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?