Forgive me for bragging, but William has turned into a lovely boy. I feel like we've reached quite a milestone over this past year. His fourth birthday signaled confirmation that we had survived the years 2-4 intact. In just a year he has developed from a whirlwind of activity to the child that actually is complimented for his good behavior. You have no idea what a big step that was for him -- and me.
It took me a while to figure him out. First there was the BOY FACTOR which would confuse the most perceptive mother. Boys really are different from girls. Their motivations, their hands on learning (at least my boy), and their activity level. Then there was the SECOND CHILD FACTOR. How do you know that some behavior is not just to get attention? How do you know that being the second child has changed his experience -- after all, isn't it a totally different experience than with the first child? Then I began to realize that the LEARNING FACTOR was different with each child. William is a hands-on learner. He has to touch things as he goes through the world. It's his nature. He learns letters with a game called Boggle, Jr. It's a game with letter cubes. It's like a key turned in his brain. (Jordan is a mixture of visual and verbal.) And for a long time I've dealt with the UNKNOWN FACTOR. It filled me with mostly questions. Why did William get so frustrated with certain activities? Why was he unable to discern obvious pain or danger at times? Why did the little things drive him to a rage? Something as simple as a clothing tag could make him uncontrollable. How could he be so physically strong and yet not able to sit on a stool and eat his dinner? Was it just his personality? Honestly, I felt like a failure as a mother. How could I teach him to deal with these necessary life lessons?
Finally we've found out that he has a mild version of a Sensory Integration Disorder. It explains so much. Therapy has already begun to help. Maturity is helping also. I'm learning to recognize overload situations and help him cope. There are senses other than the five your teacher told you. These are the senses that help you understand your world. These are the senses that tell you how to relax in a chair, but not fall out of that chair onto the floor. In short, these senses determine how you experience the world.
There is beautiful news in this diagnosis. William will improve with therapy...perhaps finish therapy within just a year. He is a the ideal stage for diagnosis and treatment and it's a mild problem that will not keep him from being a normal child. We are fortunate that his birthday falls past the school deadline forcing him to be a year older starting school. It's all going to be OK. It's like a burden has been lifted off me. Like I said in the beginning, 90% of the time you would see William as a model 4 year old. But then there are moments where I am reminded...
On Wednesday we were in Home Depot Expo with my parents. Just a minute after we entered, we were looking at a lighting display. All of a sudden William lets out a huge yelp and is obviously hurt. He won't even let me look at his hand. Apparently he touched a hot halogen light bulb and created a huge blister area on his left hand. We got him ice and he recovered nicely. After the immediate chaos passed, I realized that this incident was directly related to his sensory disorder. Sure, it could have happened to any curious kid, but William did not even draw back from the heat produced from the bulb before touching. He experiences much of his world in a hands on way...so we have these scary moments occasionally. They always happen when you least expect it and he always seems totally surprised at the result of his exploration. Maybe this was the confirmation I needed to continue therapy with no doubt. Maybe one day he'll sense the danger and anticipate the injury before it happens. I hesitated to post this, but honestly, this is what's on my mind.