Friday, January 01, 2010


Happy New Year!!!

Resolution #1: update the blog more often (is anyone still reading? LOL) ^_^

The kids had a great Christmas! They were still a bit sniffly when the big day rolled around, but pretty much back to normal. They all slept through the night (except Holden of course!) and got up around 7 to attack the gifts under the tree. They are very lucky to have grandparents that love to spoil them - it makes managing gifts for six kids much easier (not to mention the fact that we have absolutely no room left for toys - you can't walk a few feet in our house without tripping over one of them!) I'll post some slightly-blurry pics (my camera lens broke - boo!) soon!

It has been a long week for Cade and Parker without school, but they made it through with the help of the aforementioned toys hehe and a few fun excursions - in fact at this very moment Matt has them and Macy at a new place we discovered filled with those ridiculously large blow-up jumping things. I was so happy to find out about this place as it's a great way to burn some calories (and energy!) Now if only they made one for grown-ups ^_^

Resolution #2: lose some weight! :)

I haven't talked much about how things are going with Emerson, partly because I don't have the energy most days and partly because it feels too depressing to even write about. We've really been struggling over the last few weeks and it's starting to weigh down on me.

Despite us continuing tight swaddling, her poor sleep reached a point where we were considering creating a makeshift room for her in the downstairs part of our house, away from the other kids, so she would stop waking everyone else up. She would wake up around midnight or 1am and lie there for hours kicking her legs (as a unit, since they were swaddled) against the crib bars, thrashing her head or slamming it back against the mattress, grinding her teeth and moaning (we call it her zombie noise, as that's what it sounds like - uggggggggghhhhhhhhh...) Some nights she would like there for over 2 hours before finally falling back asleep. We finally took the advice of some of our therapists and picked up some Melatonin at the store - after 2 tries of low doses we found success with 2 tablets (6 mg) and she has been sleeping through the night for nearly 2 weeks now.

We were hoping this improvement in sleep might also improve her daytime issues but unfortunately there is no end in sight to her hit-and-miss eating (she is taking some textures now but often inexplicably screams inconsolably if we start to feed her something she just doesn't want to eat and then won't take anything else - she was up to 19 1/2 lbs but is now down to 17 lbs. Yes, 17 lbs. She went down a diaper size and now sadly fits into Holden's size 2 diapers) self-injurious behavior (right before Christmas she hit the corner of her eye on the coffee table during one of her head-banging episodes, resulting in an enormous black eye) and the grinding... oh, the grinding.

Emerson grinds nonstop now, even using the other side of her mouth sometimes (it was usually just her right side). It is so loud that it can be heard across the house, through closed doors and often over other sounds like 5 other noisy kids and the TV. She has gotten progressively worse over the last few weeks and is now to the point where she grinds every 3 to 5 seconds, hour after hour after hour. If she's hungry or tired or in any other way particularly unhappy she will grind back and forth like a saw, taking a few seconds break here and there. Nothing we do or say stops it.

I cannot really describe how awful the grinding is for me. I guess like her I have my own sensory issues and one of them is grating or high-pitched sounds. After a couple hours of listening to it I feel like I am going to join her in bashing my head into the nearest wall. Trying to poke fun, but it's really not funny at all. The grinding is a wall between us and as long as it has continued I haven't really bonded with her. I care about her, I worry about her, but I don't feel connected to her. I feel disappointed, discouraged, hopeless, frustrated, resentful and more often these days, downright depressed about her. Worse still, the grinding seems to be affecting our entire family - Macy has done it a few times now and a couple weeks ago my little Dawson was sitting next to her, watching as she went back and forth, and then he grinded. I thought my heart would burst and I just started crying. Dawson is so lucky to have great teeth and great communication skills - the thought of him learning this behavior is too upsetting for words. He has done it a few times since then, but he knows he's not supposed to so a firm "no" stops it.

I dread going anywhere as a family because she gets particulary intense in the car and in that small space it is hard to drown out the sound. The other kids complain about it and Cade has gotten very upset a few times (I can't blame him, the poor guy sits right next to her.)

I don't know what to do anymore. We made an appointment with a different pediatric dentist for a few weeks from now, someone who came recommended as working with kids with special needs. I feel like she is our last hope at this point. Emerson needs a teeth guard or if there is some filling that can be put into her teeth to dull the sound - if not to save her already severely poor teeth but to save my sanity.

I do still think about disruption - several times a day - but I don't want to want to do that, if that makes sense.

Em is in her own little world again. Not because she is staring off into the distance - she doesn't do that anymore, she is very aware of us now - but because of the grinding. It is consuming her and consuming us. These last few days I have ended up putting her in her crib and closing the door to the room for an hour or so, coming to check on her every once in a while to see if she has stopped and, finding the grinding going constantly still, give her some new toys. Getting away from the sound of the grinding is the only way I can function to parent my other kids. And yet all I can think is that it is like she is in an orphanage again, sitting alone in her crib, scraping away at her teeth and banging her head into the rails, while life goes on a few feet away desperately waiting for her to join in.

Resolution #3 - save Emerson.