Thursday, July 8, 2010


Shel and I were talking the other night about how different our lives are now from what we have envisioned for ourselves growing up. Though we both wanted children, neither of us ever really "saw" ourselves parenting because of the difficulty it is to have children when you are lesbian.

Now that we have children we have to adapt again, this time because we have two boys with special needs.

One of the issues with both our boys involves sensory integration disorder. Sensory integration disorder is a neurological disorder that affects the ability to organize sensory information for use by the brain. Someone with S.I.D. has an inability to organize sensory information as it comes in through the senses. This is expressed differently for every person with the disorder. Our youngest has Oral Input Dysfunction (among others). What this means for him is that he is hypersensitive to oral input. He has difficulty chewing and even though he just turned two he still only eat "soft" or pureed foods. He gags with textured foods - and sometimes he gags for what appears to be "no" reason. He is highly resistant to having any dental work done - or to using a toothbrush. He LOVES toothbrushes though, but mostly uses them to clean the sink!

Yesterday was his birthday and his brother and I made him a "happy cake". When I got home from work we iced it and covered it with teeny tiny multi coloured sprinkles. Then we sang happy birthday to him and ate cake. I should say "tried to eat cake".

Part of S.I.D. is constantly finding new things about your child. I discovered yesterday that those tiny sprinkles make my baby gag. I will admit, it was kind of funny because he wanted SO much to eat the icing, but every time he put his finger into the icing and into his mouth - he gagged.

I have to separate myself a little from this whole thing because it can be easy to start to feel defeated by it. I wanted to do something special for him and it turned out it wasn't so special after all. We adapted, we took the sprinkles off and he ate some happy cake. It just wasn't what I thought it would be for him. I have to look at it as a learning experience and in the future we will have happy cake sans sprinkles!

I think what I fear the most is that if I spend so much time "learning", will my boys have wonderful childhoods or just feel like experiments?


Teena in Toronto said...

You and Shel are great moms to these boys. They are sooo going to appreciate you when they are older.

lovesmukiwa said...

Thank-you for the very very kind words!

CinnamonOpus said...

We have an appointment this month to see a speech therapist and occupational therapist, and I think that perhaps our daughter may also be diagnosed with oral input disorder. We'll see. Our meals with her sound very much like what you are going through with your boy.

And it is frustrating like crazy. But, like you say, you just adapt. You find what works and what doesn't, and you go with it. You find what is special in your kids and you help them own it and make it just part of life together as a family.

Good work, mom!

Mickey said...

All parents make mistakes for all kind of reasons and learn on the job. How could you tell the sprinkles were going to be a problem until he tried them? I think what he took from that experience was that his mommy made him a lovely cake, not that it made him gag a little.

Your kids are very lucky to have such caring parents who aren't only concerned with the immediate challenges, but also about giving them an overall good childhood.

The Bumbles said...

Aww - your kids are not going to feel like their childhoods were experiments. Parenting is one big experiment - and the successful ones adapt - like you are doing.

P.S. I'm not a fan of sprinkles myself. So sans sprinkle happy cakes sound delicious to me ;0)

lovesmukiwa said...

Thank-you everyone for wonderfully supportive comments! I feel better :)