"My brain mixup" is Mr. P's term (but I cringe every time he uses it because it sounds like the kind of idea an adult would put in his head and I hate to think that other people think that we would have told him he has a "brain mixup", but it's not the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to me since becoming a mother, or even before, so I try to let it go). The words first appeared after we got sent for a stomach x-ray to look into the poop problem and Mr. P thought about that for a few days and then asked me if they could take a picture of his head to see about his "brain mixup". Which was a few days after the infamous "oops note" which started the whole tailspin which set us on this very interesting road in the first place.
Not that the oops note itself was any big deal (though his upset over having received it turned into kind of a big deal, but I think I'll have to save that story for another day). It just said he'd had trouble "paying attention" that day or was "very distracted" or something like that. And so I asked him about that, like, "Why would your teacher say you were very distracted today?" and round about we went a bit on the topic until he said, "You know, sometimes, when there's lots of people around and the teacher says something, something just happens in my brain and I just forget."
During the poop visit, the pediatrician had said, hey, maybe take this questionaire about Sensory Processing Disorder. Because he was bouncing all over the exam room, wouldn't tolerate his ears being examined (he never does), and because he chews the necks and cuffs off his shirts. Chews them right off. Seriously.
Huh, I thought. I'll admit Sensory Processing Disorder (which I find myself altering to "Sensory Processing Issues" all the time, because apparently I don't like the term "Disorder" applied to my child) sounded better than ADHD.
So, that's where we were going, indeed, to see an occupational therapist about his "brain mixup". And out we came with a tentative diagnosis of auditory processing disorder plus "vestibular seeking", which I'm told usually go together. And relates to something I never ever noticed until I was asked —and until he was happily swung around in a net like an astronaut in training for twenty minutes, carrying on a complex conversation and making eye contact with the therapist throughout and then hopping to the floor and in one bound onto the mini trampoline for some more bouncing — he is never dizzy.
I mean, this child prefers to stand next to the dinner table, taking bites from his pizza slice while steadily twirling in place.
Which, because we've become so used to it, seemed perfectly normal until last week when it was explained that all this spinning (and general moving, but especially the spinning) is probably his way of calming himself after the auditory overload of school.
He desperately wants a net swing suspended from the ceiling at home, but as much as I think that would be deeply theraputic both for him and for the parent that gets to fling him in loopdy-loops around the room, we have to settle for a mini trampoline for now. That and me driving him instead of taking the school bus are so far making a big difference.
But I'm cringing again, because I sense how much I want some kind of validating label, a label that says, yes, it is hard to be his mother and no, he is not being difficult just because he wants to make everyone miserable and no, it's not your fault he doesn't sit still for dinner. It's like I've been trudging across miles of hot asphalt in July and I just spied someone beckoning me to a shady seat, holding out a glass of iced lemonade.