I'm not usually one of those Moms that gets excited for back to school. I love the time I have together with my kids and I'm trying to take it all in and what time they have left being young. This summer was a little... well... we will call it different.
It's not something that I've mentioned before. I cautiously examine the details I share online about my kids, mostly to protect their privacy. Certain stories are fun to share and the regular mommy bloopers are fine but something as personal as this I have been hesitant with.
One of the reasons I did decide to share is because Sensory Processing Disorder is often missed or mistaken for "just being a kid". This too is what I tried to tell myself at her 2 year developmental screening. It was recommended that we seek further evaluation and I laughed and thought how crazy with just a 10 question survey.
Sensory struggles don't just occur with over-stimulation. In many of our instances it occurs with under-stimulation (Hypo-sensitivity). This means that the child is craving more input than what would normally be needed.
It can come in the form of putting everything in her mouth. This comes with licking cars, doorknobs, feet, and more.
It's in the way that she talks and gets frustrated because we still have a hard time making out her words with her language delay.
It's having to break down simple steps each and every time, such as putting on her shoes, because of poor motor planning.
It's the rough house playing and jumping on a trampoline all day to get her energy out in time for bed.
It's doing things impulsively that shows her lack of safety.
It's the screaming in the middle of the night from night terrors even though she is not awake.
It's the fear that she will one day walk out the front door and get lost.
Sound Familiar? This is just the tip of the iceberg.
As I sit here now, after our 4th meltdown of the day (just before bed is a common meltdown) I can hear her start the nightly unwinding. I can hear the grunting and deep breaths as she slowly wears herself out with her repetitious movement. I hear the little pounding of her feet as she jumps up and down in place with a dead stare up to the ceiling. Then she drops it down for her hand gestures on the ground like she is scratching, which is then brought up to her face. She likes to start a gallop next. Back and forth twice and she starts the routine all over again.
Normally you wouldn't think much of a child hopping up and down or galloping back and forth. It's the hand gestures that people notice. It's the intense look she gives them as she puts all of her energy into that movement. That's what draws their stare. She will do this routine for as long as she needs. Sometimes it's just for a couple seconds other times it will last an hour. There is no stopping this behavior. This is called stereotypical behavior and it doesn't just happen before bed. It happens all day long. It's noticeable worse when we're off schedule.
Schedule is extremely important.
If I had known better, she would have gotten the help she needed. We would have been more educated on how we could help her. We could have changed the way we disciplined her realizing that by not understanding we were only causing more anxiety and self esteem issues in our little girl.
It's a journey and very much a learning experience. I call her my little sensory puzzle as we discover new things about her everyday. It's helpful to understand your child better and realize they are not intentionally careless but their body can't help but be floppy and uncoordinated.
Their actions are not purposefully disobedient.
I no longer repeatedly holler at my daughter to sit up right in the middle of her chair because I can understand that she constantly needs one foot touching the ground to feel secure and sometimes her short little legs can't do that the way I want her to sit. Each night when I check on her before I would turn down, I would always have to pick her up off the floor as her legs would hang over the bed. Now we have a fun tent in the corner of her room as we learned she is more comfortable sleeping on the floor. Hard surfaces help her sleep better through the night.
It's the little things that you don't even think are things until you realize how they can emotionally impact your child's development.
This is why I am sharing with you today because this is often misunderstood and goes undiagnosed. Kids are often thought of as problem children and they don't get the help they deserve. It's even harder when they are school aged. As a parent you know your child the best and if you feel in your gut that something is off don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
I've heard things like...
"just being a kid?"
"In my day we did exactly that"
"She just has a lot of energy"
"All kids are clumsy"
"She doesn't understand boundaries"
"You are not disciplining her enough"
Imagine if you were a kid who did things that no one understood but you couldn't help yourself. Then imagine getting yelled at day in and day out and feeling so alone. Yeah, my mommy guilt set in! When were finally realized I felt so awful for how we were so blind to her needs.
Don't get me wrong, my child is still a bad a$$ tough girl and she is super smart, but she also needs a little help too.
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It seems that there has been an outbreak of these little buggers in the general Chicago area, including my daughter's school! Last year alone we had several letters sent home... you know the one I'm talking about.... Want to inform you that there has been a reported case of lice in your child's classroom....
Well.... this year we were not able to escape it! She got lice... yuck!!
Let me start off by explaining some of the misconceptions about lice....
People who get lice are dirty: Um, no. It does NOT mean that you are dirty or unwashed... In fact, you could wash your hair a million times and these suckers would still thrive, because they can hold their breath for hours on end!
Pets carry lice: FALSE! I blamed it on the dog too until I found this out.
I'm not itchy, I must not have it: Just because you don't itch doesn't mean you don't have them.
It can be cured with over the counter shampoo: hahahaha that's an ugly lie. If you think you just need to rinse with this shampoo and your done, you need to think again. SOMETIMES this method works but if you are solely hoping for a miracle in this method you will be grossly disappointed.
Suffocate them with oil: We tried this with olive oil and a shower cap. Slept in it overnight and kept it in for a good 12 hours. I stained my pillows and my face broke out but the lice were still there.
Now let me give you the reality...
These creatures on non discriminators, they just want to populate
It's so gross
It's such a pain in the butt
You wouldn't wish this upon your evil nemesis.
Really, it's just bugs in your hair. They don't present any real threat or spread any diseases, just the concept is enough to make your skin crawl, literally.
You need to report it!! People get so ashamed and they want to hid it and the reality is, what if you did spread it? Some poor soul might now be walking around (not necessarily itching) and carry it. Now YOU are more likely to catch it, again! Serves you right if you aren't reporting it! LOL kidding! You're also doing parents a favor of not having that kid spread it to the entire family, because that is a nightmare! With lice, sharing is caring only when it comes to information, NOT HATS!
It takes time and patience to get rid of these pests. It takes a very good eye and a nit comb to successfully get them out.
That means picking each and every last one out by hand.
DAY after DAY for about a week. And then doing the process all over again just to be safe because I'm OCD about it. We did use the over the counter shampoo to at least demobilize the live bugs while we picked them out but it certainly didn't kill them all and it's reported that they have now become more resistant to the shampoo.
The first initial comb out took 5 hours per child. Get the coloring books and iPad ready. You can use hair gel or conditioner to help run the comb through so the nits come out. I mixed together coconut conditioner, peppermint oil, and tea tree oil. Tea Tree Oil acts as a repellent. Apply it to the scalp and then section off the head with bobby pins or clips. Sectioning off the head is very helpful!
Use gloves while working with conditioner or gel. Wipe your comb after EVERY run through. Remember, I said this was a pain in the butt! It's also very tedious.
Once you have gone through the entire head of hair, manually go through each section again and REALLY inspect. You will find more...promise ;).
Then give it a good shampoo and blow dry hair. It's said that heat can kill the nits. Once you have dried the hair, get into a good area where light is bright ( outside in the sun is best) and look through that head AGAIN. Pull those nits out.
The days following, make sure to check for more nits. I went through their hair twice a day and found a few stragglers. If you notices just a couple here and there you probably just missed a few in the first comb out. If you start to notice more nits then you might have missed a live bugger, which is why you will repeat the process in 8-10 days.
Don't forget to wash all jackets and bedding in hot hot water. They say a good vacuuming and housecleaning will do the trick with the rest of the house. I would recommend replacing your brush and bagging up any hair accessories for 2 weeks. Store away any stuffed animals as well and spray the back of car seats (bet you didn't think of that one).
Overall, lice won't invest a house. They need human blood to survive so they won't be hangin out anywhere else unless they happen to fall out and will shortly die after.
Nitpicker will have a new meaning to you!
Ways to prevent them from infesting or coming back...
1) Use a Tea Tree Tonic solution (also deters ticks!)
- 1 oz of Witch Hazel (can replace with another 1 oz of water)
- 1 oz of water
- 12 drops of Tea Tree Oil
- 4 drops of Peppermint oil
- 4 drops of Rosemary oil
- 4 drops of lavender oil
2) Use preventative shampoo
3) Braid long hair
4) Educate your kids on not sharing hats, scarves, hair accessories, jackets, and Girl Scouts vests!
I wish you good luck and I hope that you never ever have to experience in your household. Tree Tree is an effective repellent to discourage those nesters from taking up a home in your child's head. It also helps with ticks, too. So if you are going for a hike or CAMPING, spray some of the tea tree tonic on before you go out!