Little Man E

My little man lately....

He sure is a handful.
It's a good thing he's cute :)

We had been struggling quite a bit with Ethan ever since he turned three.  I felt like I was spending the whole day battling him and making no progress. I was sharing my trials with the wonderful ladies who sit at my table at my mom's group, and my friend Kelly suggested I read "The Difficult Child".  This is actually a very old book, but has been recommended by Dr. Laura.  I picked up a used copy on Amazon and have found it very helpful (I'm about 3/4 of the ways through).

The things that I was struggling with with Ethan are described in this book to a tea.  It made me feel so much better to read this, and have Ethan's behavior and personality described to me, and know that there are many other children who are the same as him.

We've also come to realize that Ethan has some sensory processing issues.  I'm reading a couple of other books that deal with that, and kind of trying to wrap my mind around it and figure out where he fits into all of it.  I'm going to look into getting him some occupational therapy to help him with some of his sensory issues.

Some of the things he really struggles with are new situations.  He has what they call "initial withdrawl", and can really freak out when in a new or different situation.  He clings to me and gets very anxious instead of happily playing with other children or enjoying the time.  He is overwhelmed by it all.  After about two hours he will sometimes warm up to the situation and enjoy it.

He thrives off of the familiar and routine.  I've learned that if I want him to enjoy something, it has to be familiar, or at least something where he knows what to expect ahead of time.  Realizing this has helped me to plan activities that he enjoys, rather than trying to fight it and making us both miserable.

Some of the things that we also struggle with are very common for children with sensory processing disorders to struggle with, such as:

-Getting dressed is a daily battle.  He wants to stay in his pajamas all day.  I'm pretty sure this is because he likes how they feel.  He hates how jeans feel, or zippers, or anything that scratches him.  He will only wear one pair of shoes... and of course they are his ugly "play shoes".  Once he grows out of them, I'm buying him a nice pair of shoes that I like, and that will be his only pair... then he'll have no choice in the matter!

-Ethan is oversensitive to his senses.  He hates if it is "too bright", "stinky", "too loud", or anything that is out of the norm.  I tried taking him to Bracken Bird farm one day and he freaked out and hated it because he couldn't get over the smell.  He gets very upset if the sun shines in his eyes in the car.  He hates being too hot or too cold.  The list goes on and on, but the point is that he is sensitive to these things more than a typical child.

One thing that I learned from the book that has been extremely helpful with Ethan is to just "let go" of the things that are not a big deal to me.  We were spending the whole day battling issues and seemed to be getting no where.  I've chosen a few "big things" that we are consistent with, and we are focusing on those right now.  This has had a tremendous impact on Ethan's behavior, and you would think it would be the opposite.  We have been spending far less time battling, and then when I do need to punish Ethan, he seems to actually respond to it.  Before we could punish him ALL DAY LONG, and it seemed to have no effect on him.  His behavior was getting worse rather than better.

I asked him to play "peek a boo" with me while I was taking his picture

I think what has been most helpful in all of this is finally reaching a point and realizing the typical "James Dobson Strong Willed Child" parenting was just not seeming to work with Ethan.  He needs things that are a bit outside of the box.

Understanding how he is made, and how his little mind works is helping me to work with him instead of getting frustrated at him.  I'm just very happy to see that things seem to be a little better around here because for a little while I really felt like I was going crazy with him.  While I know we still have a ways to go, it's encouraging to feel like we're making a little bit of progress.

I do love my little guy...
a lot.
My sweet little snuggly boy,
who peppers me with hugs and kisses and asks for them in return all day long.

One last picture of Ethan and Grandma Hekman last week when she stopped by.


krista said…
Ah Jess...glad you are figuring some things out to work with him instead of against him...I am glad things are a bit easier for you guys. I felt like I was reading about M with some of those things...she hates jeans and screams for comfy pants...and hates the sun too...she screams GO AWAY SUN when we are driving...
Ah...a 3 year old. Rough times.
You are doing a great job with E and I am really glad that the book you are reading is helping you and sweet E. Hang in there!!
Charlee said…
I am glad to see you taking a pro-active aproach with E he is an amazing boy just has a few sometimes troubling quirks. If you get OT I have to say Loma Linda is great! They worked with Breven for almost a year he had few sensory issues but his issues were also motor skills and such and they were so great. They even helped us with what to do at home which was great.

You are a good mom and the more you do now the easier it gets to manage. I hope all goes well.
Christine said…
Sweetie pie! I love that smile! Well, hello this is (sadly) my first comment on here. I love reading your blog and hope to hear more about your little guy...Evan has a lot of traits similar to those.
Kelly said…
It is very nice to read a book that describes your child. You don't feel so alone. :) I think one of the hardest things as parents is to know with battles are worth fighting and which need to be let go. Probably something we'll have to learn over and over. :)
Christy said…
Hi friend, thank you for sharing your heart with you little one and where you are in all of it. It all sounds very similar to what we were dealing with once Ryanne turned 3 until present day age 6. One of the things we did that was life changing for her was change her diet. We threw out anything that had high fructose corn syrup or any kind of dye in it and it made a huge change in her. I started researching things on line about behavior stuff and dye and even gluten and it all backs up the theory that is can cause or make these things worse. Anyways, just something to think about researching if you get a chance cause its an easy quick fix to aid in your discipline with him. :)
Jolene Grace said…
I am so impressed by the momma that you are, sis. I am praying that you continue to be given insight into how your little man ticks, so that communication is more effective and your days even sweeter. I love you!

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