Monday, May 30, 2011

We are peeing on the potty! (but not pooping...)

It was no small feat for a kid who is quite content to spend the day in a dirty or wet diaper (thank you, sensory processing disorder...), but we are doing it! Quinn is peeing on the potty! No poop yet, and honestly, no real reason to hope that's going to change any time soon.

Me: "Quinn, where do we go poo-poo?"
Quinn: "On. The. Potty!" (You wouldn't believe the enthusiasm!)
Me: "That's right! And where did you just go poo-poo?"
Quinn: "In. The. Underpants!" (Equal enthusiasm.)

No remorse from this kid. I guess this is the downside to taking the potty training thing nice and easy...

Still, we'll take our successes where we can find them. After all, QUINN IS PEEING ON THE POTTY! After an appalling lack of success with regular reminders, and after discovering the impracticalities of letting him run around naked (it worked, but ONLY when he was naked) we jumped on the prize bandwagon. Oh, my. We had a little basket with some cheap stickers and freebie toys, plus a few toy cars. Within hours the kid had the system licked, and was fishing about for the toy cars. That eventually morphed into demands for toy cars upon peeing, and eventually into determined but not very convincing fake tears when one was not produced. Oops.

So we have moved on to the "prize chart," which was greeted with wailing and desperate cries of "Basket? Toy car?" But finally, a week in, he is on board. He gets a sticker for each time he goes, and works toward prizes - a trip to the "car washer" or the little train ride at the zoo or "Old McDonald's" playland - that was his first choice.

So we're progressing, and we're wearing big boy underpants right out in public. Which is darned inconvenient. It means having to pull over when he says he has to go, spending way too much time in dirty public restrooms and trying to remember to take him to the potty at regular intervals. He's shockingly good about it, and sometimes funny to boot. Yesterday he was trying to pull down his underpants at lunch and was stymied by the drawstring. "Mama," he finally said, quite exasperated. "These pants are locked!"

Saturday, May 28, 2011

One year (!) post surgery

Incredibly, it's been an entire year since Quinn's tendon transfer surgery to repair his brachial plexus injury - the "SN" that brought us together. He has almost complete use of his right arm - before the surgery he had almost no use of it - but he still has to be reminded, constantly, to use it.

His one remaining challenge is reaching behind his back, which makes dressing himself quite a challenge. In fact, one reason we decided to go ahead with surgery was meeting an 8-year-old girl with brachial plexus injury who was begging her parents for surgery because she couldn't dress herself, put on her backpack or hang on the monkey bars at school. Anyway, his PT suggested some exercises that didn't really work and I've tried some other things that didn't really work. So not much progress, until about a month ago when I ran into his former feeding therapist, who is the easily most brilliant person I've ever met when it comes to children. "Hmmm," she said, "What could we do?" And on the spot she plopped down on the floor and came up about three exercises THAT ARE WORKING. Incredible. Quinn had no strength to sustain them when we started, but I already see that changing. Score (another) one for the feeding therapist!

We head back to Boston in a couple of weeks for his one-year check up with Dr. Waters. I'll be eager to hear his report, and eager for our strange little family vacation that has become our medical trips to Boston!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Just another way Quinn has changed me for the better

A few years back a woman came to our neighborhood picnic with her son, who has severe autism. He sat down to eat, but quickly got perturbed by something and soon was screaming and flailing. She apologized, explained his autism and they left. I remember feeling so sorry for her but having NO IDEA what to say or do. Sort of a social paralysis.

Flash forward to last Sunday. Same picnic, same woman, same son - but this year she left him home with a caregiver. I joined her in the food line to ask about her son and whether she had watched the "Autism Now" series on PBS a couple weeks back. We started chatting about Sensory Processing Disorder and schools and she offered to share her volumes of knowledge - and house full of SPD gadgets - with me. Cool.

It didn't strike me until later how I couldn't have had that conversation before Quinn came into my life. I didn't have the knowledge, obviously, but I also didn't have any level of comfortable with the subject or, really, any understanding of the challenges and joys of her life.

Once again, I find myself immeasurably grateful to Quinn for opening my eyes to new parts of the world and teaching me about things I didn't know existed. My life is better because of him, and I am a better person for having met him.

To me, that's one of the surprises of parenting a child with special needs. You learn. You grow. Your world expands. And how awesome is that?