Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Armed to the Teeth, Literally and Figuratively

In football people always say a good defense is the best offense, well actually don't quote me on that, I am not a football person.

But the same is true for autism, a large proportion of time spent by autistic parents is on the anticipation of problems, of avoiding landmines which will cause your child fear, stress, anxiety, meltdown.  And believe me, with most autistic kids zero-to-meltdown can happen faster than the speed of of light, so we parents always have to be on the lookout, avoiding certain things which might otherwise permeate our child's safety zone.

There have been proportionally a lot of meltdowns around here, both Maya's (but mommy and daddy have had a few too).  It's amazing what the loss of the school routine does for Maya.  As I have mentioned before, at the moment she is our little 7 year old pinball, bouncing from bumper to bumper, bell to bell, all noises and whistles and believe me, while she has had a lot of fun, this is not good for her.  Normally (or whatever normal is for us), we see Maya spurt forward development wise during summer vacation.  But that is usually because the vacation period is limited and she has a lot of one-on-one and family time with us.  This year the family time is there, but we are also juggling work, a new au pair and a V E R Y long time without any type of school type routine.  It is hard for her to relax, even when we are at home.  I purposely decided this week to have a calm week with her, without a lot of big activities in the hopes that the down time would help her to settle.  Not so.  I am sure I could be more disciplined with her about certain things, like bedtime and waking up time and keeping our morning routine exactly the same but I am also on vacation and want my long, lazy mornings in bed and my relaxing evenings, so I have let it go.  Lazy, bad mother.  At the moment she is melting down and tantruming about things that long ago she learned how to take in stride, everything is a tragedy.  But I am afraid Shakespearean-Maya is here to stay until school begins in just under two more weeks.  Come on September 5th!

Meanwhile we have also be dealing with Maya's dental issues and tomorrow is d-day, she will have two teeth pulled (one is an abscess, the other is a baby tooth which is causing crooked adult teeth growth) and two fillings and a thorough teeth cleaning all of this courtesy of General Anesthesia.  Tomorrow will be our third appointment to do the work.  The first was for check ups and x-rays, hte second to meet the Anesthesiologist and tomorrow is the day.  Maya has been very brave so far but you can see the whole thing terrifies the bejesus out of her.  The floor plan of hte office is an open floor plan and when you walk in you are inundated with a big white room with flouroscent lighting and about 40 dental chairs in a circle with tools over them.  The whole room is white and I have yet to see a patient be treated in these chairs, so I am thinking this is either some kind of dental art or maybe they use this area for teaching.  All patients I have seen go into one of the many private dental suites on the floor.  Maya runs down the hall flapping her arms frantically the whole way (actually in the last week her flapping has gotten very frequent and very spastic, which is unlike her, she normally sports only an occasional and quite dainty arm flap -- yet another way I can tell vacation is not so relaxing).

Before each appointment I have spent a lot of time preparing her for what will happen during each appointment and that has helped us to avoid a scene.  For tomorrow's appointment the anestesiologist talked us through how it would work.  We got to choose the manner of delivery of the anaestisia, either through a needle or through the mask.  We chose for the mask, mostly because that is what I had already told her about how they would put her to sleep and because I thought a needle would scare her more.  She will have to sit on my lap tomorrow and I will have to hold her tight so she doesn't squirm and they will put the mask over her nose and mouth and within 10 seconds she will be asleep.  They will then put in an IV with a light anesthesia that will keep her asleep for the whole procedure.  Then when they are finished they will rouse her to a point of almost waking and come and get me and then I will be with her when they wake her up the rest of the way so that she can wake up and not be scared.  They have told me she will be likely very drowsy for a couple of days afterward and that she might experience some light pain from the tooth pulling.

During the procedure I need to stay on the premises so I have armed myself with a portable dvd player and headset and will while away the time getting lost in some cheesy tv or movies or maybe I will even read a book.

I have spent a lot of time this week talking to her about the dentist and she knows very well what to expect, although she is more fixated on the part where Leo's mother promised to buy her some new stuffed animals and has kind of skipped over the whole mask, laying in the chair thing.  I also told her that she couldn't eat breakfast before hand so she is very fixated on what I will make for her when we get home (scrambled eggs with cheese and toast and chocolate chip cookies seem to have won that election). She will also get a dvd of the movie Rio tomorrow when we get home so I hope that will sweeten the pot a bit.  And the bucket will be on standby by her bed just in case........

I have vowed to myself that I am not going to lose my patience with her anymore because it is not helping anything.  She is just our little pinball right now and she will be until the comforting routine of school takes over and her world begins to make sense again.  5 September will be here before you know it and next week I will be back to work so I will be happy in the evenings to watch her bounce around, bells, whistles and all.

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