Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What ails our kids

I had a moment today.  One of those reflective moments that parents have while they watch their kids play.  My youngest child, now 20 months old, was at story time at the library.  He was attentive and interested and sat on my lap.  His language is now coming in fast and furious.  He was clapping and singing along.  He is developing separation anxiety.  Just two weeks ago, he was only semi-interested in the stories and more interested in exploring.  I found it fascinating how quickly kids develop and mature.   

Xander is my third child and he is under mom and dad’s watchful eye always.  You see…my oldest has autism.  My second child has sensory processing disorder.  So when I found out I was pregnant with him….I cried.  Yes.  Cried.  I was so very scared.  I had been warned about the statistics.  Then I found out it was a boy and I cried some more.  The statistics are even worse for a boy.  His chances of developing autism with a sister with autism were greater than 1 in 10…or so said the neurologist. 

But now, I know better.  I know that autism is preventable in most cases.  So after I cried…I got over it.  I was extremely grateful I had my mercury amalgams removed years before I got pregnant again.  And I knew this time would be different.  I thought I was vigilant with my second child.  This time, I would space out vaccinations even further.  I would only choose the critical ones.  I would watch him closely for any signs and address them right away.  I would get him into OT as a baby if need be.  I would give him probiotics.  I would give him Fish Oil.

Ya know…I don’t really want to be this crazy.  I know I am over the top sometimes.  But having three children has taught me tons.  Yes…children have their own personalities, but some of that, ”Johnnie just likes to walk on this toes or Suzy just likes to be by herself” is not personality based.  It is illness based.  And that is what most parents don’t get.  And for that matter…most pediatricians. 

Your child should not be having several loose stools daily or they should not be constipated regularly.  They should have words by 12 months.  They should be speaking in 2 word combinations by the time they are two.  They should eat normally and not just pick ten foods and stick to them.  They should not be having chronic ear infections.  The answer is not ear tubes…it is finding the cause of the infections.  All these signs point to trouble that needs to be addressed or it will only become worse.

As a seasoned parent of a child with autism, one with SPD and two with severe food allergies, I can walk into a room and point out those children.  I live with these issues every day.  So when I take my baby boy to story time and see the same kid each week with a runny nose, I see a problem.  When I see the kid in the corner by himself spinning the cars wheels, I see a problem.  When I see the little girl with the rash on her face that doesn’t go away, I see a problem.  When I see the little boy that is running away from his mom like he doesn’t even hear her, I see a problem.  And I gotta tell ya….I see a lot of it.  A lot. 

I don’t think it’s the parent’s fault for not recognizing what I can see in 10 minutes.  I blame the pediatricians mostly.  I know because I have been told many times myself by my own children's pediatrician….that it is okay.  It is okay that Skylar will only eat pureed foods.  She’s just a picky eater.  WRONG.  It’s okay that Xander has an unrelenting rash on his face.  He has impetigo.  WRONG.  It is okay that Marley’s development came crashing down after her 18 month shots.  WRONG. 

So as I sat there today…watching my son in his story time class, I thought how very far I have come in learning about kids and what ails them.  As a 39 year old mom, I am now significantly older than most of the young moms there.  They are young and just starting out on their motherhood journey.  But they will likely find out as I have, that these things are more and more common than ever in our society.  And if we want to heal our kids, we will have to learn how to do it ourselves, because there is no one there to help us.  We will have to listen to our gut even when the pediatrician tells us there is nothing to worry about.  We will have to take the initiative to stay up late searching for healing strategies that have worked for other moms.  And we will have to believe that this is not just a naughty child.  This is a sick child that can be healed.  Because it is possible.  He or she can be healed.  

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