Saturday, December 4, 2010

in which I attempt to explain why I've been MIA here

   Hello, friends. For those of you who don't already know me, I'm MFA Mama and I've uh, missed a few months of posting here. Usually if I miss a month it's because things here are in some kind of crisis state (well, more than usual I guess I should say, because it's ALWAYS SOMETHING), but this time...well, I've kind of been having an identity crisis, I guess you could say.

   First our dog got really, really sick. Here's a recap of Isis's story that I wrote to post on a friend's site; I should probably clarify that Isis is (currently) a therapeutic pet, not an actual working therapy dog (those are AWESOME though). If we'd gotten her through 4 Paws or something I'm sure she would've a) been much healthier and b) been a lab or a retriever instead of a pitbull, but the fundraising process to get a dog from 4 Paws was rather daunting to me (ironically I didn't want to ask people for help for a DOG, although I ended up doing just that when Isis fell ill so maybe there's a lesson in here?) and honestly? I think I kind of consider my Middle Child as having "autism LITE" or something (his official dx on file is PDD-NOS, not "autism proper" but y'all know what I mean). He has a lot of challenges, yes, but...he's verbal, he makes eye contact, he's successfully mainstreamed in school (although technically he's still in Special Education, he just meets with the school therapists periodically and sometimes has an aide work with him in the mainstream classroom)...I tend to minimize things with him, not because I have a problem with having a developmentally delayed child (actually I have two of them, and they're both awesome kids), but because I feel like mentioning it might be misconstrued as complaining, and I'm well aware that we have it very, very easy compared with a lot of other families (at least we do NOW--Middle Child is a totally different boy after years of educational, physical, occupational, and talk therapy).

   No amount of prefacing this statement will make it any less ridiculous, so I'll just spit it out: when the dog got sick and the vet told us she would always be a "dog with special needs" I hit an all-time low and threw myself a major pity party. Why me? I have a bionic husband and three kids with special needs and then the universe goes "AND YOUR LITTLE DOG, TOO!" and...seriously?

   From that low in September, things started improving around here, and...well, a couple of days before I was scheduled to post in November, I took Little Child to his GI specialist for a check-up. I was thinking beforehand that that would be good post-fodder over here and planning to give an update on how Little Child was doing, but nothing could have prepared me for how that appointment actually went and I couldn't even come here and write about it, because putting it into words felt like daring the universe to smite us.

   In short, Little Child's doctors have been telling me for years that five was the magic age where "kids like this" either pull a miraculous turnaround or end up progressing and getting a really devastating diagnosis. Little Child did exactly the same from ages two through almost-five and I had kind of given up on "miraculous turnaround," particularly since he turned five in September. But sometime between his birthday and our appointment something just...clicked...I don't know, but it's actually been a couple of MONTHS since he's vomited (it used to be a good week if he barfed less than once a day), he's suddenly on the growth charts and eating more by mouth (not nearly enough, but anything is better than nothing!), and the GI doctor gave us his blessing to try food challenges with dairy and soy, which Little Child passed with flying colors.

   My kid doesn't have any more dietary restrictions at all, y'all.

   And while I pride myself on not being at ALL superstitious, I've been too chicken to come here and tell you just how hopeful things are looking. Typing this update has been like pulling teeth, and please pardon any typos because I'm afraid that if I try and proofread I'll end up deleting it and going and baking cookies (from a REGULAR RECIPE WITHOUT MODIFICATIONS!!!) or something instead of posting. For all that I've been a Hopeful Parent since the early days, this kind of hope is so unfamiliar it's kind of scary.

   Hold my hand?


MFA Mama keeps a personal blog where she writes about life with her bionic double organ-transplant recipient husband, two developmentally-delayed ADD superstars, and Little Child, a.k.a. "Tube Boy." She's currently hoping to get through the rest of Hannukah without any further "Jesus Fits (two candle-lightings and counting so far!).

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