Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Finally figuring out the boy!

Theo has been killing me slowly for 2 solid years now. I had a miserable pregnancy, a semi-violent fast birth, he cried 4-8 hours out of the day for the first 10 months (when he started walking he cried less, but still had a couple days a week of crying 2-4 hours), I was suffering from PPD that I dismissed for almost a year as sleep deprivation, and the child still (at 19 months old) doesn't sleep. 

I know that sleeping through the night is not necessarily something to aspire to early on with a baby, but Theo has 
never slept more than 6 hours in a row (and these times are very few and far between). He typically sleeps 2 or 3 hours, wakes for 15 min to a couple of hours, and repeatedly wakes through the night screaming. He is difficult to settle, and I am have had a hard time even liking him at times in his life! He naps sometimes (every other day, maybe 10- 45 min). He has never taken a morning nap (even when he was a little baby).  I figured out that on average, he is getting 7 hours of sleep a day! That can not be enough!! From what I read, the average 18 month old gets 13 hours. When he does sleep, he is wild! He thrashes, kicks, moans, and generally doesn't stop moving. It doesn't look restful. 
I guess, what I wanted to know was how could I help him rest? Awake, he is wide open and super active. He is generally happy (except for the crying times that turn off and on fairly suddenly) and curious. He participates in everything we do and communicates well (though not verbally, he signs a lot and follows 2 part commands). I feel like I am somehow failing him, like he has some need I am not meeting. The actual bottom line, though is I haven't slept in 2 years. I need sleep. I need to like my son, I need to be rested so I can be nice to my family.

As I got brave enough to really lay it all out to some friends and seek some advice, I began to question some other behaviors of his.  There are a couple of things I had never put together with him, but these conversations made me wonder... He is little. Average height and less than 25th percentile in weight. I don't usually care about this kind of stuff, but when I started thinking about it, he spits out a lot of his food. He will chew it up, but doesn't swallow. This happens with "hard" foods like carrots, apples, etc. He swallows breads, yogurt, crackers and other soft or soggy stuff. The other thing is sleeping with his feet covered. He hates covers and will violently kick covers off of his feet. He does the same kind of kicking when he has socks on or footed PJs. He will scream and kick. He only seems to do this at night, though and doesn't protest socks and shoes when walking around.  I finally bounced all of this off of Theo's pediatrician who had us come in for a checkup a month early.  He referred us to Early Intervention.

After our evaluation by EI, I started reading.  The OT said he fits the criteria for SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder).  He has the subtype Sensory Modulation Disorder/ Sensory Seeking.  This was all new to me, but began to make SO much sense!  I am somewhat ashamed to say that for the first time I began to see Theo as more than something to be tolerated or a trauma to be survived.  He is my son.  The child God chose for me and I feel so blessed to have the information I have now to help me help him!


  1. Oh Amy. First of all you are an amazing mom. How can I say this we don't even really know each other. Just by the posts I have read of yours (facebook and your blogs) and the 2 times i have had the chance to spend with you. I can hear the love, the dedication you have for doing your best for your kids and your commitment to your family.
    Theo is blessed to have you as a mom because now that you know what was going on and what you can do to help him, he has the very best advocate ever. God just didn't bless you with a child, He chose YOU to be Theo's mom because He knows what his and your future holds. God has a way of putting people in seemily impossible situations so He can prove Himself faithful. At least that's what I believe He is doing in my situation.
    Please know that you will be in my prayers.

  2. Thanks Sarah!

    I am loving your blog, by the way (one of the reasons I started blogging again). Praying for you daily!