Thursday, March 13, 2008

Finally... I find the joy again

For the past year, since The Baby was born, I have had some issues with my elder son. I guess I really need to tell the whole story so you can understand exactly what I mean.

In January of 2007, I was pregnant with The Baby, The Boy was almost 18 months old and we were living in a crappy house. Cheap rent, crappy house. The first thing that happened was that The Boy tripped on the uneven flooring/ wrinkled carpet and smacked into the coffee table. He hit his front teeth. He was bleeding everywhere. He didn't want anything to do with me, he just wanted Daddy. We got him cleaned up as best we could and looked at his mouth. It looked odd but OK. I was worried that his teeth were injured but we decided to wait and see. He appeared fine but a week or so later I noticed some discoloration. I was trying to find a pediatric dentist who could get him in and would accept our insurance. There are only a few in our area. No luck. I kept trying but it went on the back burner. With everything else going on and him not appearing to be in any pain... I kept looking but was not in a major hurry. Then, the next thing happened and drove the teeth issue out of head completely.

In the crappy house, we had no stove. So, I did most of my cooking using electric burners that plugged in or an electric skillet. And, if we plugged in more than one thing per circuit we would pop the breaker. So, this particular night, I was using the microwave in the kitchen and I had plugged the electric skillet into an extension cord running into the other room. We did this all the time and had never had any problems. I had it hooked up so it was easy to step over and no problems with tripping. Supposedly. Anyway. I was boiling water in the skillet and had just dropped some macaroni in. I was five feet away in the kitchen checking the microwave. The Boy was playing. The Girl was in the living room. (You can see what's coming can't you?)

I don't know, and will never know, exactly what happened. Either he tripped on the cord. Or he was curious and pulled on the cord. Either way, it doesn't matter. The end result was the same. He pulled the skillet over onto himself. I heard a huge clatter and he started screaming. The Girl came running and I was scooping him up and saying "What do I do? What do I do?" (totally rhetorical question. I didn't really expect my daughter to tell me what to do!) The Girl says "I don't know!" And I told her to call her Nana and ask her. Meanwhile, I stripped his clothes off as I was running to the bathroom. I put him in the tub and ran cold water. I splashed it on his burns. It was horrible. As soon as I got him cooled some, my mom was on the phone. I told her I was heading to the ER. The burns looked bad. The Girl was a lifesaver. She did exactly what I asked her to do. She got clothes for the boy and diapers, blankets, etc. And met me at the car as I was trying to get The Boy strapped into his car seat without making it worse. The whole time he was screaming and I was sobbing.

The entire ride into the hospital he screamed. I cried. The Girl cried. There was nothing we could do. It took 20 minutes to get there. It was the longest 20 minutes of my life.

We got to the ER and inside, they took one look at us and got us right into a room and started examining him and trying to get an IV started to give him morphine for the pain. I was pretty much hysterical. I got The Girl to call my DH at work. She told him we were at the ER because The Boy got burned. He stopped hearing her at The Boy got burned. He thought we were coming by to get him on our way to the ER. Eventually, he got a ride up there.

In the meantime, they were able to get an iv started and the morphine started to kick in. He calmed down somewhat which helped me to calm down. We told them what happened. The Girl told them the same thing independently (I think this is the only reason we never had child services coming to check us out) and they started dressing the burns.

He had second degree burns on his upper back, right side and on the top of his head (a little patch) and on his arm and leg. The leg was the worst. It looked like raw meat.

I felt so guilty. It could so easily have been prevented. If I had only thought ahead. But, you can't think of everything. It is very hard for me to write about. Or even to think about.

Long story with a happy outcome, he healed faster than anyone ever thought he could. Two weeks later you could barely see the marks where he got burned. Now, a year later, you can only see the marks a tiny bit if he gets hot. They get redder than the rest of his skin.

Next, after he healed and was recovered mostly, I was finally able to get him an appointment with a pediatric dentist. The end result of which was that he needed dental surgery. To remove his top 4 teeth in the front. And he also was getting several crowns while they were in there doing that. He had the injury to his mouth and also had baby bottle decay. Sigh.... another thing to feel guilty about. The Boy was addicted to his bottle. He never wanted it away from him. And this was the result.

So, on March 7 of last year, my baby boy went under anesthesia and had surgery. The Baby was due in about 2 weeks.

In the midst of all of this, The Boy had his 18 mos checkup. And I expressed my concerns regarding his speech development and some behavior issues. The Dr assured me that boys developed slower than girls and it was normal. I was not reassured. I went back 3 months later and told him there was no change in his speech. In fact, he was saying less than he was before. The behaviors were worse but we were attributing most of that to having a new baby in the house, change of routine and that his sister was gone for the summer.

At his 2 year checkup the Dr finally admitted to me that he felt that I was right and there was a speech delay. He referred me to an Early Intervention program and also to a developmental specialist in another city. At a University Hospital.

We had The Boy's first evaluation with the EI group in September. He was evaluated as being below level in speech and in fine motor skills. His behavior made it a problem to start speech therapy right away. So, he was scheduled to have a behavior specialist meet with us once a week. To help with his compliance and his ability to follow directions and sit still.

We then had to go for the big evaluation at the hospital. The rest of the story regarding his evaluation, etc is in this post. He has been seeing a speech therapist now for about a month and a half.

Now, I think I have caught us up on the issues my poor child has been dealing with for more than a year. The poor boy has been going from one crisis to the next. And one new situation to the next.

And I have been so frustrated and upset about what has happened to and with him. I have been unable to enjoy him. I have been constantly worried about what is going on with him. Mentally, physically, emotionally. I have been so worried that I could not seem to put that worry aside and just enjoy him. At least not for more than an hour or so at a time.

All of this is here to tell you why this past week has been such a wonderful week for us. Why the simple things that have been happening have meant so very much to me.

My Boy. He is talking.

New words every day. Phrases. Adding several a day! His pronunciation is light years away from where it should be at this age. But that is to be expected. He has a speech disorder and he is missing 4 teeth. He will have years of therapy to get his speech right. But.

I can understand him!

I don't know if anyone without a child with speech delay can understand how incredibly frustrated we have been feeling. Not just me. But The Boy as well. He has been throwing temper tantrums because we cannot figure out what he wants. And now.... he has been telling me "more" and "drink" and "bath" and "book" and I could go on and on. He has had a breakthrough.

And so have I.

I am finally able to relax enough to enjoy my child again. And not spend all of my time with him worrying. And fretting. And looking for more signs of problems all of the time.

I have rediscovered the joy in my child.


The Not So Simple Things In Life said...

For us crappy house, high rent, complaints meant eviction :( and then things just went downhill from there!

Anyways its nice to see you are finally relaxed enough to sit back and enjoy your son. I can say I've never dealt with as much as you have with your one son and I have six. I do have one that has a speech delay but he is getting better although I clearly understand him others don't. It can only get better for you, keep up the good work and enjoy him while all is well :)!

I was going to respond about the car issues as well but I'm not really sure I want to go there right now, been a long day and nothing good I can say about it so maybe another time :)!

Asthmagirl said...

What a happy thing! And what a lucky parent you are. You have a resilient boy and you're seeing progress so quickly. Kids with developmental delays can take much longer to respond.
I hope that things continue to improve for you. You've faced some huge challenges and it's wonderful to hear the happiness you feel!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

Sound slike a great kid to me, I am so happy for you that you are getting to enjoy him again... something I am learning is to totally appreciate each day with my kids cause they grow up and are gone way too fast ...they drive me nuts and some times I would love them to be little again... teens are nothing to sneeze at ...
hugs to you!

graceunderautism said...

I know the feeling exactly (minus the injuries) But the words, oh when they come it is so utterly amazing. I have had the pleasure not only in Little J but a few others who I watched in my home. We like to call it "Language explosion." Because that's what it feels like. From one day of nothing, to full sentences tumbling matter how bad the pronunciation. I bet you notice or will notice behavior improvements soon when he realizes he doesn't have to tantrum in frustration.

Pioneering in PA said...

I just want to let you know that what happened to your son does not make you a bad mother. It makes you human. If we spent every second of every day shielding our children from any catastrophe, we wouldn't have time to breathe. Ever.

So happy to see that he is having a break through. My little guy just turned 3, and we really thought that his speech was a "little" delayed. Now he won't shut up. At all. Unless his "aunt nasty" is trying to talk to him. Then he screams "no".

I'm pretty sure she hates the "aunt nasty" bit. :)

InTheFastLane said...

We all make mistakes and sometimes we are lucky that our mistakes don't hurt anyone. But, they sure don't mean that we should beat ourselves up for ever. It is sometimes harder to forgive ourselves that to forgive others, though.

I am glad to hear that he is talking! That is wonderful. What ever his issues continue to be, being verbal can only help you all as you learn the best way to parent him.

Nana The Nana said...

Reading your blog and going back thru all the problems you had including many you did not mention mad me sad all over again. Sad because I was not close enough to go help out, sad because I knew how you were feeling and could not put my arms around you and "make it a little better". So happy to hear things are getting better. See you soon kiddo. I will hug you then...

Jessica said...

Tracy this post is heartbreaking but also wonderful. It literally brought tears to my eyes. How great is it that so many stressful and painful things that you and The Boy have endured are now over and there is a relief there.

I don't know what it is like to have a child with a speech disorder but I do know a little boy that does. Unlike you, his parent's didn't pursue help. They just seemed to want to let someone else deal with it. Now he is in Pre-K and is having problems. Disciplinary and learning related. He has had so much behavioral problems and I know it is because of frustration. I am a little upset with them because they didn't help him. At least now he is getting help.

You offered me a little relief. Baby Bum hit his mouth last week and I have been worried about damage to his teeth. I feel now that since he hasn't had discoloration yet he is probably going to be okay. Cross your fingers. It scared the shit out of me.

Chelle said...

Damnit Tracy, you made me cry again!
I am soo happy for you right now...I could scream!
Horray for the boy!

Pioneering in PA said...



Yup. They came in.

And I'm in my glory.

Thanks so much!


Lesley said...

Oh my gawd - our stories with our boys are almost identical.
When mine was 2 he had dental surgery like your son. Mine had his top 4 teeth capped, he didn't drink a bottle often but was a mouth breather at bedtime and they attribute that to the decay :o(
He also has a severe speech delay which wasn't diagnosed until he was almost 3 years. He was put in an Early Intervention program and has had speech 3 times a week and now he can be understood quite well but is still missing a lot of the filler words in sentences (the, at, is, on, ...) We had a lot of behaviour issues due to lack of communication but that's pretty much fixed itself with time. We did decide to hold him back in Kindergarten for an extra year just to give him some more catchup time on his speech before putting him in a school for K to 9...I'm scarred shitless that he'll be picked on...
And my two boys have had a total of 3 broken arms. Last summer they actually both had broken arms in totally seperate incidents but they happened not even 24 hours apart.
I was totally feeling like the worst mother in the entire freaking world at that point. And I was expecting child services to be knocking at my door - they didn't but I wouldn't have been surprised at all.
Phew! I think that's all the similarities from this post,lol.

By the way, the video I was referring to is of Natalie from Big Brother 9 expressing breast milk - she has never had a baby- and it was on The Cheaty Monkey website March 4th. In my defense I had no idea what kind of video this would be...

Have a great weekend!

Bina said...

Ya know, I am very well spoken, but I remember in kindergarten my teacher could never understand what I was saying, and I would get so frustrated because to me, it sounded right! I spent the whole summer going to speech therapy and occupational therapy. My second child, a boy, also went to speech therapy and occupational, but he started when he was three. They had originally told me he wouldn't be able to go to kindergarden but he learned so fast, he went as scheduled!

My goodness. I can't imagine the scene when he got burned. And though I've never had that happen to a child, my second son (yes, out of the four, he has had the MOST happen to him. I counted one time and he has been to the ER 16 times in his life. He is now 19) pulled a glass pot out of the dishwasher when he was about 12 months old. We lived in Hawaii at the time, so he had no shoes on. Ended up getting 4 stitches and I always felt like it was my fault. I mean, I was standing RIGHT THERE putting the dishes away.