Shrink A Dink Dink

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.

louis lake

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.

rexie lake

So.

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.

stroller lake

I’m feeling oddly optimistic about the whole thing. We’ll see how long that lasts.

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Comments

  1. Sounds like a promising start! I hope the shrink & daycare work out for you AND respite care for Charlie would be awesome! Fingers crossed. :)

    • I’d be happy if I got two out of three. I have no hope on the respite front. None.

  2. Well all that information just blew my mind so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re overwhelmed by all of it. Sounds like a lot of changes are in store–I hope they are good and helpful changes and that they come as easy as possible. Uh, and yeah–your kids? Are all just. simply. adorable.

    • There are lot so changes, but yes, overwhelming as well. I keep focusing on the next small step and hopefully that will get me to the finish line.

  3. Just for the record, you have beautiful children. I think it’s great how you are getting help for them. Thank you for sharing your experiences. One of my friends has a son with autism and she had to put up a fight to get the help he needed.

    • Thank you, Aleta! Yes, it is good that the help is coming rather easily. I think it helps a lot that the system already knows us–they might not have taken me so seriously in the beginning if I wasn’t already a familiar face.

  4. Things look like they’re moving along for you guys! I hope finding a daycare for the kids works out smoothly and well. Sending my best up to the Northshore to you!! :)

    • Thanks, Addie! Just doing everything I can to keep them chugging along in the right direction.

  5. Meghan Kennedy says:

    Good to hear she was helpful. The idea that the twins are “mirroring” each other is interesting. I am crossing my fingers that day care will work out for both of them… it sounds like it will be good for them and for you. I also hope that you can get some respite care for Charlie… I mean it is crazy you are not getting any!

    • The respite thing is really weird–they did a survey over the phone and determined that we weren’t in need. I don’t know how they determine that.

      The mirroring thing makes a lot of sense. Louie does great with the therapists, but then not as well when he’s on his own–he needs a good model to keep him engaged I suspect.

  6. Oh Katy, Katy, Katy! Your sense of humor blesses me more than you could know. I’m encouraged by the content of your post (WHAT?!? You mean to tell us that you haven’t been getting respite with Charlie all this time? Seriously? Something is just so wrong about that…). Your witty style encourages me still further, because it means in all the messiness of life, you are still able to laugh yourself. And if you can do it with FOUR boys five and younger (which, all by itself, is grounds for sainthood, even without the special needs), then certainly I can hang in there with my little crew too. I needed that reminder tonight, so thanks!!!

    • You really are too kind. I get plenty frustrated about things, but I do try to keep a sense of humor. Really, I know that these rough times are brief–I think about how much less i worry about Charlie these days and I know that this is just part of the deal.

  7. I am reading this thinking I might go crazy if I was in your shoes. You handle it all so well, my friend, you really do. I am amazed by you. Truly. I hope you have a good Mother’s Day and darn those boys are cute!!

    • Some days I’m a little crazy! There is a LOT going on at my house and I try to balance it all–sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don’t. The child psychologist was a blessing to us and I’m glad that we’ve got her on the team.

  8. Any mom with more than one baby needs help and respite. Keep the child psychologist, this might just be your respite worker. Hope to read soon you find a daycare for the twins.

  9. August sounds so much like my first daughter. Her social skills were ok for her age but she had other autistic “signs” and was severely delayed in fine and gross motor areas. We had an IEP for developmental delay until she was 8. She then got a diagnosis of Aspergers. We were trying to figure out what was going on from the very beginning and we were so confused. It became a lot more obvious when she tried to communicate with her peers and had such difficulty. She has also wanted to communicate with people, she just didn’t know how. I too, am crossing my fingers for respite care. It’s tough when they decide you don’t need help over a silly phone call! However, you seem to be doing so well without it. I’m impressed!

  10. Having the twins socialize with other children sounds great. Good luck!

  11. I work full-time, so I can attest to the fact that enrollment at a daycare is down every so slightly in the summer.