Last year at this time I was hitting a point with Emme that was way beyond my capabilities. I started potty training her a few weeks before Halloween, which she actually grasped onto quite easily until she realized she could use it as a tool against me.
Maybe it was the pounds of sugar she was eating everywhere we went, but she was completely out of control. When Halloween was over and Emme continued on the same path I knew something was off.
Looking back now, her poor little body was completely out of balance. She wasn't receiving nearly enough vestibular or prioperceptive sensory needs. I was expecting way too much from her and she didn't have the capability of doing what I asked.
I disciplined in every way I knew how. When I put her in time out she would usually pee her pants or hit her head against the wall. Sometimes she just flat out refused to stand there and ran to attack the dog. I thought I just had to try harder or maybe I wasn't doing it right. It seemed like the harder I disciplined the harder she fought back. A few times I lost my cool and yelled at her because I had to get my own frustration out. She screamed back and would hit herself, bite herself, and throw herself on the floor and bang her head. I would put her in her crib so I could cool down only to come back and find she had peed all over her bed.
There were days of screaming in pillows, crying out in frustration, and worst of all, wishing I wasn't a mom. I reached out to friends and family, but kept the worst of it silent. Even from Gregg. Most everyone told me I was just experiencing the terrible twos and welcome to the club. Hearing that phrase over and over made me feel like the worst mom that ever lived. If this was normal then I must really suck at parenthood.
I started to pull away from gatherings that required me to take Emme alone. I still do sometimes. Chasing her every second and trying to keep her from attacking other children is not very fun. Plus, she puts everything in her mouth so I have to be on constant watch. She ate an entire piece of chalk during play group once. That girl loves her chalk. Outings are just plain exhausting.
To this day I can't leave her alone in a room. She will always, ALWAYS, find something to destroy. Our house is still baby proofed, but because of her intelligence she has figured out child locks. In fact, within a week of putting locks on our cupboards she had broken every single one.
It was and is a very lonely road. Not only did I pull away from everyone, but I could tell others were pulling away from us. I can't say I blame them. I wouldn't want someone else's kid constantly trying to squeeze or hit my newborn.
I tell these stories not for sympathy or to make Emme look bad, but to bring awareness to SPD. Emme is not a bad kid. She has a body that is different and one that needs constant sensory stimulation. I get that now.
We have come a long way since a year ago. I understand Emme's needs so much more. I'm starting to speak her body's language. I let a lot more go and try to be positive. It's how we survive the day.
Especially those days I'm alone. My view of a successful day is so much different now and because of it we're happier.