Friday, April 29, 2011

Our Sensational Samantha

Sammie went in for her second session with the occupational therapist on Monday.  This time David went with us, which was great because he was able to ask the OT questions and get better answers than the ones I give him. :) 

Samantha got to play in the sensory room, which she loved!  It was like heaven to her. :) Seriously, it is a room full of mats, slides, swings, balls, and sensory toys.  What is not to love?  I wanted to play too!

While Sammie was playing, we talked with the OT and she pretty much went over everything we talked about last time. She also gave us more ideas on how to create a senosry diet for Samantha and like I said earlier, answered more of our questions.  One of our questions was  "Why does Sammie act one way with us and another way when she is around other people?" This mainly because we have had some people question her diagnosis.  To those people, I'd like to say, You don't see her everyday.  You don't see her in the mornings when I'm trying to get her dressed, and trying to brush her hair and teeth and make it out the door. And you are not there at night when we are trying to give her a bath and wash her hair and when we are trying to get her to go to sleep and it's been an hour and she is still in her room screaming.  Anyway, here was her answer to simple....It's like anybody else.  When you are at work and someone does something to upset you, you don't yell and scream.  You control yourself, even if you are angry, but when you get home and your wife says you forgot to take out the trash, you take it all out on her.  And that is what Samantha does. She keeps it all in (She understands social norms) and when she is back in her familiar place, like home, she let's it ALL out.

Now, with all that said, it is AMAZING how just changing a few little things can affect Sammie so much.  One of the things we have done is integrate some deep pressure activities into Samantha's bed time routine.  We've always had a bedtime routine, including reading, praying, singing and lotion.  And still, bedtime has always been tough.  She usually needs us to lay with her so she can scratch our arm and if we don't, many times she screams and cries.  Well, now before bed, along with the other things, we throw Samantha on a pile of pillows or sandwich her in between pillows.  We've also let her jump on her bed for a few minutes and roll of the carpet.  We've been doing this for about 2 weeks now and she has not once screamed.  I do lay with her while I read, pray and sing, but then I get up, tuck her in tight and walk out.  Amazing!  On a side note, I must say, I am so glad we never let her cry it out. I tried, but something just told me it was not for her.  I have often thought I was weak for not being able to let her cry more than 5 minutes, but knowing what I know now, I am so thankful.  Could you imagine if I would have just let her cry??  It would have been awful, because she really was crying for a reason...either her pjs were too scratchy, the blankets weren't snug enough or maybe she just couldn't calm herself down....she needed the deep pressure, which explains her need to pinch us every night as she fell asleep.  Anyway, moral of that is to trust your motherly instinct! 

Another thing we've had some issues with is taking her shopping and to restuarants.  Now, she is  not the  kid who is screaming in public because she isn't getting what she wants...No, she learned very early that screaming does not get her anything.  She is however, the kid who can not stay still.  We have pretty much stopped going to restaurants with her because we spend most of the time telling her to sit down, get out from under the table, and so forth.  I do still take her to the store though, and it is exhausting!  Remember, she does not scream, I can handle screaming.  Sammie just can't keep her hands to herself.  She is constantly walking or running off and touching everything...not because she wants it, she just needs to touch it.  And when she is wandering off, she does not pay attention, so she is constantly bumping into things or people.  I do not know how many times in one shopping trip I have to say "excuse us" or "sorry!"  And I have tried  everything I could think of to stop this behavior.  So, I asked the OT and she suggested that I have Samantha wear a weighted backpack.  And that is what I did.  The next time I was going to take her to the store, I put some toys and a water bottle in her backpack and off we went.  I put the backpack on her at the store, and to my surprise, she was sooooooooo good.  She still wanted to walk, but she stayed by me almost the whole time.  She even held on to the cart!  Not once did I have to tell someone sorry because she was paying attention!  What?!  I thought it was just a good day, but we have done this 4 times now and every time, she has been so good.  And the times I forget the backpack....well, let's just say we cut the shopping trip short.  The backpack just centers her and it is Amazing!  We have not tried this at a restaurant yet, but I have a feeling I might be able to enjoy a nice meal...well, maybe not since Caleb is all over the place now.

So there you have it.  Only 2 trips to the OT and life is already so much easier.  Once again, Samantha is pretty mild compared to a lot of other kids with her same diagnosis, so I am thinking with just a few little changes, daily living activities will go so much more smoothly, making for a happy Sammie...and a happy daddy and mommy!

Monday, April 25, 2011


We had a busy Easter celebration this year.  Well, first David's parents celebrate Passover, so on Monday, we went to their house for a Passover dinner.  It was nice, although very hectic with a 3 year old and 8 month old.  For the most part though, the kids did great.

On Thursday, Sammie and Caleb's playgroup had a Easter egg hunt at the park.  Caleb was just getting over a cold and it was pretty cold there, so he was not too happy, but Samantha had a good time. 

On Saturday, we had yet another egg hunt, with cousins, Trent and Carter.  It was fun too.  We played on the playground, ate lunch, looked for eggs, decorated cookies and fed the ducks. 

They were trying to roll down a little incline

2 Davids and a Caleb

Me with my favorite girl

The babies were having loads of fun.

He LOVED the swing

On Easter Sunday, we went to Church and Samantha did an Easter performance with the other kids in the kids church.  We were sooo proud of her!  She did AMAZING!

Then when we got home, my parents, Pam and Mikayla, and Dennis came over.  My mom brought food of course, and David BBQed.  The girls hunted for eggs and played all day.  We had to hide the eggs twice and then I think they hid them themselves a few times.  Caleb just sat back and watched it all.

Sammie got her watering can she wanted

 Easter love

 They just can't take a normal picture

This was definitely the busiest Easter we've had.  It is so fun watching how in to it Samantha is  now. I tried to talk to her about what  Easter is all about, but I must say, explaining the ressurection to a 3 year old is not easy.  We'll try again next year!  This year, I just let the kids enjoy their time with family and friends.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Sammie is at such a fun age now.  She is able to do so many things now and really appreciate them and  have fun.  On Sunday, we took her and Caleb to Legoland with David's cousin and his family.  I was a little nervous after her Disneyland experience, but I figured Legoland is smaller and she'll have a friend so  she should be fine.  And, I was right!  Like I said, we went with David's cousin who has 2 kiddos, a 2 year old and 4 month old.  Well, Samantha and Trent just adore each other, so when I said we were going somewhere with Trent, she  was so excited.  I told Caleb we were going to go somewhere with Carter and he didn't do much, but I am sure he was excited too. :) 

This is the only picture of them I got where they were both looking

 And here's the only picture of the babies together :)

Anyway, the kids weren't tall enough to get on all of the rides, but they still had lots of fun.  I think, by far, Sammie's favorite ride was the airplane ride.

She likes the rides the whip you around.  She was laughing so much and having so much fun, she got on it twice.  I am sure when she is older, she will love rollercoasters.

And it took her a minute to warm up to the lego characters, but she liked those too.

It did not take any time for Caleb to warm up to the characters though

I think he was just excited I let him on the ground, so he could crawl.

You can't tell from this picture, but Samantha had a great time. :)

Caleb had so much fun, he was knocked out by the end of the day

It ended up being a really nice day and I am so happy my kids have cousins so close in age, so we can do stuff like this.  Samantha and Trent were little monkeys.  I can't imagine what it is going to be like when Caleb and Carter start walking and running!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

And we have a stander...

Caleb had been trying for a few weeks to stand and I thought it was so know, that he thought he could stand so early.  I mean Sammie stood at 9 months and that was pretty early, I thought.  Well, there were a couple times where Caleb climbed on me or David and pushed himself up to stand and a few times where, just sitting in the middle of the floor, he would get about half way up.   I happened to have my camera the first time he did that...
but I still thought, no way will he stand before he's 8 months old!  And then it happened.  I set him down in the nursery at church, 6 days before he turned 8 months old, and he looked at me and stood right on up.  Of course, it was only for a few seconds.  I couldn't get him to do it again that day, but Monday morning, he was non stop...stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down.  He is up to about 30 seconds of standing before he falls now.  Oh man, I do not think I am ready for another walker in the house...

I got him right before he fell

He is so proud of himself

While this new milestone is very exciting, all the falls and bumps and bruises are not fun.  He has to  fall between 10 and 20 times a day. My tough little guy, just gets right back up...and falls again. :)  Ahhh...I love him!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our crazy weekend weather

I do not know what is going on lately, but this weather is crazy.  I never know how to dress myself or the kids day after day.  One day it is shorts, the next day a jacket.  This weekend made for some fun times though.  Snow on Friday and Saturday and nice and sunny on Sunday.

Sammie girl loved the snow...

Caleb, not so much...

Daddy couldn't even make him happy

she wanted to play in the water

Taste the snow

Having so much fun

It's cold!

Somebody pick me up

He thought he'd check it out

So those snow pictures were from Friday and Saturday.  Then today, we went to the park and enjoyed the sun.  

Sammie helped fly the kite

Caleb and I just hung out

But then Caleb wanted to help too.

Sammie happily gave up the kite so she could run

All in all, it was a good weekend.  It's nice when we have nothing planned on the weekends.  It rarely happens, so when it does, we try to take advantage.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sensory and Sammie

As a mom, some times you get a feeling that something just isn't quite right.  Well, I've had that feeling for about a year now when it came to Samantha's behaviors.  There was nothing that concerned me so much that I was worried, but still, something was off.  I thought it was just the terrible 2s.  Sammie was just trying to find her place and see how much she could get away with.  Let me tell you, David and I do not back down.  When we say there is going to be some kind of consequence for her actions, we follow through. And Samantha learns quickly.  It may take her a few minutes of screaming in her room, but she will come out and pick up her toys, or do whatever it is we have asked of her, with a smile through her tears, saying "I'm ready to be a good listener now."
There have been somethings though that Samantha just won't back down from.  Brushing her hair for example.  It is an all out battle some times when it comes to brushing her hair...screaming, hitting (Not by me, by her...ok, maybe a little screaming by me).  And no matter what consequences we give her, she will not back down.  I've fought with her for over an hour on a few occassions, just to comb her hair. And every time we go through this, I think "This just isn't right." But, I must admit, as a kid, I didn't like my hair brushed, so I thought she just took after her Mama.  What really started me thinking was when she started asking to put bows in her hair.  I was so excited and thought my baby was finally getting into the girly stuff.  The moment I would put a bow in though, she would cry and take it out.  The same thing with clothes.  She has things she refuses to wear.  For a while she wouldn't wear dresses.  Now she has a few she will wear, but not many.  And again, there have been times where she has picked out a dress and has asked to wear it.  I put it on and she starts screaming to take it off. And again I think, "This isn't right."
Working with kids with DD, I know a little bit about sensory integration  and I have known a few kids on sensory diets.  Many times, when talking to parents, I would think to myself or even say aloud, "That sounds like Sammie." This too got me thinking.  I thought, maybe Sammie had some sensory stuff going on, but then I thought I was being overly sensitive because I am around it so much....Besides, the only kids I know with sensory processing disorder have other diagnosis' like autism, ADHD, Down's Syndrome. My sweetheart doesn't have any other diagnosis.  I decided to just keep watching her.
Well, after about a year of watching her, I finally decided to email her doctor and just ask.  Not so much because I was worried, more because I was frustrated....Her screaming over brushing her hair and teeth, her pickiness when it came to what she wore and the fact that she needed the tags off of clothes all the time,  her constant pinching, her constant need to move, her throwing a fit when people tried to hold her or even touch was just getting to me.  And plus, I didn't want her getting in trouble for things she really couldn't control....that's not fair to  her.
I gave a few examples to the doctor, who then made a referral for the OT.  I filled out some paperwork and then we met with the OT. She explained Sensory processing disorder and explained tactile defensiveness and sensory defensiveness.  She explained what proprioception was and how some kids needed touch/tactile activities and/or deep pressure activities to help self regulate.  Then she talked about different things some kids do and she described Sammie to a T.  I was so happy to know that I was right when I thought something wasn't right...that I wasn't crazy and that my daughter wasn't just being bratty.  It also made me happy to know that there were ways to help.  We need to put Sammie on a sensory diet, which is a combination of sensory based activities.  Everyday, we will be doing stuff to help her ability to control her level of alertness. I'm hopeful that this will help.
With all that said, Sammie is not that bad at all.  Had I not known about sensory integration, I would have just thought I had a difficult child....a little challenging and strong willed. But, I am happy that we decided to take Sammie to the OT.  Knowing what is going on with her is going to help us help her and understand her. Now, hopefully we will be able to explain this to our family and friends and have them understand.  You just don't hear about sensory processing that much, so I know people will have questions (I still have questions!), and some might not even believe it.   I guess we will just take it one day at a time and one person at a time....

Sammie loves being upside down

And she loves climbing on the furniture

She is always spinning

And the swing is her favorite

And she is always pinching, but doesn't always realize it