this mouthful of a nomenclature. Sensory Integration Dysfunction or SID, where the child has difficulty processing sensory input (which is what Dr Maya Nanavati of POSAT was trying to explain to me without putting a label onto it) and about which I have only just started reading up on, so am far from an expert on it. The thing is these children are abnormally hypersensitive or hyposensitive to environmental stimulation. My son falls in the second category, he is abnormally hyperactive, needs to constantly be in motion, is aggressive, loves rough and tumble play, extra sensation of rolling, pushing, being wrapped in things, being cuddled and held tight, is variably responsive to his name and more such things which fitted in perfectly with the way he behaves. Thankfully, the information I read up also suggested that these children are as or more intelligent as the rest of us, which is what had had me confused when the entire autism diagnosis came up for debate. Currently reading up on tips on how to handle such children at home—the hyperstimulation factor is a really valid one---remember the time the brat gets into the dancing and shaking his head mode and refuses to stop until he is totally giddied out to the point of exhaustion. This is a child who sets his own schedule. How more consistent can I be—I wake him at a specific time, I bathe him at a specific time, he has his breakfast at a specific time and is packed off to school at a particular time. Then I leave for work. When I get back he has either slept or not slept. One cannot force him to sleep when he doesn’t want to. He just cannot be patted asleep unlike other children he is just too hyperactive. I feed him, take him to the park at a specific time, feed him dinner at a specific time and change him into his night suit and get him ready for bed, with the lights off at 10 pm sharp. How much more of a schedule can I set? Hubby says you are making him a sissy. He doesn’t realize that the brat has no idea what is potentially harmful play and is so charged up that he cant really know when he needs to stop. Makes me wonder whether I am really fit enough to be a mother or is there something really wrong with me. Anyway, the bottomline is that I love him no matter how different he is from the rest of the kids his age, and I will fight tooth and nail to keep him safe and sound and happy. And he will catch up. He is slow, but he will, I just have to let him do things at his own pace happily rather than force him into things unwillingly. Am I a good mother?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Chapatti, and assorted cooking skills

The brat is only now developing imitative skills. Rather late in the day. His development scale is slow to start with but, then I console myself with the Einstein example. Last night he insisted on making chapattis. With the chakla belan and an actual physically cooked chapati which he rolled and rerolled to infinity. He also takes a dusting cloth and does the dusting of the furniture and pocha (swabbing to those not familiar with Hindi), he was speaking into the telephone since he was barely a year, but now he uses the same speech patterns that we do--Hello, yes, okay okay, acha, bye, see you. At times he even hands the phone across to us and insists that we indulge in some phantom speech. He is using a great many new words, and will probably take his own time to reach the level of his peers, but that doesnt worry me as much as his increasing stubborness is. He is becoming Timur the Wicked and wants what he wants with no ifs and buts and no nos. How dare one have the temerity to refuse him anything, and he will not take no for an answer. He is a rather pampered brat and tantrums have always been a reliable part of his arsenal considering doting grandmother and worried mother are always at hand to solve his issues and stop his tears. Babycenter.com assures me that temper tantrums and whining are commonplace at this age, but a peaceloving person like me it seems like a major crisis which has to be defused everytime. I find myself getting short tempered and more likely to blow a fuse sooner and sooner. ANyway, some tips were really helpful such as detaching oneself from the scene and ensuring one doesnt constantly give in to tantrums. On the whole, the child is very lovable and a sweetheart--of course this is a biased mother's opinion--but he is a darling and a total charmer. He is a natural born showman, loves being the center of attention, and loves looking at himself in the mirror and acting out expressions and movements. Dare I hope that he will become the actor I never could be thanks to bad life choices?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Eggie Eggie

The brat slept last night at 12.30 am after much difficulty and was bright and awake and chirping much before the first bird at 5 am. And this wasn’t a chirping that involved howling for gu gu (which by the way he seems to have given up all ingestion and desire for), but this was instead a lets get down and party kind of a chirpiness. So there was I with my eyes laden with sleep, begging for respite from this hyperactive pup who wanted to run run run, jhool bacha jhool and generally get active.
This child has not slept well for almost a week. And when he does sleep it is at such odd times that one cannot take a nap at the same time. Consequently one is zombie like with panda like dark circles beneath one’s eyes and looking like the walking dead. How will the child put on any weight if his activity levels continue to be this high. Considering that his diet now with the suppositories and stool softeners is relatively good, even bordering on adult like proportions one wonders where the food goes to. Yesterday for instance, amongst many other things he had three entire eggs. Fried. With bread or chappati. Some amount of butter and ghee. Egg incidentally is his most favoured food. His favourite past time is to get into the fridge and reach out into the container where the eggs are kept and haul one or two out (one in each hand of course) and hand it over to nearest adult. “Eggie” “Eggie” “Eggie” and then “Cayee” “Cayee” “Aaja”. Translated that means this is the eggie, you serf, now carry me high so I can see if you are cooking it right. A difficult activity considering he will not sit on a surface peacefully, nor stand down, nor go to any other adult. He will be in your arms and you have to take the frying pan break egg, fry egg, sprinkle salt and pepper, take out egg into plate, warm bread all with a single hand and keeping in mind wriggly quotient of the specimen in the arms considering one is hovering near the gas.
Anyway, all factors apart, how does one get a brat to put on weight given that his intake of fattening stuff like cheese and potatoes are restricted on account of his tendency to get constipated. My pediatrician seems pleased with his current weight and assures me that as long as the child is active and growing in height not to get hung up on weight issues. Overweight children, he assures me, grow to be obese adults and get stuck with obesity related illnesses like cholesterol, heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes and the ilk.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Go...neenu. Tata papa and the start of two word sentences

Ah joy, ah bliss. The brat is finally learning that we can string two words together to communicate more than what a one word could ever. My tears of agony over wondering whether the brat has a speech defect or is autistic or is generally going to be a slow learner or reader seem redundant in the face of this latest development. While I do know that realistically, this child will never be the brightest or the fastest or the most focussed in the class, I do know that he will communicate and speak. Thank the lord for that.
He is still very behind the rest of the kids his age but a million zillion times improved over what he was. More responsive, more active (hyperactive in fact) but still will not play with toys, will do his own thing and at times just blanks out and will not respond to his name or to some one calling out to him. I was told there are six parameters required to brand a child autistic and Krish, back then, fitted into only three. And now, the repetitive action factor, spinning the wheels of his car, has stopped too..I would now be inclined to agree with Dr Maya Nanavati who, like an angel of good intentions, told me very clearly, this after Dr Vrajesh Udani at Hinduja had labelled the brat borderline autistic, that no way is my child autistic. He is just hypotonic and there is some inner ear canal factor which makes him unaware of his body in space. Didnt quite understand all that she tried patiently to explain to me, but she did say that he will be absolute normal in a few months, and he is getting there. The therapy suggested wasnt working, because this child is absolutely non cooperative. But doing what the therapist had recommended at home has actually worked. Getting the child to calm down and stop racing around for the next bout of stimulus makes him more keen to listen and respond and consequently, learn. Now that language is slowly coming under control, the next battle on the horizon is that of potty training. Hallelujah!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

good morning teacher...

Dropped the brat off to school this morning. After a gap of four days and the weekend necessitated by the fact that I was shooting everyday and left early at day break and couldnt really get him to school. Anyway the delight with which he was greeted by teachers and fellow students gives me the feeling that the chap is a pretty popular fellow on the school circuit. Maybe I have the class hero on my hands. He stomped into class with the triumphant swelling of chest characteristic of the alpha male. Should have expected it. After all the brat of an alpha male and an alpha female should be a leader.
Took brat to see his first film in a theatre yesterday rather by default and it wasnt exactly the kind of film he should have been watching anyway. Film Zinda. Sanjay Gupta's film noir version of a Korean revenge film. Lots of blood and gore, and a suspension of belief situation where a guy is imprisoned for personal revenge for 14 years (what? nobody in the damn city could track the fellow down?).
The good news is that brat behaved terrifically considering the film was shot almost in grainy black and white (desaturated is the term, I believe) had lots of dishoom dishoom, and had almost no songs to his liking to enable him do his bhangra number.
Brat was originally meant to be dropped off at mothers place but incredibly jammed traffic dictated otherwise. So we did an about turn and took him with us into the theater. Perhaps will now experiment with taking him to a more child friendly movie. One with lots of colour and lots of songs. And perhaps a more child friendly audience which will not hiss in disapproval when one bored brat starts begging (having picked up his bag containing his essentials) "Chalo chalein".

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Good morning teacher

Was school today after a longish weekend, so we had played ourselves silly last night. What I found really worked was putting a mattress down on the floor so that he could jump and watch television and do just what he pleased without me sweating about him falling to the floor and hurting himself. Just currently absolutely fuming at the father who doesnt bother to play with the kid at all, and when he does, decides to go overboard on the aggression not realising that he is a six footer trainer athlete and weight trainer, and this is a 2 year old 14 kilo brat. Anyway, the bottomline is that I am still furious and despairing at this style of parenting. Actually I really feel for this child. His father has never bothered to take him to the park or played with him everyday the way regular fathers do. All his focus is on his boozard friends and being out of the home. The little he does play with him he tries his hardest to make the child squeal in pain and fear. I just hate this situation. I just hate this. I remember how beautifully my father would play with me when I was a child, the long stories I would be told, the picnics I would be taken to and the effort taken with me. Here I try to play both roles to the child, and then get criticised for doing all I can. I just rue the fact that I went with only hormones in full force into this marriage rather than look at the maturity of the other person.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Make way for Noddy

Toot toot, here we come in our yellow car, and only willing to say "I am Noddy" when we are not on stage. Here are pictures of us dressed up as Noddy, and with Santa Claus, getting our prize for being the best goddamned dancer in our play group. We, of course, were really terrified of Santa Claus and were least interested in what the man was handing out.
Was it a task to get him to wear that belled cap or what? On the flip there were kids out there who patiently sat inside cardboard and plaster of paris gizmos created by adventurous parents without as much as a cheep from them. What is it about having a kid with hyperactivity and a low attention span that reduces you to looking at the easiest possible way to get things done without too much of a fuss. Nonetheless, there was no prize won, but kudos to moi for the effort.