The day did not start off well because once they knew we were going to the Zoo then Eloise started to whine and didn't stop until say an hour later until we got in the car to go. Since we go to the Zoo pretty frequently and frequently I am by myself I have a very specific route I take to try to avoid the big hills and to hit all the highlights in a short period of time. The first stop (after a potty break for Miss Addy) is always the farm to feed the goats. The kids love to talk about feeding the goats but ever since Beckett's hand was nearly swallowed by a goat they have all been pretty timid. Eloise was wild all the way to the farm area yelling and whining about the goats and then...the goats were not out.
My heart sank a little but I figured distract, distract, distract and we already had tickets to feed the giraffes in 15 minutes I thought it would be fine between the playground and the elephants.
I was so wrong. Eloise whined and pointed and kicked and whined some more. We were told not to make loud noises while feeding the giraffe and she was causing such a ruckus I fully expected to be escorted behind the yellow rope away from the feeding. Luckily my mom was there and was so incredibly patient. I hate to say it but I think at one point I was threatening to feed her to the giraffes. It was an empty threat because giraffes are vegetarians and only eat tree branches and Rye Crisps as far as I could tell.
I've always said that my favorite animals start with the letter P. Pugs, pigs, and penguins are my animals of choice right now. But oh, those eyes, those lashes, that long black-blue tongue. Giraffes may have reached right up into the top spot after seeing them this close.
My mom and Beckett feeding. Well, my mom at least. Beckett's safe place is in the choo-choo wagon so after about 2 minutes he was yelling- Choo-choo!!!!
I don't think I was following protocol with my method of putting the cracker right in his mouth. I think I was supposed to let him lick it off my hand. Oh well, they don't bite, you just can't turn your back on them because their head weighs between 60-80 lbs and they can hit you with it. Notice Eloise can't even look at the giraffe? Poor thing could only point in the general direction of the goats and cry.
Guess who is on the other end of that lick? .
Rich and Addy. Addy didn't mind the giraffe too much but it certainly wasn't the big hit I thought it was going to be. Oh it was a big hit after we got home and now we talk about feeding the goats and the giraffes but at the time- not so much.
After the giraffe fiasco I couldn't take it anymore and said that had to head back to the goats and if the goats were still not out, we were just going to have to go home. Of course on the way back Eloise didn't want to ride, she wanted to either push or pull the choo-choo which just prolonged the crying. Can you tell I'm at my breaking point?
Ahh- at last!!!!!
This time she insisted on me feeding the goats while I held her. That's progress. Usually she will not go inside the gate.
Hi little fella. Please know that you are extremely loved.
For those moms with more than one kid out there- have you ever noticed that when one child is incredibly challenging it seems that the others just seem to be on their best behavior?
Or maybe it just seems that way. Either way, Beckett and Addy just soaked up every minute of the Zoo. Normally the kids are a little scared of the cows but today they seemed to enjoy them. I think Eloise was even ticked off she couldn't pet them. I'm not sure what was going on because I was totally enthralled with the cow that was in labor. She was in a separate pen and it indicated she was pregnant and she was due the following day. The vet said they thought she was in labor and that they thought she would probably give birth that day. She gives birth right there in the pen for visitors to see. Oh man, what amazing luck it would have been to have seen that. My mom grew up on a dairy farm and said it is just a total mess. I'm sure the kids would have freaked out but I love that stuff. The grosser the better.
Here she is all smiles and wandering away from the farm with not a care in the world now that she saw her precious goats and cows. What are the giraffes Eloise? Chopped liver??
Oh yea, and the kids always tell me the Zoo stinks. Eloise was walking plugging her nose. Yep, it stinks. That's life little one.
I'm not telling this whole whining Zoo story for pity because believe me, I've thrown myself quite a few pity parties this week. I'm telling it prove a point. Eloise is extremely rigid and is unable to shift focus. She is sensitive to smells and loud noises and transitions. She doesn't like change in routine or a change to what she was expecting to happen. Don't get me wrong, she is the sweetest, most wonderful little girl which is why we frequently call her "little doll" but when she does not get her way or she gets mad, watch out because she is incredibly strong willed and physically strong so if there ever is a toddler throw down at the park, you better hope she is on your side.
It is not really fair to compare the 3 kids but sometimes I can't help it. I was getting worried that sometimes her reaction to things was a little out of ordinary and she was much more sensitive to certain things than the other two. After a month of speech therapy and talking over some things with our pediatrician we decided that an occupational therapy evaluation was needed which happened earlier this week.
It was determined that Eloise has sensory integration disorder (SID) or sometimes called sensory processing disorder. Basically she does not process sensory information the same way most people do. It is like she is not able to organize, process or integrate sensory information and it gets in a traffic jam in her head. I don't really understand it and this is certainly the case where going to the internet is probably more harmful than helpful. It seems to be very complicated and the severity and scope can be so very different for each child so we are just going to have to wait and see how things go as she starts therapy.
They gave me a one page (really, one page) handout with some recommendations for books and we have started some therapy at home. From what I understand we need to start to figure out her triggers and gradually try to desensitize or introduce her triggers to help her figure out a way to process the information in a manageable way.
For example, she is petrified of loud noises like the blender or vacuum or hair dryer- hence I can only blow dry my hair when the kids are sound asleep. The other day I had made tomato sauce from some tomatoes from our neighbor lady, Kit (just love her name), and I had cooked them down and put them in the blender jar in fridge with the plan to puree them after the kids went to sleep. I opened the fridge to get something out and Eloise saw the blender jar and started to scream and point and say, No! No! No! Now, this is where the pity party comes in. We need to do things like leave the blender on the counter so she can figure out how to deal with it then eventually have her push the button the blender using noise cancelling headphones. All the while she will be crying. Thus the pity party. I'm already at my breaking point with the whining and now we are just going to add to it. But I'm hopeful that once we have a better understanding of Eloise's needs that we can start to address them and make everyone much happier.
Sorry if I'm totally butchering the concept of sensory integration disorder to anyone who knows more about this than I do! I have yet to even read the one page handout in depth because I'm still pretty freaked out. I'm worried about what this means for her short term and long term not to mention the few weeks leading up to this evaluation were incredibly challenging so I was not in a good place to accept this news. Well, I was freaked out until I got a few emails from some of my fellow triplet moms who have been dealt with this to varying degrees. Below is an excerpt from one of the emails-
In time she will get better, that is, you and she will learn how to get along with SID. Now it sounds like a verdict. In a couple of years it will just be SID and your daughter will be, just that, your daughter (on who someone once put a sticky that is long lost).
Thank you to all of my fellow triplet moms for your insight and support. She's my daughter that needs our help, understanding, patience and love.
Pity party over.