So yesterday? I think it was yesterday. I started losing my mind a while back (sometime between babies 3 and 4 to be exact), and I’m not sure it’s ever coming back.
So yesterday. Yesterday a child psychologist came to the house to evaluate the twins.
After my own shrinking experience, I was ready to just cancel the whole thing, but I pretended to be a grownup, cleaned up a little, and braced myself to try things out at least once. I did not, however, bother to put on real pants. I mean, if she’s going to see how things really are, she’s going to need to meet my pajama pants. I only put on real pants if I’m leaving the house.
Where was I? Oh yes, the shrink.
So she came over and immediately started asking me questions and I was a prepared to hate her, but then. . . I didn’t.
She had actual, concrete suggestions for dealing with the issues I’m facing as the mom of four children, three of whom seem to have some kind of special need. Also: she didn’t appear to be waiting for me to cry. She watched the kids, we talked about each of them. She played with them some. She didn’t bat an eye when I put on an Elmo video so she and I could talk without screaming/running/crying/whining/begging. It was good.
She called the state and was harsh with some people about why we don’t receive any respite care for Charlie. They’re going to call us. It’s bound to be a debacle, but it was nice of her to call.
She recommended some management techniques for dealing with Louis’s problem areas–baths and diaper changes–and then talked at length about how he doesn’t really seem to be progressing these days.
We talked about August who was his flirty best–smiling at her, playing games–just generally being his little impish self. She also got to see him flap with excitement over Elmo and spend every available minute trying to sit in my lap. She agreed that he has very uneven skills and that his social skills seem quite good. There’s something definitely going on there, but exactly what is still a bit of a mystery–he’s not classic autism, but some kind of developmental delay? Who knows.
She recommended I put the twins in daycare for one or two days a week. She explained that at their age, the boys are starting to “mirror.” With no good models for play or language (their older brother isn’t a great role model either–eep!), they’re mimicking each other. This might work if they were both chugging along normally, but instead we’ve got August over in a field of dandelions next to the path that is normal development. He’s spinning, he’s happy, he may even be making some progress, but he’s distracting Louie and that’s no good. It’s even possible that if they continue this field frolicking long enough, they could derail Rex as well. You can just guess how excited I am about the prospect of MORE therapy.
Louie definitely needs daycare so he can see normal development. August would probably benefit as well, but even just getting Louie in there should start moving things along. I’m going to have to call some places and see if anywhere has a summer opening–I’ve never heard of this, but apparently some daycare centers have spots open up in the summers when teachers take their kids out for the ten weeks that is summer break. I’m hoping to slide Louie and maybe even August into one of those slots.
She also taught me an ABA routine for getting kids really good at responding to their names. If you aren’t familiar with ABA, it’s the considered the most-effective treatment for kids with autism. From what I can tell, it is a LOT like training a dog. My dog wanders into the street every other day and sleeps on my husband’s pillow when we’re not looking, so I’m sure we’re going to be GREEEAAAT at this. Still, it would be nice if the kids were better at coming when they’re called. Right now they only do it when I call them inside and that’s because I pretend to lock them out if they don’t hustle. They tell me my Mother of the Year Award is in the mail in case you were wondering.
After the proper paperwork is filed and red tape is applied in the appropriate places, the psychologist should be coming out every two weeks or so to see how things are going and help me with tips, pointers, and possibly dog treats. I might have made that last one up.
I’m feeling oddly optimistic about the whole thing. We’ll see how long that lasts.