December 4, 2011

Sensory Battles

November was a good month.

Jeff took a week off while he was in between jobs. Then he started his new job, which is right down the street and around the corner from Moe's school. No more commute! It helped make taking our house off the market for a while feel like the right thing.

The kids were healthy and, for the most part, sleeping well. The massive schedule upheaval after the time change had finally worn off. There were some ups and downs with the extra days off during the month but things were pretty stable.

The month ended with a visit from my parents and a pretty successful Thanksgiving holiday.

Oh how I miss November.

Because December sucks.

Moe and Jelly both got colds and have had trouble sleeping. Moe is stuffed up and his sensory needs have gone through the roof. Starting at school on Friday and continuing through the weekend, he has been grabbing, biting and pulling with very little warning. Our dog Berkeley has gotten the brunt of it.

In fact, Moe has decided that it is so rewarding to pull on the dog and grab her fur, her tail, or her paws, that he has been actively going after her. Moe has hurt Berkeley several times, and she can't figure out to just stay away from him. Maybe we need to add doggie Stockholm syndrome to her long list of issues.

Jeff and I have been on edge all weekend, trying to keep Moe and the dog separated. We've tried calming activities and energy busting activities, and they all work for a bit, but then the sensory monster comes back. We can't quite figure out what is causing it. Is he tired? Upset about something? Processing something? About to make an amazing developmental leap? (Wouldn't that be great?)

This afternoon got so bad that after Moe's bath (which was supposed to help him fulfill some of his sensory needs but ended up riling him up more), Jeff couldn't even get Moe's clothes back on him. Moe was laughing, kicking, and pulling. He was physically unable to keep still. And he's laughing the whole time, which we understand is also not in his control, but makes it quite frustrating for us. Jeff put Moe in his bed and closed the bed tent to help him calm down. When we went to check on him a few minutes later, he had taken off his pull-up and peed all over the bed.

Fun. Times.

I know Moe can't be happy like this, although he doesn't seem too upset about it. He was manic and out of control and it scares me. Berkeley has been tolerant, but she is a dog and could bite (though she never has). And what if he hurts Jelly? Moe is only four, and so I always have to go down the "how will I handle this when he's bigger?" path until Jeff yanks me back and reminds me to take it one day at a time. Which I find absolutely impossible to do. With Moe, behaviors tend to come and go and we rarely understand why.

And poor little Jelly has to witness all of this stress and yelling and frustration. She takes it in stride, but she notices. Today I saw her push the dog out of the way, and although she got an immediate time-out, I felt awfully hypocritical because I'm sure I pushed the dog out of the way a hundred times today.

This is the worst I've seen Moe in a long time, and it has lasted longer than I remember something like this lasting before. We gave him melatonin tonight and he fell asleep quickly. I hope that he sleeps through and that a good night's sleep will help him regulate tomorrow. I hope he doesn't hurt anyone at school tomorrow. I hope that December improves.

I hope, I hope, I hope.


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