The Shit Whisperer

We’ve been busy at Bebe’s for a while now. The current issue at home is poop. I once thought poop was hilarious, because deep down I am a 12-year-old boy when it comes to stinky humor. However I have currently become overrun by it at home and it’s causing me to really lose my mind when all I would really like to lose is my sense of smell.

The boy has been inflicted with chronic constipation since birth. We have tried everything to help him with it, and some days are good. Some are bad. This has developed into Encopresis, which is a behavioral disorder. He holds in his bowel movements as a matter of control, and to avoid pain while going. And this causes more pain when his body eventually makes himself go. And go he does. He might only go every few weeks but when he does, he breaks my toilet. I am not even kidding. We have done diet changes, bribery, rewards, kisses, seriousness, jokes, yelling, and against my better judgement I looked up the patron saint of constipation. He exists. The Catholics think of everything! In between shitting out meteoric sized balls into my now delicate and frightened toilet, his body compensates for waste removal by expelling brown liquid, day in, and day out.

It’s messy. It’s stinky. We have underwear drying out on every railing in our house. I smell like shit every night. I wipe it from remote controls, bath tubs, toys, walls, floors, socks, pants, carpets, beds and shirts. On some days, I get beaten up and scratched trying to get him for a sit on the toilet. I try to calm him down and let him know that I know he is angry and scared, and that’s okay. But hitting your mom or anyone out of anger and fear is never okay. Honestly though, if I didn’t have a fear of raising an abusive man, I would let him hit me all he wanted if it made him feel better. I will just lie and say I am in a roller derby league to explain the scratches. For a family experiencing constipation, we are in the throes of shit.

All of the time.

We do attend psychiatric counseling with the boy, to learn new parenting techniques. To try to understand where his mind is when this happens. To be less frustrated, angry and confused. It’s helped us as a family a great deal. I wish it could cure him but it hasn’t. My husband has learned a bit more about himself and his role as a parent, and even though our Saturday is really busy and sometimes sad, we are chipping away at years worth of issues that needed to be tackled. So hey, that’s good, right? All it took was my kid being in pain, afraid of what should be a hilarious rite of passage for any 4-year-old, and my sudden need to gag whenever I see anything brown, up to and including chocolate. Is nothing sacred, man?

I have questioned why I have been going through this and felt great sympathy for myself. Aggravation, frustration, disgust, and pure anger are also feelings that pop up now and then. It stays with me quite a lot, until I remember a couple of things. My kid is really fucking cool. No, I don’t really need to add the curse word to accentuate how much I love him and how cool he is. But some people deserve the added color. And he does. Aside from his issues, like his possible Aspergers, his SPD, his delays, and his iron strong will, he is healthy to the core. He eats, plays, grows, smiles, laughs, and has no other problems in life, other than future embarrassment of his parents, and with good reason. He is profoundly lucky and in turn, I am profoundly lucky. So many parents with so many more issues, their babies being very sick their whole lives. Or worse, dying. Those parents, they just do what they do. It’s not easy for them. I know that. I really do.

More importantly though, when my son is in pain, or has neurological issues, I just try really hard to know that this is HIS reality more so than mine. I am his mother and it’s MY job to help him through this and be strong, be patient, and be his biggest advocate when doctors blow you off and your best laid plans don’t seem to work. I cannot imagine what it’s like to BE HIM. I would love to learn what makes him tick, and I hope to really tap into that. So I keep working for it. If I have to be knee-deep in shit to learn to stay the course and keep fighting for my kid, then so be it. Jesus H, if you read my posts regularly you will know I just shit my own pants not too long ago. It’s my destiny, people! 

The Shit Whisperer. That’s my roller derby name.

Bebe

 

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Get that boy a cane!

The boy has a subtle, strange and hilarious preoccupation with House. The show. Dr. Greg House, that prostitute loving, pill popping medical genius who loves to crack wise. That House. My not quite 3 year old loves him.

He was pretty sick last week so I stayed home with him for two days. We finger painted one afternoon and USA had a House marathon on. One of the funnier quirks about having a child with a bit of OCD and sensory issues is that, at least with this child, there is an uncanny memory and brilliant timing. He spent some time as an infant hearing House in the background but since he couldn’t talk, he didn’t pay much attention beyond the theme song. As you can see in my entry Say What???, the boy and House have a past. But what I didn’t know was that out of nowhere, he would yell “Yay! I like House!” as if he were watching it on Hulu every night without us knowing it.

But he did yell that. And for the entire weekend, he informed us that “House will be on soon” and “House farted! P.U. House!” and “Be nice to House. House won’t bite!”. He sat on my lap for 20 minutes straight as I played the theme song on youtube. It’s by Massive Attack and it’s called Teardrops. Kind of cool. Although, I had to stare at Hugh Laurie’s face for 20 minutes straight. Handsome? Yes. Talented? Yes. Stare at him for 20 minutes straight? Not so much. Although when I turned around to survey the room, I did see the husband sitting on the couch in his underwear biting his nails. I looked at the boy sitting on my lap. Biting his nails.

I am pretty sure I need a hooker and some vicodin now.

Driving Miss Crazy

I hate to drive. Well, maybe hate is a strong word. Awkward might be better. I have always found driving to be awkward. I don’t like other people judging my speed. I take it personally when people go around me, even when I am going 70. I don’t like when people look at me in the car. It feels like being on the Gong Show and any minute I am going to get kicked off stage for looking goofy. I have a horrible sense of direction and I just don’t like being behind the wheel with people in my car. I have been this way for as long as I can remember. I am a commuter and usually got away with this since there was really no need for me to drive. However, I got the point where I figured I might as well suck it up and get behind the wheel and go for it. I would not be a slave to my anxieties so much that I am trapped in my own home, or dependant on rides.

I started with some baby steps. I have my directions all written out and landmarks to guide me. Long story short, I worked my way up to 2 expressways, and a lot of long routes to far away places, because I don’t mind driving side streets. I get around. I still don’t really like it, per say. But I do it and feel good about it, to a certain extent. Sometimes it still makes me kind of anxious and crabby but over all, good times for me.

Another thing that makes it a bit more tolerable is my son. His sensory issues and delays have added a rich dimension and layers to our relationship. This of course is code for “he really can’t stand my face and would rather not share space with me at home”. It’s kind of true, unfortunately. I am rarely allowed in the same room with him lately. I get a lot of abuse and he toys with my emotions, but we are working on it, and I know we will get through. I don’t blame him, and I am starting to not blame me. But we have found a glorious medium in which a truce is called and I can feel like the delightful and loving mom I was meant to be.

The boy loves a good car ride.

Now, at first, I thought this to be the cruelest of all fates for me. Can’t he like just singing and dancing? Watching the front load washer spin around? Facebook? Anything? Anything? Bueller?? No. He loves the one thing that is hardest for me to do comfortably. Drive.

The good thing is, I only drive with him in the car. We listen to music, and sometimes he let’s me sing. We catch each other’s eyes in the mirror and he smiles very big. His father has significantly different taste in music than me, so for every Usher or Black Eyed Peas song he starts to learn, I try to make up for it with Lou Reed, Foo Fighters, The Gits, Van Morrison, or David Bowie. There is a pretty cool kids song by the Indigo Girls that he has me replay 5 times in a row. I do it, because pure communication isn’t exactly his best talent right now, and if he clearly states me loves the music, I will comply.

He sleeps sometimes, but mostly he just chills. And the more he chills, the more I chill. Once, while at a red light, I even did the robot. He laughed.

Much like the little jerky miracle worker he is, he has broadened my horizon and made me a bit more comfortable in my car. At this point, if swallowing light bulbs made this child laugh, I would do it. Listening to Justin Bieber? Not so much.

Bebe

Hundred Acre Won’t!

I have always fancied myself a relatively average gal by nature. I don’t really have too much of a hipster vibe. I enjoy some out-of-the-way things.  I listen to a specific radio station that doesn’t specialize in playing the latest Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift over and over again, but I don’t own an IPod. I dress pretty plain, have an average sense of belonging, and I am only quirkier than a few people. I live in the burbs. I drive an SUV. I commute every day. I don’t shop at Whole Foods. Not because I can’t afford it or think it’s bushwah, but because I don’t live near one. I don’t like sushi. I don’t like fish, period. I exist right down the middle of life.

When I had the boy, I did want to try to stick to fresh foods, organic baby food, homemade baby food, baby food made lovingly by indigenous tribes of brown children blessed by the hand of God Himself, who live on a commune of unicorns and gluten-free fields of gold. That lasted all of 6 months or so, when Costco brand diapers and formula proved far less expensive than milk and honey from Euphoria.

So when I compromised on what he began to eat, I thought I would hold my ground and only expose him to off beat and smart music. Acoustic guitar, instrumental versions of Smashing Pumpkins music and awesome Pink Floyd solos. Then he became enchanted with the theme song from King of the Hill. It’s rock-a-billy, so I can handle that. Then came Wheel of Fortune and oddly enough, The Golden Girls. Apparently I gave birth to a 70 year old man. All in all, his music tastes are pretty acceptable, even though his dad sneaks on dance music when they are alone in the car. I guess that’s better than letting him eat Doritos all of the time, or teaching him to smoke.

I didn’t want the house to be full of generic corporate Disney stuff. I mean, Handy Manny is pretty cool. He is a Mexican handy man who teaches Spanish, lives in a perfect little town called Sheet-rock Hills, has a gay neighbor who owns a candy shop, and he is secretly in love with the hot chic who owns the hardware store. They also feature a lot of Los Lobos music. He is in. But the other stuff, not so much.

Same goes for books. I had the classic Disney stuff around when I was a kid. The big vinyl records with the books to read along. The politically incorrect drawings. The good stuff.  There is a series of books about a pigeon that I think are rather funny, and when he is older, Jamie Lee Curtis actually puts together a great book for kids, when she isn’t talking about constipation and yogurt on her couch with random women.

When the boy started walking around with Winnie the Pooh and the Windy Day, I am a bit dead inside. Pooh always seemed the lamest and somewhat creepiest of all of the Disney family. I just never got the appeal. He wasn’t really edgy or funny, and he was just that stereotypical baby nursery character that everybody had. I assumed we were cooler than that.

Fast forward a few weeks. The boy and his speech therapist are BFF’s. He is making great progress and every day he looks at things in a new way. He opens his Pooh book, points and says “Pooh”. Then later, he says “Eeyore”. Most recently according to my husband, he said “Owl”. The phrase that pays here people is HE SAID.

And now my heart has melted and I have taken Lulu’s advice and embraced the Pooh book. But not without a fight, and not without questions. First off, why do they call him Pooh, when his name is Winnie? What is a Pooh anyway? And furthermore, is he a he? If he is a he, why is his name Winnie? It’s a vicious cycle here people. Why is Tigger basically a crackhead, and why does he have mass appeal? What will become of Eeyore, who obviously needs to get off of the downers and start with some Wellbrutin or Prozac ASAP? Does Piglet know how good bacon is?

I stand by these questions. I know they may never be answered, which I guess is fine. If my son wants to yell their names across the house day in and day out, I will be more than pleased to hear them. I would even move to the Hundred Acre Wood, provided there is a decent radio station and a Whole Foods nearby.

-Bebe

Talking Heads

My son was recently diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. In simplest terms, he is unable to take what he hears and feels and process it into thoughts and actions. As you already know from earlier posts, he has been in therapy, doesn’t say much, and has a compulsive attachment to doors and buckles of every kind. The SPD is something the professionals thought could be borderline but soon it was clear that it wasn’t, and he needed more help. We had a change with our speech therapist and at first, I was pretty sad. But this woman is a breath of fresh air and she was able to get the boy to a whole new level in a matter of 3 sessions. Change isn’t always bad.

So starting in about a week or so, he will be spending 4 days a week getting occupational, speech & developmental therapies. That and 5 days of good old-fashioned day care. That boy is busier at 2 than I ever was in my lifetime as a little person. He has a great attitude about it and loves his therapists. He gets pissed when he has to work, but who doesn’t, right? I want to report to you that I see this fantastic change in him every minute of every day. But I don’t. That’s not to say that he hasn’t improved. He really truly has. He mimics us a bit now. I imagine Daddy and Mommy should curb our swears and random ridiculous conversations starting soon. We got into this ridiculous and hilarious argument in the car this weekend and he sat in the back, laughing his ass off. That smart ass kind of laugh where you could totally tell he thinks we are both assholes. My boy might be a little slow in the head, but he ain’t stupid. He knows assholes when he sees them. We were laughing and yelling at the same time, so it’s not like we acted like Ike & Tina or anything. But my point is, he knows.

I don’t always see his improvement because now, he acts out the most with me. I arrive at the time of the day that is hardest on him. He is so over excited to see me that he cannot take in what is going on around him. Nothing is routine with us, yet everything is. It is literally our routine for him to spaz out when I walk through the door and have him screech and get frustrated. We have a lovely time in the bath tub but when I am drying him off, I get smacked and kicked. Hard. Until recently, I didn’t really know how to help him down from that. Now I know to take my glasses off, hold his arms down a bit and give him a good strong hug. I sing the 50 states in ABC order because I learned them in the 5th grade and never got the song out of my head. And it actually helps to calm me down. This doesn’t work on him all the time. But the few times that it does really helps. I don’t feel so out of control. And as badly as it hurts my feelings and my self-worth when he is knocking the shit out of only me, I feel that much better when only I can calm him down.

I am unable to sleep in on weekends now because the second I walk down the stairs, his morning is in shambles. He isn’t used to seeing me all day. He had a morning routine with dad and while he loves that I am there, he is physically and emotionally unable to convey that he wants me there. So in other words, I have a 2-year-old teenager. “Oh look! There’s mom!! There’s mom!!! I love her soooo much!! However, I don’t know how to deal with her presence or my feelings, so begin breakdown before she hits the bottom stair. Annnnndddd GO!!!”

We have to work with the therapists on how to help him on weekends. And I guess on how to help us. I stayed home all last week on what was supposed to be the great clean up of 2010. Instead, it was the 2 year old’s great ear infection of 2010 and he stayed home with me all week. Nothing I planned went right. Not one thing. I had some good moments with him. I really did. But others, not so great. I had to keep telling myself that I am here for him, not the other way around. I had to keep telling myself he was very sick, and in general, even those “normal” little kids are jerks when they are sick. But all I wanted to do was run away or go back to work. Until a couple of things happened.

He pretended to talk on the phone. He babbled his heart out and even said “buh” before he hung up. This shows that he not only knows his own place in society, but he also wants to talk to other people in his world. That guy was saying something to someone on the phone!! Most likely he casually mentioned his fat ass mom hasn’t gotten out of her bright red bath robe in days and she was starting to kind of resemble the planet Mars. But fuck it. I will take that. Besides, that shit is true.

Our friends gave us some special sensory specific toys. He took to them straight away, and even sat down with us, and more specifically me, to play with them. It was a family effort and it went swimmingly. It was the end of the longest most unsuccessful week I probably had in ages, and here we were, playing as a family unit. I felt just about as calm as he was. And I guess that sometimes even when I am not realizing it, I am probably just as spazzy as he is. Something for me to think about the next time I am helping him out of the spiral.

Last but not least, something else entirely caught me by surprise. My husband started school the same week I was home. He was highly overwhelmed and emotional, but fiercely dedicated and steadfast. I had some music on. The boy sat in my lap on the living room floor playing with his new keyboard. Daddy was walking around reading medical terminology flash cards. I had slightly homemade Bisquick shortcakes in the oven and berries in the refrigerator. I kind of looked up and saw that moment for what it was. It was exactly what I have always wanted for myself. An evening with my family. No yelling. No farting. No cartoons or sports or empty television. No squeals of frustration from my son who lives in his own mind. Music, baked goods, education, culture and affection paid a visit to my home. It was genuinely who we were that night. It was a lovely moment and I am blessed beyond reason to have had it, and grateful beyond measure to be able to notice it.

My shitty week and sweet weekend ended today with the boy leading us in the song Itsy Bitsy Spider. It’s been one of his favorites for as long as I can remember. He would look intently at us and laugh when we over exaggerated the sun with interpretive dance. Only this time, it was his idea to start the song, and he did the movements with us. When he wanted to do it again, he used his sign language and asked for more. So of course, we did it again. My 2-year-old teenager changed back into a 2 year old boy, and when we put him down for bed, he yelled “BU BYE GOGO” He then reached out of his crib and slammed his door shut.

We have no idea what BU BYE GOGO means. But it’s cool. I am sure he will tell us someday.

Bebe