Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Bad Day

Last week I took Jenna to meet her 1st grade teacher in anticipation of the start of school. I found myself holding back tears while we were at the school. But, the tears weren't for Jenna - they were for Brennan. I feel confident that Jenna will like 1st grade, that she will learn and make new friends. I feel the same about Tanner and Parker. But Brennan? I'm not so sure. I honestly can't imagine sending him off to school. Will he like being at school? Will he be able to tell me if he doesn't? Will he be accepted by his peers and their parents? It feels so safe having him home with me where I can care for him, protect him, make sure his needs are met and that he is happy. To send him to school where someone else will be responsible for him seems unimaginable.

After we visited Jenna's school, we were out with a group of kids. Brennan was enthralled with the amount of activity and watching intently with his mouth hanging open, as he sometimes does. One of the kids looked at him and started laughing saying "look at the baby's mouth." He went on and on, laughing and laughing, saying "look at him, look at the baby, look at his mouth." I said something about Brennan being so in awe of all the excitement, that I thought he was probably trying to say "wow" or something like that. I didn't want to make a big deal out of it as I don't think the child was being mean spirited. I think he just noticed something that seemed different about the wat Brennan looked at that moment, found humor in it and wanted to point it out to his friends. It may not sound like a big deal, but it broke my heart. It was the first time that a child has made fun of Brennan for something that Brennan has absolutely no control of and it made me feel terrible. Really terrible.

When we came home that night, I was feeding Brennan and working on helping him drink from the straw cup and just started crying. We've been working on the straw every day for weeks and occasionally for weeks before that and he still doesn't get it. I put the straw in his mouth, wait for him to close his lips, then squirt some liquid into his mouth. The theory is that at some point he will learn that he needs to suck in order for the liquid to come out of the straw. But that hasn't happened. He just hasn't gotten the hang of it and I'm feeling so frustrated. I want so badly to be done breastfeeding, but obviously can't until he can get enough liquids from another source. I feel like I need a break - a few days away without the kids - and I just don't know when that will happen if I can't wean him. There are many other skills that we've been working on for much longer than the straw, but the straw is the only one that causes me frustration because it directly affects me and my ability (or inability) to have a much needed weekend for myself.

Basically, I had a big 'ol pity party for myself that night. I cried and cried and cried. I haven't had a night like that since Brennan was a couple of months old. So, maybe I was due.


Monica Crumley said...

I'm so sorry to hear you're having a rough time right now. John Michael had a difficult time with cups and straws, too, after he went on a nursing strike. It really took quite a while for him to get enough liquids, so I gave him more soup and milkier oatmeal, etc for a while. He also didn't like cow's milk, so we tried PediaSure, watered down juice, and just kept trying. I can feel your frustration and I know how tough it is when you're "it" as for giving your child his milk. No breaks. We were told not to do sippy cups, but I caved and got him the disposable cups with the mostly spill-proof lids that snap on. These worked the best for us as the cups were light enough to hold and there were no valves that he had to work hard to drink through. As for the kid at the school, I feel your pain there, too. Most kids at our elementary school have been great, but occasionally there's a kid that just stares at JM, I guess to figure out "what's wrong" with him. It's not the easiest road all the time and it's OK to purge your emotions from time to time. I hope you're feeling better today. Brennan is such a sweetie. He'll get it... maybe it'll take a nursing strike on your part. {{HUGS}} from this coast.

Lisa said...

Hang in there! I worried about sending Bridget to school, but she is doing great! Brennan will be fine, too.

It sounds like you have several issues converging (a pile-up of concerns, so to speak). Take it one day at a time. It will get better!

Adrienne said...

Aww, that makes me sad too! I'm just beginning this journey and it breaks my heart to think Bennett may get made fun of. But then I think my girls could get made fun of too at some point-kids can be so mean! I know this has to be frustrating but Brennan will get the hang of a straw and when he does you'll be so proud. You're doing a great job!

Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

This happened to me last year with Joaquin so I totally feel your pain. It was about his tongue. It too was not mean spirited but it still breaks a mother's heart. I've also had parents say things without realizing that Joaquin has DS and depending on my mood at the time I either jump down their throat or just laugh it off. Sometimes I just can't contain the mama bear. Hang in there. We're all here for you. Have you been on Sara Rosenfeld Johnson's blog? Maybe you could email her some questions on how to proceed with the straw? Our OT had a few tips that I could go over with you on the phone. They seemed to really make a difference for us. Call or email me anytime.

Anne and Whitney: Up, Down and All Around said...

I am so sorry that so many things seemed to pile up all at once and made for a really tough day. i think we all have these kind of days or feelings! I really hope that Brennan will get the hang of the straw soon so you can have a much needed break!
We worked with the honey bear cup and then I looked around on the internet and through blogs some more for additional options and found out about the sip tip cup

this REALLY made a huge difference for us because it has a valve that you put into the bottom of the straw and then you press on the little hole on the lid of the cup and it brings the liquid up into the straw so that if you make even the slightest sip on the cup the liquid comes up much easier because it is already halfway or all of the way up, and the kid really gets to feel what it is like to sip rather than having the liquid squeezed into their mouth. (does this make sense). i think there is more info about these cups avail if you want a more detailed explanation. hope today was much better :) a good cry always seems to help, doesn't it???!!!

Sharon said...

Thank you all for your kind words and advice.

Adrienne - it's true, kids can be cruel. I remember when my daughter was 4 and came home crying b/c kids at camp had made fun of her. It broke my heart. Sadly, I guess it's just a part of childhood.

Jennifer - I'd love more tips on using the straw & will e-mail you. I'm also going to try to sip tip cup and a greater variety of liquids. Hopefully he'll "get it" sooner rather than later!

Shauna Yule Brasseur said...

Oh, Sharon... I love you so much.

Thinking of you and glad to know about your very bad, horrible, terrible, no good day!


Kritster said...

Sharon - I am so sorry you had a bad day last week. I can relate to the feeding issues. I don't know if you know this, but BOTH of my kids went to feeding specialists at one point. Jake saw one for about a year which was not entirely unexpected, but Grady had to see one when he was just about a year old and that about sent me over the edge. He never took a bottle and would not take a sippy either, so it was me or nothing. I know that is a terribly frustrating feeling. I thought he was being stubborn, but even after I weaned him we had to manually express the bottle nipple to get him to drink because he could not do it himself. He eventually got it, though! Keep doing what you are doing and it will happen. You are such a good mom and you are allowed to feel sorry for yourself every once in a while, but I know you'll pick yourself back up and get back to work. I love reading your blog. I love knowing what you guys are up to, but it makes me miss you even more. Call me anytime you feel like venting. I may not always know what you are going through, but I can listen! xoxo