Sunday, June 14, 2009
A Perpetual State of Semi-Denial
Spencer is doing very well these days. We still have our challenges but in general, we're happy that we've received therapy for him so early. However, despite the progress, I was still surprised when his behavioral therapists felt he was ready for potty-training and they warned that we shouldn't miss the boat when he's giving us the signs that he is ready to learn.
"OKAY! Let's go for it!" I said. We got the potty out and it took a long time but he finally did it and then he did it for a few days straight.
Then, I think I made a mistake. I think I should have just concentrated on this issue and really tried our best not to leave the house for about two weeks or so. However, life called and we needed to go out and so we put a diaper back on him and skipped the potty for a couple of days.
And then after we were settled back home again, we said, "Spencer go potty."
"No, no potty."
And no potty it was for several days and we tried and tried to get him to go back but nooooooo, no potty.
And then the strangest thing happened. He refused to urinate at all, not even in the diaper. I got so worried that I even called the doctor. This child clearly had to go but he would just hold it in. He would sway, dance, and do whatever he could to hold it in and he even whimpered in pain but still he would not pee.
The doctor said that if he didn't urinate in a 12 hour period, then I would have to take him to the emergency room. She suggested that I stop potty-training for now and that I should put him in a shallow bath and this might stimulate him to urinate.
"Okay, Spencer, let's go to the bath. " The minute he stepped in, he sprayed me across my shirt and I was sooooo relieved.
His therapists marked this behavior as a sign of anxiety and debated whether or not the potty should stay out of sight. Since he continued this behavior when the potty was in sight, our ABA lead therapist told us to put it away for a while. A day after we put it away, he stopped holding it in. No more anxiety for my 2 year old.
I don't know why I'm so nieve. I'm blogging about having 2 children with special needs and I'm still surprised at how much anxiety they can have at such an early age. Spencer is the child who pretty much starved himself last year and now he is holding in his urine to the point where it hurts and somehow I am still so surprised. What don't I get? Maybe I am in a perpetual state of semi-denial.
One thing that I am learning is that children's anxiety is rather mystical and I really need to pay more attention to this as a source of behavioral problems. (I also heard this from Kirk Martin- I really like his work! I can listen to those CDs over and over again.)
I guess the best thing I can do is show him that I can be relaxed but who am I kidding? My kids may have special needs but when it comes to me, they have x-ray vision. They probably know better than anyone else that I find it extremely difficult to relax.
Another funny thing happened as a result of this trial with the potty. The lead therapist had told me to read more on potty training and continue to read potty books with Spencer and so of course, the first thing I did was google "toilet training." Immediately, I was led to a parenting site and I realized that I hadn't looked at one of these parenting (for typical children) sites in probably a whole year. Wow.
I remember how much I searched through those sites whenever I had problems with Logan and how many times, I didn't get anywhere with the advice that was often prescribed. I must have looked up every possible problem they wrote about...... Breast feeding, Bottle Refusal, Hitting, Biting, Tantrums, Reading To Your Child, Sleeping, Pacifiers, and the list goes on. I wonder if I ever stumbled upon the lines, "if this doesn't work, your child may have a developmental delay. " I probably did and ignored it.
It's so hard to know what to do and now that I have stamped the "special needs" stamp on my kids, you would think it would be easier but it's really really not. I think I'm probably not in semi-denial but rather I'm just not that accepting the fact that I don't know everything and that I never will. I wonder who is more anxious, the one who refuses to pee or the one who needs to control just about everything. Sorry Spencer but Mommy wins this one.
P.S. I did find a special needs-potty training webpage. It was helpful.
P.P.S. (added 6.19.09) I found another book on special needs toilet training but I haven't read it yet but here it is the link.
Picture: Logan on his way to preschool #2 a couple of months before we finally sought professional help for his issues. Babycenter.com searches that month were likely: potty-training, is it too soon for nursery school?, aggression, discipline... I wonder if there is a topic entitled, "How to know if you are a bad parent?" I would have likely clicked on that first.