It has been quite a weekend. Can someone tell me if there has been a full moon? It sure feels like it!! Where to begin...
Saturday morning I noticed Brian started coughing randomly here and there. My radar went off, but not too strongly. We were at the local YMCA taking a tour - considering membership - so I was distracted. (We did end up joining!)
When we got home, he had lunch - a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A few weeks ago I bravely crossed over and tried to overcome my irrational peanut butter fear. Both boys have been tested for peanut allergies not that long ago and both were negative. Brian has had peanut butter at least six times - and no reactions. So I nearly freaked out...okay, I totally freaked out...when I looked over at him Saturday and his face and neck were filled with HIVES! I did what any normal, intelligent Mother would do. I posted it on Facebook. I had lots of "Facebook Doctors" telling me everything from "it's probably a virus" to "it's a peanut allergy" to "chickenpox!" to "fifths disease" to "the plague!" Okay, nobody really said the plague...but the comments scared me more than Googling would have. I was very happy when the doctor finally called and said...it's likely a virus. I put him in a baking soda bath and the hives went away.
Brian went down for a nap - unfortunately, it was Benadryl induced because of the hives - and Gavin and I left for our date. I was looking forward to an expo at a school down the road. It had advertised that many of the vendors would be "special needs camps"...but I still wanted to go to see if I could learn anything. And...I wanted to check out this school to see if it would be appropriate for Gavin.
We walked in...and that's when things went nuts. Gavin is usually a calm, cool, collected "date" when we go out.
But not today - when I was wanting to talk to a whole bunch of people...take things in...concentrate a little bit. He was throwing himself around in his stroller. He was banging his head against the back seat. He was sobbing. Then...when I picked him up to hold him (mind you - this is all within the first ten minutes of being there!) he would throw himself back into a backbend forcing me to lift his heavy body back up...only for him to do it again. And again. Insert sobbing. And repeat. It was a very frustrating experience. Something was just "too much" for him in there. Maybe the noise? Maybe the people? Or maybe, as his Aunt Bean so wisely pointed out, it was that he really doesn't want to go to school!!!
While I was there, I was able to pick up a few useful things. I discovered that this "school" was really a therapy center for kids like Gavin. All private pay therapy for children who don't have therapy covered like we do. I also found out that there is a horse farm that is right down the street from Brian's school (very close to our house!) that does therapeutic horseback riding. Gavin did so well with this in the past and I'd love to do it again. The farm that we took him to before is quite a hike from our house...which makes it tough now with Brian in school. It was a three or more hour chunk out of my day with Gavin. I plan to visit this farm close by for a tour someday soon.
I also was able to talk to my sister's friend - she happened to be manning a table that was for the Parent Education Network. PEN is committed to offering help, resources and more to parents of kids with special needs. Unfortunately, while chatting with her Gavin was at his worst and I quickly had to leave. But if I got one great thing from our short conversation...it was the term "Least Restrictive Environment." I feel lucky that I have known my sister's friend for more than half of my life and can contact her anytime...and the website is wonderful and filled with resources. But that "Least Restrictive Environment" term kept running through my mind as we drove home. It says, in part...
Discussions should focus on supplementary aids and services needed to help your child benefit from educational services.
I admit - this whole "special education" world is new to me. I need to learn a lot - and it's overwhelming. I have this idea that Gavin could go to school with Sara...for a morning program just like Brian.
There, he could safely navigate the classroom and the toys with Sara's help. He could be let out of a restrictive chair to be in his walker and Sara could be a one-on-one help to him. If he started to act up with any inappropriate mouthing behavior (like banging his teeth on something), Sara could distract him...move him...stop him...without resorting to strapping him back into a restrictive chair. Then...he could come home at lunchtime and his therapists (if they didn't see him at school) could come to the house for his therapy! It sounds so simple to me. And it would take the burden off overworked teachers who just can't be one-on-one with every child. I hope my dream for Gavin can become a reality. (And by hope, please know that I mean...I KNOW my dream for Gavin WILL become a reality. I just didn't want to appear too pompous. *wink*)
Gavin will likely start Kindergarten by his fifth birthday. They changed the cut off date from "the child has to be five by September 1st" (which Gavin would not have been five yet) to "the child has to be five by September 30th" (which is ONE DAY after Gavin's birthday). I can't keep him home forever - and if I choose NOT to send him to Kindergarten, we would have to privately pay for ALL of his therapy services I've been told. But I don't know ALL the gory details yet. I will be attending a meeting in a few weeks to get more information. I've given myself permission to NOT panic until after that meeting.
I was happy to see Saturday end. Between Brian's hives...Gavin's meltdown...and a stressful evening, I was happy to crawl under the covers ridiculously early which is why I skipped the blog. I slept well...
Only to wake up to a very sick Brian.
Ed was convinced this morning that Brian had Whooping cough. His cough was pretty nasty and his voice was as deep as the ocean. Fortunately, he was happy and playing and eating here and there so I wasn't super worried. And the second call of the weekend from the pediatrician calmed me down even more. He really thought it was a virus - that it was unlikely that it was Whooping cough (thank God!). I'm keeping him home from school, obviously, and canceling Gavin's therapy for now. And I'm also praying - HARD - that the rest of us don't get sick. Gavin can never afford to get sick - I really don't like when he misses his therapy! And this week Ed and I will be going in for our egg retrieval for IVF...followed five or six days later by the embryo transfer. I want to be in tip top "baby growing" shape for all of it!
If there was one good thing about the weekend, it was the time I got to spend with Gavin today. While poor Brian slept this afternoon, Gavin and I played. Just the two of us. It brought back memories from the time that it WAS just us. I took a crazy amount of photos of him today...but had to share these three. It makes me so happy when Gavin deliberately plays "peek a boo". He pulls the cloth over his face...and after I ask "Where's Gavin? Has anyone seen Gavin?" he slowly pulls it off his face and flashes the biggest smile.