Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wheat

Oh wheat....what are we going to do with you? To be determined... Both my babies were sensitive to it through my milk though I brought it back in at 9 months with Harvey and he tolerated it from there on out. I think it's an immature gut thing with some babies. With Jack we've continued to avoid it but now that Jack's gut is in better shape I'm sensing that he'll be able to eat it again since it doesn't show on allergy tests.

I'm not anxious to add it into his diet but we did trial play doh and it has been SO MUCH FUN!


It's been a couple of weeks and we've had no reaction - YAY! A trial that didn't fail !!!! When we do decide to trial it back into his diet we'll go slow and organic. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Afterthoughts

With a couple days of perspective under our belts, Justin and I are feeling anew. Monday's evaluation was in no way the end all, be all. In one way or another we will always be evaluating and appreciating the progress of Jack (and Harvey for that matter). What the psychologist had to say felt like deja vu, feelings I had always had about Jack's persona. The onset of concerning symptoms, the exploration of their causes, and feelings of self doubt, they had their way with us. We've been given what feels like a fresh outlook, a fresh start.

The psychologist referred me to the writings of T. Berry Brazelton who, upon googling, I learned a bit about. A pediatrician since 1940 he is most known for his studies of neonatal behavior and child psychiatry. Titles of "how to get your child to sleep through the night", "the difference between boys and girls", etc had me feeling unenlightened but his take on what early behaviors reveal about a child's temperament and personality got my wheels turning. From very early on we knew Jack was sensitive and introspective. We were quite content to embrace the quirky - I happen to like quirks! But as time passed our sensitive babe became affected by his environment (food allergies, environmental allergies, toxins, heavy metals, medications) and he developed symptoms of those insults. When the word autism entered our lives so did the concern for his neurological health and our journey took a wide detour.

Over the last year we have witnessed all symptoms dissipate and, while it's been slow, as we look back on where we were and where we are now the change is dramatic. Removal of allergens, treatment of leaky gut, an organic diet, and use of supplements like fish oil and vitamins have aided in the growth and maturity of our little man. Homeopathy has already surpassed my expectations and we still have a ways to go. While we're still experiencing some anxiety and delays they are manageable, predictable, and IMPROVING. I know, on some kind of cosmic level, that Jack's immune system and allergies are healing as well.

This is an excerpt from an email Justin sent me this morning:

I also wanted to tell you that this morning driving into La Jolla I could see the ocean without clouds for the first time in about a month. The environment was suppressing the beauty. It was really beautiful, and reminded me of Jack. It's like he's always been such a beautiful little guy, but when the environmental suppressions are removed is when we really see him.

The observations of the Regional Center psychologist aren't rock solid determinations or revelations but they are evidence of what Jack has achieved. We have always fully embraced, accepted, and loved who Jack is but our vision of him had become suppressed by symptoms of duress and fear for the darkness it left us in. How pure and beautiful is the boy we see before us!!!

Get your quirk on!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Regional Center Evaluation

Four months ago I called our county regional center to request an evaluation. Mostly because our school district has been dismissive. More on them in a bit.

Three months ago they agreed to see us and scheduled me in.

Two months ago I attended their mandatory shpiel and gave them all the necessary intake process paperwork.

One month ago they interviewed Jack (and Justin and myself) for about an hour and a half. Jack did a pretty good job in the interview. He whined about wanting to leave almost the entire time (good display of anxiety), continually requested a small black crayon which was missing from their supply (good display of rigidity), etc. When he asked Jack if he had any friends Jack (very quickly) responded "no". Had to chuckle. However, our case worker/interviewer repeatedly commented on how well Jack was doing so I wasn't sure whether or not we'd be given an evaluation.

Last Friday they called and this morning we went in for our evaluation. Again Jack showed his anxiety asking over and over again to go to preschool. He did the puzzles and answered their questions but in almost each activity his "non-compliance" eventually appeared and he'd ask again to leave so we could go to preschool or he would make it seem like he couldn't do the puzzle (or whatever) and would squeal and say "it's too hard, we need to leave". By the end of the evaluation I was even more prepared for a diagnosis than when we arrived and by this time Jack was laying on the floor lifting his head occasionally to ask if we could leave. I answered countless questions, drawing upon his most concerning of behaviors, his scripting, his delays, the difficult time between ages two and three. The psychologist explained to me what she perceived and she was indeed thorough. She explained that Jack did not exemplify autism, PDD-NOS, or asperger's and why. We went over the symptoms he has and therapies and activities that we can be doing to help with them. She felt strongly that many of Jack's symptoms stem from anxiety and gave me the names of some books to read and some resources to look into.

When we were standing in the doorway ready to leave she touched my shoulder and said "I think it's time for you to put autism out of your thinking and focus on these specific areas of concern". That line hit home and I took a new kind of oxygen into my lungs. To say I feel relieved doesn't fit. I do, however, feel empowered. I feel that we have made progress with the things we have currently set in place and that we have even more resources to explore. Last Friday Jack's OT (occupational therapist) said she felt Jack's anxiety was keeping him curled in and making it difficult for him to expand and take hold of his environment. That may sound vague but it makes a lot of sense and having his anxiety pegged as a road block twice in the span of a few days feels like a new neon sign on my radar. We've been aware of and working with Jack's anxiety for a long time and it's something I have experienced and waded through in my own life. I am very inspired to dig even deeper into it!

We haven't had our annual IEP meeting yet with the school district but it is around the corner and they approved Jack for 30 minutes per week of OT and also 30 minutes per week of adaptive PE for this year. I asked for "homework" and was given a lengthy list of activities we can be doing at home and we've already implemented several. Harvey gets in on the action too and we're making it lots of fun. Off topic, preschool is still going just great and I am so grateful for it! Expect an "ode to preschool" post in the not so distant future!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Our boy can PAINT

Just gotta show off some of Jack's paintings. Here we have a couple of faces: sad and happy.



And getting in the holiday spirit he did a pumpkin and two happy ghosts! The faces were done with his left hand and as you can see, this one was done with his right.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe


I ate three before posting this just to be sure they're good. All in the name of research. And devotion to the blogosphere. Now fetch yer fat pants!

1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 tblspns cocoa powder
1 cup vanilla hemp milk
1/2 cup olive oil

Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. I used a well oiled stainless steel muffin pan and removed them promptly from the pan. I also dusted them with a bit of powdered sugar instead of using a frosting. I'd like to come up with a chocolate glaze of some sort. We'll see how this chocolate trial treats Jack's tum!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Time

Do you ever catch yourself thinking "gosh it will be nice when....."?

I enjoy the passage of time. I'm happy to be aging (for now). I wouldn't trade my fine lines for the self confidence I've gained. No way! I don't miss the teeny tiny baby phase with my children because they are growing into such beautiful little people and I love watching the mystery of their minds unfold each day. I appreciate the maturity of my husband marriage, the change in my ability to communicate, the power of realizing I don't know. it. all.

However, I sometimes wonder if my affection for time hinders my ability to live in the moment. When I catch myself truly taking in an experience and making that mental note to cherish it for all it's worth I feel like I've lived one hundred years in a single day. There has to be a way to make that happen all the time. Has to be.

Beyond regrets of rushing this time we have here on earth, higher consequences can be paid. I find that when my thinking shifts from what really matters to what could have been or what might be, the result is often neglect. My children deserve a present and peaceful mind, these early (needy) years will seem short one day. Annoyance with children seems to be rampant in our society, as if children asked to be born needing our guidance and time.

Earlier today, Jack sent me to time out. I did some thinking. Can you tell?

We're moving too fast. We're too focused on finance, power, and ourselves. We're less able to find enjoyment in things that take time - things like growing food, creating goods, raising children intimately. I had a recurring nightmare as a very young child where I was trapped in an empty room alone with my mother. She was intently shuffling through paperwork and as she focused, head down, the floor opened and a gigantic spider pulled me into it's web. She didn't notice. I used to feel it was reminiscent of her abandoning me (which it well may be) but I see it in another light now, one that reminds me what rejection feels like when you're small, when your whole world is held in the powerful palms of your parents.

Kids of course need time to learn and explore on their own, mine are mixing up a big batch of toy stew on the floor next to me - and would you believe it if I told you I'm simultaneously typing and singing "who let the dogs out" with them? But in a day and age where floortime (spending time on the floor doing activities with your kid) is considered an effective form of therapy we have to ask ourselves, are we doing enough? I have lots of things to look forward to but I think I'll look forward to the next ten minutes of this day. Not because I'll never have these ten minutes back but because I know we can make something wonderful of it, do something more with this time than witness it's passing by.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Homeopathy


We received our most recent set of remedies today and I realized that I haven't posted much on that lately. We're now at pregnancy in Jack's timeline and finished with Harvey's! Harvey started miasms (inherited conditions - first is Psora) today and Jack will start those after our next consult. Jack started the metals/azithromycin remedy today. I'm expecting healing reactions from both boys. Reactions typically arrive around day 10. We also started new (stronger) daily constitutional remedies as well so those ought to help support them through these.

Here's a cute picture of Jack and half a naked (fully) Harvey. With potty training in full motion Harvey has definitely embraced his inner nudist. Not to jinx myself but maybe the cold weather will keep them dressed - cuz I sure can't!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pumpkins, Ponies, and Popcorn


Reaction today. Ninety nine percent sure it was the popcorn. Looks like we can kiss that tasty little grain goodbye again for a while. We'll trial it again at some point. Reaction was purely digestive so I'll take that over anything immediate or behavioral. And hey, there's CAKE to be had.

We spent the morning at Bates Nut Farm where we picked out pumpkins, shopped the craft fair, held bunnies, fell in love with tiny goats, and ran for our lives from a goose. AND the boys both experienced their very first pony ride! I'm not gonna lie, I felt pretty bad for those little ponies...I hope Star and Cracker Jack felt the love!!


Friday, October 1, 2010

Corn trial and SPICE CAKE

A few weeks ago we trialed organic non-gmo corn and Jack had no reaction. (WOOHOO) The background on corn is that he had an IGE reaction to it about a year and a half ago in a skin prick test - before we started this healing journey. I believe he developed an allergy to it due to leaky gut and genetic modification. We haven't gone hog wild (til tonight) with it but have been including a little here and there into his diet. This afternoon we air popped a HUGE bowl of organic popcorn and settled in for a movie together. Ear to ear smiles filled the room - and my heart!


After the joy of filling my beautiful boy's belly with something so loved I got the urge to bake! I crave fall flavors and spice cake is an absolute fav. You won't believe that this is good unless you try it. I think I'll add some pumpkin puree next time - didn't have any on hand. Jack dug it so much he made sure I cut myself a slice to eat with them. Yes Sir!

1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1 cup sugar
2 heaping tablespoons cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup vanilla hemp milk
1/2 cup olive oil

Bake in greased 9X9 pan for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 12 muffins if you wanna go that route.