Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mad again.

But this time, I'm mad AT Harlie. I was so mad that I couldn't put her to bed, and I didn't even go in to tell her good night. Does that make me awful? Well, I don't care. I'm mad at her.

All of a sudden, she has started to misbehave during feeding sessions. Everything was going great. Then she started saying no to feeding. I tried toys that she gets to play with ONLY during feeding sessions. I tried recycling some old toys that I know she loved. That worked for a little while. So, then I got some new ones. That worked for even less time. And now, she flat out refuses to open her mouth. She pushes the spoon away, pushes the food away and pushes me away. She puts her face down and won't lift her head. I get frustrated and the whole thing becomes a negative experience all around.

She won't tolerate her PMV (speaking valve) at home, but we go to speech therapy and she wears it with NO problem for 30 minutes! So, now I look like a big fat liar and a crummy mom that didn't do her homework!!!

The worst thing about this is that she's never really been a discipline problem. She never "misbehaves!" Certainly there are times she doesn't listen - but it's normal, age appropriate stuff. But this stuff with the feeding and PMV, well, those aren't "normal" things a toddler and mom have to deal with. And where did this come from all of a sudden? I'm just not used to dealing with these issues! And, quite frankly, I don't want to be!!!

The problem with the feeding (well, one of many) is that she isn't hungry. There's no motivation for her to eat. It's an activity that means nothing to her. I can't take away her dessert, and I can't bribe her with lollipops. She puts her head down, and I can't put food in her mouth. What am I supposed to do? Forcing her isn't an option. When there's no motivation to eat, eating needs to be a positive experience. So, punishing her doesn't feel right, either. If I end the session, then she knows what she needs to do to get me to end the session the next time.

Yet progress needs to be made. I have to try to move forward - quitting isn't an option. The goal is to get her to eat by mouth. I can't do that if I let her call all the shots.

All of a sudden, I'm reminded of the time that a stranger told me that Harlie was "spoiled." It was during my breakdown at the play area at the mall (after all the kids stared at her like she was a freak). While we were trying to get her to walk or do something physical (we met our physical therapist there for therapy that day) she said that she was spoiled. If she only knew...

Anyway, my therapists say that it's a control issue. Harlie has such little control over anything. Crying gets her nowhere (she never learned that crying makes mommy come into the room), we make her go to speech, feeding and physical therapies - every week, and we are constantly trying to make her sign, even though we know what she wants most of the time. It seems that everything with her has to be some learning experience, some therapy in some form. If I go to change her diaper without making it a therapy session, I feel guilty.

This control thing has been brought up many times. So I let her pick her pajamas, her outfit, what she wants to watch on TV, what books she wants to read, what activities she would like to do, etc.

Before, we struggled because we didn't know if she could swallow. Now that we know she can, she's choosing not to. With me. Not with her therapist. Talk about hurtful. And so incredibly disappointing. In typical Harlie roller coaster fashion, I was on top of the world, and now I've come crashing down.

I don't know. I need to go to bed, calm down and try to start anew tomorrow. Everything always looks better in the morning.


Ann said...

Oh Christy! I can only imagine your frustration with Harlie, but in some many ways, her behavior is so typical for her age. It's just that she has to pick different things to challenge you with. Yet, as you say, how do you discipline under your unique circumstances? I have a feeling this is just the beginning of the battles of the wills between Harlie and Mom. I think you did the right thing by letter Harlie know how disappointed you are in her behavior. She's no dummy and she'll figure it out. God help you when she hits those teenage years.


Rene said...

How about beating her at her own game? Instead of the therapist feeding her during that time, what if she stepped aside and let you? Then the therapist could observe what is going on.

Obviously, you have to make eating a positive experience and she's pushing your buttons. What if you gave HER the spoon? Tommy was much more willing to eat when he was trying to feed himself. I put blueberry babyfood on a tray and let him fingerpaint with it. Eventually his fingers went into his mouth. It was fun and he ate.

I wish I had more answers. (I wish I was having the same difficulties myself, but that's another post) The good news is she's stubborn and not willing to be pushed around. That will be a good thing later in life.

Many Hugs!

Christy said...

Ann - I can't tell you how often I have said those exact words, "God help me when she's a teenager"! Just when you think you've got it, another challenge appears.

And Rene - Good suggestion on switching places with her therapist. I talked to her at length today about it. I'll blog about it later. I wish you were having the same difficulties, too.

Christy said...

Ann - I can't tell you how often I have said those exact words, "God help me when she's a teenager"! Just when you think you've got it, another challenge appears.

And Rene - Good suggestion on switching places with her therapist. I talked to her at length today about it. I'll blog about it later. I wish you were having the same difficulties, too.

Susan said...

We also find Ainsley does much better at school. The activity and distraction helps a lot with capping. Perhaps the same is true for Harlie with the PMV?

I like Rene's idea about you doing the feeding so the therapist can see how it typically goes. Our therapists have watched me do a feeding session multiple times to assess how well I was "watching her cues". So that might be a good idea anyway. I hope things turn around.

Sarah Gunn said...

I read somewhere that young children "act up" more around their parents because they feel so secure that their parents will always love them. I don't know if it's true, but I am rolling with it! Hope things are getting better and know that I have been thinking about you guys. - Sarah

Beverley said...

Hi Christy,

I finally got a Google/blog account so that I can respond directly.

I think our munchkins feel that they have to control what they can...that would be food...and we all know what goes in (and what comes out) of the body we cannot control!

For Leyda we took a technique from a feeding programme - while she ate she could have her favourite toy/book, or in our case DVD (Leyda is not big on independent play). So, rather than remind her to eat we merely hit 'stop' as soon as she ate/chewed again the DVD returned. This is working currently to get meds taken orally!

It is hard to discipline ..I am arguing with myself right now about Leyda feeling poorly or being a terrible two (even tho' she just turned 4) - she is being so demanding and dramatic...and then there are the attachment/trust issues!

Oh I have a case of Compleat, expires July 2009, would you like it?...do you know someone who could use it?