Friday, November 5, 2010

knowledge is power...

or so the saying goes... and I'm hoping in this case it's true...

y'all know how we've been having biting issues, I mean, it's no secret that my previous few posts weren't exactly happy little joyful posts... they were the ramblings of a disheartened, frustrated, concerned momma... yet today, I have information. more information than I previously had, and the information is good news, and it's helpful, and (I hope) powerful... because it's going to take something powerful to get over this problem... I'm sounding cryptic confusing the hell out of you aren't I? sorry... let me explain hopefully without rambling all over & back while also confusing you even more...

okay, so in the last month I've:

  • taken Goose to the doctor, chatted with doctor, left office feeling reassured that this IS normal (and also, Goose is definitely getting 2yr molars in) keep doing what we're doing, things will be okay, this too shall pass. fabulous. felt a lot better though - we love our doctor, she's AMAZING.
  • wondered how long Goose would be kept secluded from the rest of the kids in her classroom, while wondering how it was affecting her, or if she even cared. (ended up being about 4ish weeks... and there was a higher level of concern for her well-being on my part the longer it lasted)
  • started feeling worse about G being separated, and wondering how it was affecting her at daycare, as it was starting to cause issues at home. i.e. - very clingy, whiny, always had to be held, nightmares started again, stopped sleeping in her own bed, wouldn't let Hubs put her back to bed/sleep when waking in the night, waking more often in the night, talking less, etc.
  • contacted a friend of mine who also does deep background checks on child-care providers, seminars on choosing childcare, and other matters relating to children, consulting with daycares and parents on issues they're having, and evaluating programs - to name a few, to see if she would be interested in checking out Goose's situation/daycare to see if she noticed things that the daycare was missing (this with the owner's blessing & support)
  • started feeling worse about G's situation after sister attended a class on "guidance & discipline" where she was told that the separation was unacceptable, and that it would cause G serious emotional damage the longer it went on...
  • cried. a lot.
  • consulted with friend again, providing sister's examples and asking friend's thoughts... her thoughts: depended on how G was feeling about being separated. sometimes it bothered her, sometimes it didn't. most likely against "licensing" regulations, but alternative was most likely being kicked out and bouncing Goose around to different daycares... lesser of two evils?
  • friend did official consultation, spending 4 hours one morning, and 2 hours a different afternoon in the classroom observing & taking notes. she also watched 2 hours of video we took at home so she could compare G's personality, character & actions between home & daycare. she learned LOTS. (also learned that owner of daycare watched the video before friend arrived to observe & claim the DVD... I didn't give permission, but neither did she ask it, and nor did I ask her NOT to watch it... still not sure how I feel about that whole thing...)
  • had some personal issues with owner based on some mis-communication and misunderstandings on both of our parts related to consultation and costs and how we were handling the situation - was pretty shocking and out of the blue...but we're okay now... (I think)
  • calmed sister who was getting very aggressive about Goose's situation (on G's behalf of course...) she felt better after hearing friend had been in to evaluate & observe
  • chatted a few times with friend answering questions about thing Goose did or didn't do at home, at school, on the video, etc.... chatted with sister about things friend observed to see if she had noticed any of the same things (she had! bad momma - I hadn't!!)
  • was given some additional info from sister (she has connections as well - to DHS Department of Human Services and Early On Assistance Program) about Goose possibly qualifying for Early On, not that they think she has a learning delay or disability exactly, (she could just be shy) or she might just not have the words she needs to communicate her feelings, wants & needs, or she could also have a socio-emotional or sensory disorder...
  • asked friend about the Early On stuff... got her thoughts & opinions...
and finally, today, on my lunch break I chatted with her again. in about an hour she will be presenting her official report to the owner of the daycare center, and then we'll talk again, but pretty much, this is what we learned:

Goose is way smart. (which is hopefully going to be my biggest problem with her for many years to come - in that she's always thinking, and thinking about how to manipulate the situation to get the outcome she wants... she's a smarty pants... too smart for her britches!! she's also very strong - which is unrelated, but still, there it is.) It appears that Goose enjoys playing with her friends at times, but she also really enjoys playing without her friends quite often. however, she doesn't have the communication skills to relay this information, and when overwhelmed she instead bites. well, she gives a few signals first... when she's feeling overwhelmed, anxious or frustrated she pulls on her fingers... when she's bored or trying to avoid listening she licks her lips. a.lot. (I'm not talking just a lick of the lips. I'm talking a full-on as-far-as-the-tongue-will-reach swiping of the lips... multiple times - so much that her lips and surrounding face-area were getting multiple-a-day applications of lanolin to combat the chapping) and also - she chews her tongue in these situations as well. (I'd noticed the lip-licking, but not the finger pulling or chewing on lips, cheeks & tongue... friend explained that she just might not DO these things at home, as she is less likely to get to those feelings having less competition for adult attention, and toys, etc... made me feel a little better, but still, I started watching for it at home... only saw any finger pulling once, and no chewing.)

It isn't related to her teething, and it's not even a reaction to frustration - as there were several instances where she was pushed, knocked down or had a toy taken from her (all things that would often lead to a bite in many situations, with many kids) and she didn't even react at all... her teachers told my friend that there were times when she would be playing or snuggling with another child, and be perfectly happy, and THAT is when the bite would occur... she was also observed getting anxious when surrounded by too many kids, after playing with one or two for a little while - like she was tired of playing with them, and ready to play by herself - but didn't know how to tell anyone... soooo...

We're going to work on making sure her teachers & caretakers are aware of (and on the lookout for) her "signals" and we're also going to work on helping her with her communication skills - both sign and verbal... and I think I'm also going to contact Early On to see if they can at least check things out and see what they think. (friend said that she actually might not qualify, as she's sooo smart, and she doesn't think there is any type of developmental delay, but that they might be able to help with the communication issues, and it never hurts to ask!) So. that's my power. I mean knowledge. which I hope is power. and powerful. because I'm tired of all the biting, the stress, the worry, concern, frustration... oh, and of sleeping with a toddler who moves like crazy in the night.*

So, we'll see where this power knowledge gets us... keeping my fingers crossed, and my prayers coming...and I'm interested and curious as to how the owner will react to the report, and where we will go from here... now I'm anxious to hear how that meeting goes!

*when I say "moves like crazy" you can read that as in CLIMBS, ROLLS, KICKS, SMACKS, ELBOWS, LAYS ON MY HEAD and more of the like... ALL.WHILE.ASLEEP. *sigh* oh well, she won't be sleeping with me when she's 5... right? right?