Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Random musings

Note: I originally wrote this in September, but never published it.

Frank ate a cupcake!  Actually, two cupcakes- one at OT the day before his birthday, and one at school on his actual birthday.  He ate the cake, and not the icing, but: My.  Kid.  Ate.  A.  CUPCAKE.  (His teachers were just as excited as I was, too.  It was very cute)

My husband thinks I worry too much about this sort of thing.  In one respect, he's right: every six months, when I bring him to the dentist, I get compliments on the state of his teeth, to which my response is always the same: "His teeth should be pristine.  He doesn't eat anything with sugar in it!" 

However, as someone who was picked on for 13 straight years of school, I worry about social implications of his food issues.  I don't think it's any secret to anyone who has regular interaction with children, or was once a child, that kids can be cruel.  I don't want Frank to be That Weird Kid Who Won't Eat a Cupcake.  Or whatever.  Granted, at least at this point, he's very self-confident, and if someone says something mean to him, he gives as good as he gets, but who knows what will happen next year when he's in public school?  He'll be entering in first grade, whereas most of his classmates will enter as kindergarteners, and will have had a year to cement friendships. 

I worry because I read a lot, and I know that kids with SPD tend to have more social problems than kids who are neurotypical.  I also know that I was picked on a lot (I was an easy target- I was painfully shy and wore glasses and had health issues.), and I work in schools, so I see firsthand every day how cruel kids can be. 

But, at the moment: he ate cupcakes, and he's loving kindergarten, and doing very well.  And according to his pediatrician, he's in the 89% for height for his age, so, from a purely physical standpoint, we definitely made the right decision to start him in kindergarten now instead of waiting until next year.


I can't believe this school year is almost over!  Frank has done extremely well in Kindergarten.  He's reading tons, and his writing has improved dramatically.  At the parent-teacher conference in January, his teacher assured me that any silliness she sees, and his abilities, including handwriting, are all perfectly age-appropriate, and she is well pleased with his progress.  He'll enter public school first grade in the fall without an IEP or a 504.  I registered him for first grade last month, and they told me we would know who his teacher would be by mid-July.  Once we get that notification, I'll email her, intriduce myself, and explain about Frank's SPD.  I have plenty of books she could borrow to read up on it, if she's not familiar with it.  If he shows signs of needing additional interventions, then of course I'll ask for him to be evaluated, but right now, I'm okay with him going in unclassified.

Food-wise, he's made some great strides recently.  He now eats the school lunches more often than not, even things he's never eaten for us at home!  Peer pressure, despite what some think, is not always a bad thing; he's watched his classmates wolf down cheese quesadillas and turkey "dinners" and been intrigued.  Each time he gets a new meal, I send in a backup lunch for him, but he's never eaten any of these backup lunches. Today, at OT, he wanted to try a cheese sandwich: "Not grilled cheese, Mommy.  Just cheese." He was lukewarm on the cheese and bread together, but did eat them seperately.

Our big bugaboo has always been and still is fruits and vegetables.  He's tried several in OT recently, with varying degrees of success.  D and I agreed long ago that once he was consistently eating one or two of each, he'd be done with OT, but I haven't shared that with Frank.  He loves OT, and I could easily see him deciding to never eat another fruit or vegetable if it meant he got to keep playing with D every week!

That brings me to another change: he decided about a month ago that, "I'm a big boy now, Mommy, so you don't need to come into OT with me anymore."  I had always gone into and participated in the sessions with him and D, since he was 17 months old.  He's five and a half now, and I actually asked her last summer about this very issue; I had noticed many kids in the center about his age in there with the PTs and OTs, and not a parent in sight.  D said it depended upon a child's issue; in Frank's case, food is such a personal issue that required a great deal of daily consistent followup at home, it was important for the parent to be involved at that point.  She said she'd leave it up to me and Frank if we wanted me to keep going in or wait in the waiting room.  I didn't say anything to Frank at the time, but deicded I was going to let him drive it, and had, over the last few months, been leaving during the session here and there, just to see what he'd do.  Well, once Frank got a taste of it, he decided he rather liked the independence of it.  He seemed rather taken aback by how easily I agreed with it, but has never turned back.

Part of me is somewhat relieved, as I admit to feeling frustrated sometimes during the sessions, but part of me feels something of a pang.  This is my baby, and this is a thing he and I have always done together.  My husband has come to a few sessions here and there, but, as I work a school schedule, it's far easier for me to do OT, so I've always done the bulk of it.  But, now, my baby doesn't want me in there with him anymore.  It's the first real thing with Frank that I can remember feeling this "he's no longer a baby" feeling, and it's very disconcerting.