disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It Will Be Alright

I keep telling myself, it will be alright. I keep caressing my son and telling him, it will be alright.

My son has a shy streak, the same streak that made me, as an infant, scream bloody murder if a stranger approached me. The same shy streak (and then some) that makes my dad a shut-in, refusing to leave the house for days, afraid of human contact. The same streak that started with my son playing coy, hiding behind his hands at about eight months old.

I thought it was a stage. I read books and blogs and found out that some children go through a shy streak at that age. I assured myself everything would be fine. it is just a stage. But then he began to shy away from anyone but myself or my husband. He would scream bloody murder if his grandma, someone he was once very close to, tried to hold him. Friends would reach out to hold my child and he would do a death grip onto my chest, bury into my boobs, and wail. It's just a stage, I told myself.

He is nearly two now. I got so used to his shyness that I didn't really notice it. I'd tell myself that he doesn't freak out when strangers approach him, like I did, just when they try and hold him. I'd push the thoughts of, "but wait, he is shy and scared around relatives and familiar friends" away, and just think, my little boy is perfect in every way. 

This last week, his shy streak became blatantly apparent. I can no longer ignore it. He went to daycare for his first time (sure he has been with grandma for a few hours here, gym day care an hour or two there...) and he failed, An epic failure. 

He got dropped off before sunrise, and cried and screamed past sunrise. Past snack. Past lunch. Through nap-time until my husband got a frantic call, "umm, please please pick him up. Now." from the daycare provider. That was day one. I figured, sure, separation anxiety, a new place, it is expected. 

Day two, hubby drops him off later and I get him in the afternoon. I can hear him screaming from across the street. I go in and he is a mess of tears and snot, blotchy red, and miserable. He didn't eat. Or drink. Or poop. Or pee. The daycare provider says, "yeah umm, he ran into walls. And the gate. And tried to escape out the door. He ran into everything. Repeatedly. He is going to be bruised all over." Now most moms would see this as a red-alert, that he is being abused or something, but I already am working with him on anger management. Instead of tantrums, he bumps his head into the wall. He's done this for a few months. But bumps all over? This proves he is quite unhappy at day care. But I've nowhere else for him to go, so daycare it is.
My sweet little guy, no matter what

Day 3, 4, and 5 all kind of blend in to one another. When being dropped off, he shook violently and looked distant. Afraid.  He again didn't eat, drink, pee, or poop. Just screamed. And cried. And bit his arms and his cheek until it gushed blood and he got sent home. By day five, he heard me walk in the door and just sobbed for ten minutes straight. I caressed him and whispered, "it will be alright honey. Mommy loves you. Mommy's here." till his sobs subsided and a smile began to appear.

I can't ignore it any longer. He just might have some kind of social anxiety problem. Like his grandpa. Like his mommy, You can't really diagnose, treat, or counsel kiddos this little so you just make do, and make adjustments. We are trying a co-worker's home later this week. Just my son, a baby, and my co-worker. A smaller, quieter environment  I feel bad, knowing what hell he might give her. I know I will be judged as the mother of that crazy baby no one can deal with. I know it could interfere with my career, meaning I'd have to quit my job that I just got after 17 months of unemployment, to stay at home again to raise him.

I pray that I'm over-reacting and he will be okay in a smaller environment. Yesterday, I called my best friend of life to give her my sob story, and to soothe my fears. She has worked in day-cares and social services and has a child with an anxiety disorder. While supportive, she said things I didn't like. Special needs daycare. How he never socialized with her or her son when we visited. How his language is a bit delayed. How he seems extra clingy.  How I'd get through it, but I'd better start now. Early intervention is key. Words like autism, developmental delay, panic attacks circled in my head.

I closed my eyes and thought. whatever it takes. It will take more day-cares and babysitters, days of no eating and head-banging. Coaxing and caressing, and lots of patience on both our parts. You can't explain anxiety to a 22-month old, you can only give support and understanding. You can only do, through trial and error, and lots of patience and time, what is right. I can come to accept that shyness is okay, anxiety isn't the end of the world, and that my boy is still perfect. Perfect for me. God gave me a boy that I can understand and support, even with a few bumps in the road or on the head. Whatever I do, it will be what is best for him. I wouldn't have it any other way but I went to bed full of worries.

Today, I toured a daycare facility. My stomach was in knots and I dreaded the visit all morning. We pulled up and I immediately tried to find thing I didn't like, or that my son would hate. I was greeted by a quiet, sweet woman holding a baby who whispered, "c'mon in." It was quiet, low natural lighting, and two one-year olds were playing with toys. The day care gal introduced me to a little girl and said, "she is very shy and cries around strangers or loud noises and is very clingy. She is over-sensitive." I felt like a weight had been liften from my shoulders by golden angels. This little girl acted like a mirror image of my son, She happily toddled around and began sharing toyd with my son, who would not leave my lap. He cried, but did not shake violently, and quietly bserved his surroundings. Right before we were about to leave, he left my lap and walke two steps to accept a toy from the little girl. He smiled. I smiled. The day care gal snuggled a little boy and offered my son a second toy. No crying. No shaking. No head-banging.

I found a place today that means the world to my son and myself. A place that works one-on-one with highly sensitive children, and doesn't just leave them to cry and harm themselves. A place like home away from home.

So anyone struggling with the placement of their child, or with a child with special needs, know where are angels among us.


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