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Discussion Starter #141
<b>SERIOUSLY <span style="text-decoration:underline;">wytchywoman</span>, I completely LOVE you for that line about the beefcake firefighter! You gave me a good laugh, and those are often few and far between for me!</b><br><br>
I'd love some other people to call and chat with, especially in my times of distress when I feel like I am just going to absolutely lose it (and sometimes, unfortunately, I do!).<br><br>
There have been a few RARE times when I've called my mom and she's said the right thing, which was essentially giving me words of encouragement that I could do this and that I was strong and capable. It gives me a little dose of strength that allows me to suck it up and go back at it. But then, more often, actually, she will be critical, even cruel, and it's so hard, like "What? You were nice and helpful last time! What happened?" I am fairly sure my mom has some mental issues of her own, depression at the least. Whenever I am having problems with my son, she talks about how terrible it is for HER and how hard her life is because of what I am going through with my son. She's even said it's HARDER for her than for me. What????? So frustrating.<br><br>
I think single parents need like an emergency support number they can call, like a hotline, whether that's for emotional support or even "Help! I can't get the carseat in! Can you send someone over???" Man, that would be soooo nice.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>wytchywoman</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14894684"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">and the next time you need help with the car seat, pop DS in a seat belt in the back and drive to your closest police or fire station. I bet you anything you can get some hot, hunky, beefcake dude in a uniform to help you out and you can admire the eye candy while he does the work...well ok, the eye candy is not a for sure thing but I bet it put a smile on your face <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">). ((((((((((HUGE HUGS))))))) to you and your DS.</div>
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Discussion Starter #142
Side note:<br><br>
My son and I had a great day today! Granted, I didn't spend much time with him because he went to daycare this morning, but had about an hour with him this morning and three hours tonight before he conked out in the car on our way home. He was completely compliant, kind, and just great.<br><br>
I've been checking out some of the recommended books (recommended by posters on MDC), like The Explosive Child, on Amazon. It's hard to know which will be most helpful to me/us at this stage. I am reading Transforming the Difficult Child, but the approach is SOOO complicated, even though I think a lot of it is good. It asks you to do this complicated credit/reward system for all their behaviors. I just don't know that my son will be able to completely get it.<br><br>
Anyway, thanks everyone for the new replies. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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I support you in the medications based on the fact that my ds has tremendous tantrums, once three times a day, and it seems very minimal to what you are going through. I do not know how you function. You are doing your best.
 

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Discussion Starter #144
Thanks Laila!<br><br>
I want to make sure we explore all options before I try medications, as I know that they can have some very serious side effects. There are also some conditions for which I believe medications would be contraindicated, so I don't want to do anything that would make things worse! I am definitely considering that as an option though, if all else fails.
 

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Here's a link to a freind's blog about recovery from meds:<br><a href="http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/recovery-stories/" target="_blank">http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/recovery-stories/</a>
 

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Discussion Starter #146
Thanks for that. I will check that out!<br><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Pookietooth</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14902918"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Here's a link to a freind's blog about recovery from meds:<br><a href="http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/recovery-stories/" target="_blank">http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/recovery-stories/</a></div>
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Discussion Starter #147
Hi Jalilah:<br><br>
I just wanted to say THANK YOU for mentioning sensory processing disorder. After reading about this online, and noticing some of the things that my son does that are similar, I mentioned this to my son's therapist and we did a screening questionaire. He tested as abnormal in several areas, especially in sensory-seeking behaviors. There are lots of things that he does that previously I just saw as annoying that now seem like they might be something different than just an annoying behavior.<br><br>
Is this (SPD) considered a form of autism, or is this a separate condition?<br><br>
Thanks again for mentioning this possibility. I know this might not be the answer or ALL of the answer, but I do want to feel like I've looked into ALL options before I start giving him a possibly brain-altering medication (not that I'd be against that if it was what he really needed!).<br><br>
Thanks again.
 

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Bisou,<br><br>
I don't think our OT thought it was a form of autism, but autism can be linked with it. My cihldren do not land on the autistic spectrum and just live with SPD. I'm very glad that your son's therapist was able to help you get some answers. Like Jalilah said, I would get The Out of Sync Child and The Out of Sync Child Has Fun.<br><br>
Good luck and hugs to you!
 

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Discussion Starter #149
Hi Unschoolin:<br><br>
I can't remember if you were the first one to mention SPD, so if so, the thanks go to you as well for getting me to look into this further!<br><br>
Since this is new to me, I wasn't sure if that was considered part of the autistic spectrum or not. My son doesn't have any of the problems with relating to people that I've heard autistic kids can have (I'm no autism expert---so no offense to anyone if I've got it wrong!) but I know sensory problems are a big part of autism.<br><br>
We will be doing further testing to determine if SPD is part of what's going on for him.<br><br>
Things I've noticed that he does include always being extremely active, especially when he's hyped up (whether agitated, excited, nervous, etc), jumping off and banging into things all the time, running his hands along the walls (not constantly, but happens particularly when we are in public) or rubbing/pushing his back against walls, lots of kicking his feet and legs (especially against hard objects like floors, benches, chair legs, etc), and lots of hitting or tapping the table. This isn't something he does 100% of the time, and I just attributed it to extremely high energy.<br><br>
There are also issues with sound, like he likes to have music on <b>extremely</b> loud; otherwise, he says he can't hear it. Of course I worry about his hearing, so I don't turn it up that loud. He also often acts like he doesn't hear me, and I used to think this was completely intentional, but now I am thinking that it might not be intentional all the time. If he's listening to something, I can talk to him or call his name, but I might have to turn it off to really get his attention. It's like he can only hear the one thing he's focused on at the time.<br><br>
As a baby, he ALWAYS wanted to be rocked or jiggled. Constantly. He was very cranky. Putting him to sleep often required dancing with him in a baby wrap or carrier for literally HOURS. Seriously. An hour would be a regular amount of time to get him to sleep, and this would drag to 2-3 hours of dancing/jiggling/bouncing at times. We just thought he was a fussy baby.<br><br>
It took me 6 months to breastfeed because every time I tried to breastfeed him he would scream, hit me (as much as a newborn can---more like flailing towards me), push me away, and arch his back. He acted like breastfeeding was the worst thing in the world. (However, I didn't give up and once we hit the 6 month mark, he became a breast-feeding addict and stayed that way! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">)<br><br>
But reflecting on his behaviors, I definitely see strong sensory-seeking behaviors. His therapist has always pointed out that he needs strong impact on his joints, like hitting and pushing things, wrestling, and jumping off things. But I think she was thinking of sensory issues as being more OVERLY sensitive to clothing textures, textures of food, noise, etc. He is more the opposite of that. He also likes being squished, like if I put pillows on him and lie on top of them or even just give him a big squishing bear hug.<br><br>
I know there are probably "normal" kids that like this kind of stuff too.<br><br>
He does seem to be sensitive about being around lots of activity and loud noise though, like gymnastics (the origin of our most recent major tantrum). He does act like he is almost so overwhelmed, he can't handle it. I had always attributed that to fear of unknown situations, but I am seeing that in possibly a different light now, like maybe sensory-wise it was just too much for him.<br><br>
I am not saying this is the complete answer; we don't know yet, but I am just looking at things through this lens now, and it does give me some food for thought!<br><br><b>Anyone who has kids with sensory issues, what kinds of things do the occupational therapists do with your kids in sessions? I am just curious.</b><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>unschoolinmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14909345"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Bisou,<br><br>
I don't think our OT thought it was a form of autism, but autism can be linked with it. My cihldren do not land on the autistic spectrum and just live with SPD. I'm very glad that your son's therapist was able to help you get some answers. Like Jalilah said, I would get The Out of Sync Child and The Out of Sync Child Has Fun.<br><br>
Good luck and hugs to you!</div>
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Yes, my son is also sensory-seeking.<br><br>
Kids with autism can have sensory issues, but kids with SPD aren't always autistic. My two aren't at all. However, because of the diagnosis, they had their hearing checked. It came out fine.<br><br>
With my son, the OT worked on deep pressure. There is also a "brushing program". He loved it. She would take a big bouncy ball (medicine ball) and lay it on his back while she pressed into it. It soothed him a lot, so I started doing the same with our couch cushions.<br><br>
Deep pressure is very important for sensory-seeking children. I have tons of videos of my son now and he's still just as active. He was doing cartwheels in the kitchen today, mostly for the impact of it. When he was a baby, he needed to be swaddled tight, hugged tight and tended to be very unaware of personal space. He clung to me a lot and would press his body against mine. He actually still does.<br><br>
Now, taking him to the mall or other crowded places can pose a problem because it's just overstimulating. He panics, feels out of control and that scares him, so he freaks with tantrums, screaming and crying. What I started to do was let him take his CD player so he could put on his music and block out the sound.<br><br>
The OT helped him later with the stimulus and though he still has his moments, i.e. the mall during peak season, then I just avoid taking him. He bounces off the walls still, but has more reserve after working with the OT and it's also a lot to do with age.<br><br>
At your son's age, my son was beyond out of control and was placed on Risperdal. But now at 4 almost 5, he's able to control himself and talk about what scares him.<br><br>
The OTs are great. They give the child the stimulus they need in a much more controlled setting, while at the same time, teaching them to handle situations that could be stressful with better control.<br><br>
As for what the therapist thought about the sensitivity to texture, etc. You're right, she was on the opposite side of the spectrum of SPD. My two children are like that. They are yin and yang.<br><br>
My daughter has SPD but is tactile defensive (what your therapist thought for your son) and my son has SPD but is sensory-seeking (like what your son is displaying).
 

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Discussion Starter #151
Wow! Your son sounds a LOT like my son! He has definitely been extremely out of control for the last year or so, which you probably know since I think you've read a lot of this thread.<br><br>
My son can get really upset in stressful situations like that too, especially where there are lots of people, though sometimes he does fine.<br><br>
He definitely loves getting squished, like your son does, and I've even squished him with the exercise ball I have at home, just as a random thing.<br><br>
So with the OT, are they basically just giving him that sensory input that he seeks, which you then also replicate at home?<br><br>
Also, is he still on the Risperdal? Did they know he had these sensory issues when he was given Risperdal? I've heard that medication isn't good (or at least not necessary) for kids with sensory disorders?<br><br>
This is all new to me, so thanks for the info! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>unschoolinmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14909898"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Yes, my son is also sensory-seeking.<br><br>
Kids with autism can have sensory issues, but kids with SPD aren't always autistic. My two aren't at all. However, because of the diagnosis, they had their hearing checked. It came out fine.<br><br>
With my son, the OT worked on deep pressure. There is also a "brushing program". He loved it. She would take a big bouncy ball (medicine ball) and lay it on his back while she pressed into it. It soothed him a lot, so I started doing the same with our couch cushions.<br><br>
Deep pressure is very important for sensory-seeking children. I have tons of videos of my son now and he's still just as active. He was doing cartwheels in the kitchen today, mostly for the impact of it. When he was a baby, he needed to be swaddled tight, hugged tight and tended to be very unaware of personal space. He clung to me a lot and would press his body against mine. He actually still does.<br><br>
Now, taking him to the mall or other crowded places can pose a problem because it's just overstimulating. He panics, feels out of control and that scares him, so he freaks with tantrums, screaming and crying. What I started to do was let him take his CD player so he could put on his music and block out the sound.<br><br>
The OT helped him later with the stimulus and though he still has his moments, i.e. the mall during peak season, then I just avoid taking him. He bounces off the walls still, but has more reserve after working with the OT and it's also a lot to do with age.<br><br>
At your son's age, my son was beyond out of control and was placed on Risperdal. But now at 4 almost 5, he's able to control himself and talk about what scares him.<br><br>
The OTs are great. They give the child the stimulus they need in a much more controlled setting, while at the same time, teaching them to handle situations that could be stressful with better control.<br><br>
As for what the therapist thought about the sensitivity to texture, etc. You're right, she was on the opposite side of the spectrum of SPD. My two children are like that. They are yin and yang.<br><br>
My daughter has SPD but is tactile defensive (what your therapist thought for your son) and my son has SPD but is sensory-seeking (like what your son is displaying).</div>
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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Bisou</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14909970"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Wow! Your son sounds a LOT like my son! He has definitely been extremely out of control for the last year or so, which you probably know since I think you've read a lot of this thread.<br><br>
My son can get really upset in stressful situations like that too, especially where there are lots of people, though sometimes he does fine.<br><br>
He definitely loves getting squished, like your son does, and I've even squished him with the exercise ball I have at home, just as a random thing.<br><br>
So with the OT, are they basically just giving him that sensory input that he seeks, which you then also replicate at home?<br><br>
Also, is he still on the Risperdal? Did they know he had these sensory issues when he was given Risperdal? I've heard that medication isn't good (or at least not necessary) for kids with sensory disorders?<br><br>
This is all new to me, so thanks for the info! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"></div>
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Oh yes. The OT will give you exercises to do at home and most likely will recommend those books that also have great exercises. He was diagnosed with SPD when he started the Risperdal. I hated it but he needed it for his aggression (he got kicked out of daycare at 2 years old). The worse part of that medication was that every 6 months he had to get blood work to check his liver as it's known to damage liver function.<br><br>
Luckily I got him off of it myself with the help of the OT and becoming much more proactive with working with him during off times at home. My daughter never took Risperdal.
 

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Discussion Starter #153
I was recommended Risperdal for my son, but I've been fighting it. Actually, even though things can still be pretty bad, his aggression has actually gone WAY down from where it used to be. Does he tantrum and get totally out of control? Yes. Does he still hit or throw things? Yes, sometimes. But he used to try with all his might to hurt me as much as possible, and he doesn't really do that anymore, and neither is he hurting other kids like he was two years ago at 2 1/2. He once literally took grabbed another child by the head and out of NOWHERE (completely unprovoked!!!!) started smashing her head against the wall as hard as possible, slamming it against the wall about 3-4 times as his teachers and I all ran across the room trying to get to him. He was about 2 1/2 at the time, and it was completely horrifying, like what kind of monster am I raising? He used to frequently, also sometimes out of nowhere, slam his head into my face. He split my lip open more than once, gave me at least one black eye, and I am fairly sure he broke my nose.<br><br>
(<b>SIDE NOTE/QUESTION</b>: Could all that aggression/hitting/head butting be sensory seeking behavior? He started this at around 18 months, and I used to think "Why does he want to hurt me when he is only 18 freaking months old????? He is just a baby!!! This makes no sense!!!!!")<br><br>
We have come a LONG way since then. I didn't used to do time outs at that age because I wanted to go a more gentle route and talk to him about things, but that totally didn't work. Time outs don't necessarily work either, though it's getting better. This is all a work in progress!<br><br>
I have been working on the concepts in Transforming Your Difficult Child and he recommends giving your child points/credits for doing a good job in time out (staying put and not screaming during the TO). Right now, this is actually working really well! He seems completely shocked that he could be praised for doing a good job in time out, and the positive bent of that is really affecting him, like instead of being "bad" and in time out, he can be doing a great job and getting praised for being in time out.<br><br>
Anyway, that's sort of a side note, but my main point was that <b>his aggression has gone WAY down, like maybe 80% reduction, from what it used to be a year or two ago.</b> Now when he hits, which is less than once a week, sometimes only every few weeks, it's relatively mild and more of a symbolic action ("I am MAD!") than something that seems intended to hurt me as much as possible. Whenever I feel completely desperate with his tantrums, screaming, and generally making life miserable, I do try to remember how far we've come and that he has made SOME progress. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
He has also had a hard time making friends with other kids (even though he really LIKES other kids and other kids usually like him too). Usually, if a child gets in his space or wants to hug him, he is NOT ok with that and almost views it as an assault. He will even get completely pissed just because another child wants to hug him. He is not generally ok with other kids touching him, though he is fairly touchy with me. However, recently he has made friends with another little girl at school, and I was shocked to see them hugging and playing together, rolling around on the floor, or sitting closely together looking at books. This is some good progress too!<br><br>
I just want to make sure I recognize the good days as well as the hard days.<br><br>
That said, what the heck is going on in our society or environment that sooooo many kids are autistic, ADD/ADHD, etc? Some people say that kids are being diagnosed more often now, but I don't remember so many kids having these problems when I was growing up. I know that's a whole different can of worms I am opening, but I can't help but think that there is something going on in our environment (too many chemicals? vaccines???? who knows?) that is causing this for kids.<br><br>
I did vaccinate my son when he was younger because I thought it was the right thing to do to keep him healthy, but he had a SEVERE reaction to pertussis. That scared me and made me research vaccines more, and then I wished I had read a little more on it in the beginning. It's just hard because for every seemingly reputable article about how vaccines are bad, it seems like there are just as many saying the opposite.<br><br>
I know I am bringing up lots of different topics here, so sorry for being all over the board, but I am just bringing up everything that's popping up in my mind.<br><br>
Thanks again for the reply! Love to all my fellow MDC mamas. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
~Bisou<br><br><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>unschoolinmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14910140"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Oh yes. The OT will give you exercises to do at home and most likely will recommend those books that also have great exercises. He was diagnosed with SPD when he started the Risperdal. I hated it but he needed it for his aggression (he got kicked out of daycare at 2 years old). The worse part of that medication was that every 6 months he had to get blood work to check his liver as it's known to damage liver function.<br><br>
Luckily I got him off of it myself with the help of the OT and becoming much more proactive with working with him during off times at home. My daughter never took Risperdal.</div>
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I just finished reading this thread, and what a year you've had, mama! I was so happy to see that things have gotten better and so many people have given you such great information.<br><br>
Like several others, some of your son's behavior reminds me of my oldest ds, who just turned 7. He was a very intense, high-need baby, who I wore or held most of the time and co-slept with. When he became a toddler he was into *everything* -- I quickly learned to baby-safe my house for my own sanity, including putting a latch on the front screen door because my ds thought it was great fun to push it open and run outside. He was (and still is) big for his age, which made those times when he got too too rough or wild harder to deal with, not least of all because other people expected better behavior from a child who *looked* 3 or 4 but was really only 2. Between about ages 3 and 5 I often felt like "that mom" at the park and playgroups; that was the most frustrating period. He wasn't constantly obnoxious, but he was a bundle of energy, constantly moving from one thing to the next and unable to sit still long enough to finish a meal. It really took all of my energy, focus and patience to keep him on an even keel and not lose my temper (although of course sometimes I did.) I sometimes had to carry him to the car kicking and screaming; he became easily overwhelmed with frustration and no amount of patience or understanding helped much at those times. It was my experience too that he was at his worst around me. My mom told me what many others have said, that he felt safe letting loose around me.<br><br>
By the time he was 4 I had decided to homeschool him. I was certain he would be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD (at least) and was very opposed to medicating him. I ultimately decided it wasn't of much value to me to know that Dr. X thought he had Disorder Y and chose not to have him evaluated. I decided that if his behavior made homeschooling impossible or began to interfere with our everyday lives to an unacceptable extent, I would revisit the decision, and I still feel it was the right one.<br><br>
One thing that really helped me, of which I was reminded again by moms who mentioned SPD, was reading "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I thought it might be a bit of a warm-and-fuzzy approach because it focuses on avoiding triggers -- just like for children who need lots of physical contact, or become quickly overwhelmed in crowds; in fact these are some of the examples -- and understanding how to notice warning signs. It also helps you (the parent) figure out your own level of "spiritedness" and discusses how that might help or hinder your relationship with your child. Some of the characteristics of spiritedness include energy, intensity, and sensitivity. The book includes a really helpful section on introverts vs. extroverts and how they have different needs. For example, I learned that while I'm an introvert (meaning I need time to myself to recharge my batteries), my ds is an extrovert (meaning he needs to be around other people to recharge his batteries). Either personality type can learn to increase their comfort level in situations that make them uncomfortable (i.e., an introvert participating more in school or an extrovert playing quietly in his room) *but* they really need to be able to spend some time in their comfort zone every day in order to feel good. Realizing this made a huge difference, because I now recognize the need for myself to have alone time, or my ds to play with others.<br><br>
Time outs usually did not work with him, because I had to sit there next to him and make sure he stayed. I quickly decided it wasn't worth the trouble most of the time and instead focused my energy on having him "atone" -- if he hurt someone, he needed to make them feel better; if he made a mess, he needed to help clean it up.<br><br>
I am certainly not saying that this book solved all my problems; however it was reassuring to realize there were other kids who had a meltdown if their favorite shirt was in the laundry, or refused a bedtime story if the one he wanted to hear was unavailable. Most importantly, it helped me understand that *I am not responsible for his reactions*. I used to take it very personally when he got upset, and really wanted him to be happy all the time. It seems in retrospect that this often made him more negative, and when I learned to avoid trigger situations and work *with* his spiritedness rather than trying to *make* him do things, we got along a lot better and he was a lot more pleasant to live with. It made the tantrums easier to deal with because they became a lot less frequent.<br><br>
He still has tons of energy, and daily physical activity is an absolute must for him. Especially when he has been sitting for awhile, when he gets up he is like a whirlwind. He walks back and forth while telling me things, sometimes seeming like he is acting out his story. He is constantly touching things to explore them, running his hands along the wall, drumming on the table, tapping his toes. At mealtimes he sits, then stands, then sits, then leans back in his chair, then puts his legs and bottom off to one side of the chair, then the other, and so on until he's done eating. When he was still doing this at age 4 my dh was worried and thought this was very weird, that we shouldn't allow it (ha-ha!). I was unwilling to spend mealtimes fighting with ds and refused to try to *make* him sit, preferring to focus instead on the "biggies." He still does this, and the only rule I made is that he has to take bites over his plate and clean up any mess he makes. It's working pretty well, and I think everyone feels better just accepting the way he is and not letting his need for movement -- which really is a small thing, in the scheme of things -- bother us or disturb our mealtimes.<br><br>
Ds has become a kind, loving child who occasionally still has his moments -- don't we all? Things have really gotten better as he's gotten older. I know I am more relaxed in general because I have been a mother for awhile. Again, looking back, I realize that during the most difficult times I was working part-time, and while I'm certainly not passing judgement on employed mothers, it's been much easier to deal with my LOs since I started staying home full-time. It's been my experience that children really need clear expectations and consistent consequences, and of course that's easiest when you're with them most of the time. When you have to work, you have to work, though, and I think that makes it even more important to be consistent in the limited time you have together. I don't necessarily mean punishment, because I think it's very easy to become overly punitive in all of one's dealings with a child and want to punish over every little thing. However, natural consequences are a great teacher, such as getting scratched or bitten by a cat after they wouldn't stop pestering it, or having their favorite shirt not get washed because it was left on the floor instead of being put in the hamper. There are probably lots of better examples...<br><br>
I had another thought: might your ds enjoy helping you make dinner and do whatever other chores you need to do in the evening? My kids always act up when they need attention. Sometimes just including them in what I'm doing is enough to defuse the situation.<br><br>
Anyway good luck! I wrote a much longer message than I intended but hopefully there is something useful for you. I hope everything keeps getting better! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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Hi Bisou,<br><br>
I have been following your thread but not posting until today. I'm really proud of you. That's really all I wanted to say. It isnt easy to "defy" what the medical community/"experts" are telling you. However, you followed your motherly instincts like you did when you persevered with nursing. You worked through hell for the first 6 months bc you knew it was the best thing for you son. You didnt just put him on medication (not that I am categorically rejecting the notion of medication bc yes, sometimes, RARELY, it IS necessary) bc the powers that be recommended it. You havent had a lot of support and yet you've managed to do what a lot of mothers would not have had the determination and vision and confidence to do. I applaud you for that.<br><br>
I was at one time a while back, going to message and ask about whether you vaxed your son and whether your son ever had any reactions but I see you've mentioned that he had a severe reaction to pertussis. I think that is probably relevant but you'll never probably get any medical professional to validate that theory.<br><br>
I am also so so sorry that your son was abused by his daycare provider and that you've had so many stressful situations early in his young life. Surely that stuff is all relevant too. I think these types of issues are so multifactorial, not that I am an expert, but it just makes sense to me.<br><br>
It warmed my heart to read your recent posts about the improvements in your son's behaviour. You have worked really hard. You should be so proud of yourself.<br><br>
I just wanted to send you a hug and say that for what it's worth, I am impressed with your fortitude and strength.<br><br>
Sincerely,<br><br>
Heartandhands
 

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Hi Milky Muse:<br><br>
Wow! What a great post! Finally, someone who writes as much as I do. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Your son does sound very similar to my son in a lot of ways, and I've definitely had many of the same struggles and frustrations that you've had.<br><br>
You mentioned that you didn't have your son evaluated for anything, but now that I know more about SPD, it sounds like your son could have some of the sensory seeking behaviors that can be part of the disorder for some kids. I am not an expert by any means, as this is all new for us, but one thing that sounds positive to me about SPD is that they don't generally medicate for this, but instead use occupational therapy, teaching you and your child techniques to calm him/her down. My son's therapist has recommended that he be referred for evaluation, so hopefully this will help us!<br><br>
You mentioned staying home with your children, and I wish I didn't have to work! Unfortunately, I am a single mom. My son's dad took off during the pregnancy, and he doesn't pay any child support because I just don't want that negative influence in my son's life. He hasn't done a single thing for us, and I don't want my son going through the pain of being constantly disappointed by someone who doesn't really give a crap. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"><br><br>
I've thought a LOT lately about how I wished I could be a stay-at-home mom, but there's just no way that's even close to possible. I guess I need to get out there and start dating! LOL.<br><br>
The book you recommended is on my list of books to buy when I get paid next, so I am definitely going to check it out! Thanks for the recommendation and the detailed explanation. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
I have tried things like having my son help with dinner, but sometimes that can be a really frustrating experience as he will get food ALL OVER everything--counters, cabinets, floors, walls--because he isn't listening that he can't take the whisk out and wave it around or hit it roughly on the side of the bowl, flicking stuff everywhere. I try to be patient, I really do, but his high level of energy and wildness makes it hard for us to do those sorts of things unless he's in a calmer mode because he just drives me CRAZY.<br><br>
We have had a few better days this week now that I am trying to implement the ideas in the book Transforming Your Difficult Child. The other day we were going to our car (parked in the big underground garage in our building) and my son was over looking at his bike. I said, "Come on! Let's go!" and he immediately came over to the car (something he usually doesn't do), and got immediately into his carseat (something he ALSO usually doesn't do), and then sat very very calmly, actually completely still (again, not a normal thing), and he said, "Look, mom, I am being calm! I am earning my points!" It was sooo cute!<br><br>
There are always ups and downs with him. I just hope we will start to get more UPS than downs in the coming weeks.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MilkyMuse</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14914271"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I just finished reading this thread, and what a year you've had, mama! I was so happy to see that things have gotten better and so many people have given you such great information.<br><br>
Like several others, some of your son's behavior reminds me of my oldest ds, who just turned 7. He was a very intense, high-need baby, who I wore or held most of the time and co-slept with. When he became a toddler he was into *everything* -- I quickly learned to baby-safe my house for my own sanity, including putting a latch on the front screen door because my ds thought it was great fun to push it open and run outside. He was (and still is) big for his age, which made those times when he got too too rough or wild harder to deal with, not least of all because other people expected better behavior from a child who *looked* 3 or 4 but was really only 2. Between about ages 3 and 5 I often felt like "that mom" at the park and playgroups; that was the most frustrating period. He wasn't constantly obnoxious, but he was a bundle of energy, constantly moving from one thing to the next and unable to sit still long enough to finish a meal. It really took all of my energy, focus and patience to keep him on an even keel and not lose my temper (although of course sometimes I did.) I sometimes had to carry him to the car kicking and screaming; he became easily overwhelmed with frustration and no amount of patience or understanding helped much at those times. It was my experience too that he was at his worst around me. My mom told me what many others have said, that he felt safe letting loose around me.<br><br>
By the time he was 4 I had decided to homeschool him. I was certain he would be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD (at least) and was very opposed to medicating him. I ultimately decided it wasn't of much value to me to know that Dr. X thought he had Disorder Y and chose not to have him evaluated. I decided that if his behavior made homeschooling impossible or began to interfere with our everyday lives to an unacceptable extent, I would revisit the decision, and I still feel it was the right one.<br><br>
One thing that really helped me, of which I was reminded again by moms who mentioned SPD, was reading "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I thought it might be a bit of a warm-and-fuzzy approach because it focuses on avoiding triggers -- just like for children who need lots of physical contact, or become quickly overwhelmed in crowds; in fact these are some of the examples -- and understanding how to notice warning signs. It also helps you (the parent) figure out your own level of "spiritedness" and discusses how that might help or hinder your relationship with your child. Some of the characteristics of spiritedness include energy, intensity, and sensitivity. The book includes a really helpful section on introverts vs. extroverts and how they have different needs. For example, I learned that while I'm an introvert (meaning I need time to myself to recharge my batteries), my ds is an extrovert (meaning he needs to be around other people to recharge his batteries). Either personality type can learn to increase their comfort level in situations that make them uncomfortable (i.e., an introvert participating more in school or an extrovert playing quietly in his room) *but* they really need to be able to spend some time in their comfort zone every day in order to feel good. Realizing this made a huge difference, because I now recognize the need for myself to have alone time, or my ds to play with others.<br><br>
Time outs usually did not work with him, because I had to sit there next to him and make sure he stayed. I quickly decided it wasn't worth the trouble most of the time and instead focused my energy on having him "atone" -- if he hurt someone, he needed to make them feel better; if he made a mess, he needed to help clean it up.<br><br>
I am certainly not saying that this book solved all my problems; however it was reassuring to realize there were other kids who had a meltdown if their favorite shirt was in the laundry, or refused a bedtime story if the one he wanted to hear was unavailable. Most importantly, it helped me understand that *I am not responsible for his reactions*. I used to take it very personally when he got upset, and really wanted him to be happy all the time. It seems in retrospect that this often made him more negative, and when I learned to avoid trigger situations and work *with* his spiritedness rather than trying to *make* him do things, we got along a lot better and he was a lot more pleasant to live with. It made the tantrums easier to deal with because they became a lot less frequent.<br><br>
He still has tons of energy, and daily physical activity is an absolute must for him. Especially when he has been sitting for awhile, when he gets up he is like a whirlwind. He walks back and forth while telling me things, sometimes seeming like he is acting out his story. He is constantly touching things to explore them, running his hands along the wall, drumming on the table, tapping his toes. At mealtimes he sits, then stands, then sits, then leans back in his chair, then puts his legs and bottom off to one side of the chair, then the other, and so on until he's done eating. When he was still doing this at age 4 my dh was worried and thought this was very weird, that we shouldn't allow it (ha-ha!). I was unwilling to spend mealtimes fighting with ds and refused to try to *make* him sit, preferring to focus instead on the "biggies." He still does this, and the only rule I made is that he has to take bites over his plate and clean up any mess he makes. It's working pretty well, and I think everyone feels better just accepting the way he is and not letting his need for movement -- which really is a small thing, in the scheme of things -- bother us or disturb our mealtimes.<br><br>
Ds has become a kind, loving child who occasionally still has his moments -- don't we all? Things have really gotten better as he's gotten older. I know I am more relaxed in general because I have been a mother for awhile. Again, looking back, I realize that during the most difficult times I was working part-time, and while I'm certainly not passing judgement on employed mothers, it's been much easier to deal with my LOs since I started staying home full-time. It's been my experience that children really need clear expectations and consistent consequences, and of course that's easiest when you're with them most of the time. When you have to work, you have to work, though, and I think that makes it even more important to be consistent in the limited time you have together. I don't necessarily mean punishment, because I think it's very easy to become overly punitive in all of one's dealings with a child and want to punish over every little thing. However, natural consequences are a great teacher, such as getting scratched or bitten by a cat after they wouldn't stop pestering it, or having their favorite shirt not get washed because it was left on the floor instead of being put in the hamper. There are probably lots of better examples...<br><br>
I had another thought: might your ds enjoy helping you make dinner and do whatever other chores you need to do in the evening? My kids always act up when they need attention. Sometimes just including them in what I'm doing is enough to defuse the situation.<br><br>
Anyway good luck! I wrote a much longer message than I intended but hopefully there is something useful for you. I hope everything keeps getting better! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"></div>
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Hi Ms Heartsandhands:<br><br>
Thanks for posting and for reading my thread. I appreciate it.<br><br>
I have definitely resisted medication for my son, though, like you, I think it can be needed in some situations, and I definitely don't want to be critical of mamas who've chosen that for their children. Believe me, there are moments when I've been very close, and there might be a chance that I will consider it again, but ONLY when everything else has been considered.<br><br>
My son's therapist seemed a little relieved today, to be honest, that we might have some more things to add to our tool bag to help my son. Like you mentioned, he's been through A LOT in the last two years. It's hard for me not to feel guilty about it because I was the one who wanted to move back to Portland and out of my parents' house which was located in a small Washington town with nothing to do. It was a toxic environment with my parents constantly criticizing me and fighting with me, so I know intellectually that it HAD to be done, but sometimes I just think "If we hadn't moved, he wouldn't have been abused, and we wouldn't have experienced that break-in and all the resulting trauma." But I know that some of those things could happen anywhere. I guess I just feel especially guilty about the daycare abuse, like I should have prevented that somehow, but this was a big chain daycare (not my first choice, but very clean, bright, and heavily monitored, or so it seemed), the only one I could get him into because everywhere else had 1-2 year wait lists. When I think about all that he's been though in the past two years, all that WE'VE been through, it's really just baffling.<br><br>
I do worry about the vaccinations. I know that people of my generation had those as kids and it doesn't seem like we had many problems with it, but it seems like LOTS of kids have problems that weren't as common when I was growing up. Is it the huge increase in vaccinations? I don't know. My son definitely had a crazy reaction to pertussis, with insane fevers and shaking almost to the point of seizures. I didn't think about this as causing behavioral issues, but definitely didn't think it was good for him!<br><br>
The other thing that I don't know if I've mentioned is that I was taking Wellbutrin when I was first pregnant with my son because I didn't know I was pregnant for almost the first three months. I was told I couldn't have children, and after years of never getting pregnant, I didn't think it would ever happen. I was also taking antibiotics on a daily basis for a skin condition I have, so I often think about how those medications might have impacted my son's developing brain. Again, GUILT. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I know I wasn't aware I was pregnant, and these medications are supposedly "safe" (whatever!), but I still feel really bad about that.<br><br>
I know that beating myself up about things doesn't help anything, and the best thing I can do is just go from here and do my best to help my son.<br><br>
I am in the process of looking at kindergartens for my son next year (yikes! scary!), and this is a hard process. Where we live, you can either go to the neighborhood school or you can request a transfer to another school and then be chosen through a lottery. There are also a few charter schools, including a fairly new public Waldorf charter school, and they all have their own lottery systems, so there are lots of options. The Waldorf school is smaller and more intimate, but there is also a really cool arts-focused elementary school that I am looking at. Definitely lots to think about! I want my son to have a positive first educational experience, but I also know it might be hard to know what the school is REALLY like until my son is attending there. Wish me luck on that!!!<br><br>
Ok, off to do some actual work now! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>heartandhands</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14920202"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Hi Bisou,<br><br>
I have been following your thread but not posting until today. I'm really proud of you. That's really all I wanted to say. It isnt easy to "defy" what the medical community/"experts" are telling you. However, you followed your motherly instincts like you did when you persevered with nursing. You worked through hell for the first 6 months bc you knew it was the best thing for you son. You didnt just put him on medication (not that I am categorically rejecting the notion of medication bc yes, sometimes, RARELY, it IS necessary) bc the powers that be recommended it. You havent had a lot of support and yet you've managed to do what a lot of mothers would not have had the determination and vision and confidence to do. I applaud you for that.<br><br>
I was at one time a while back, going to message and ask about whether you vaxed your son and whether your son ever had any reactions but I see you've mentioned that he had a severe reaction to pertussis. I think that is probably relevant but you'll never probably get any medical professional to validate that theory.<br><br>
I am also so so sorry that your son was abused by his daycare provider and that you've had so many stressful situations early in his young life. Surely that stuff is all relevant too. I think these types of issues are so multifactorial, not that I am an expert, but it just makes sense to me.<br><br>
It warmed my heart to read your recent posts about the improvements in your son's behaviour. You have worked really hard. You should be so proud of yourself.<br><br>
I just wanted to send you a hug and say that for what it's worth, I am impressed with your fortitude and strength.<br><br>
Sincerely,<br><br>
Heartandhands</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Bisou</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14392838"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I am a single mother of a 4-year-old son with extreme behavioral problems, and I am desperate for your help as I am not liking what the medical community is offering us (medication, of course).<br><br><br>
I am at my wit's end, but I love my son and want things to change. I don't want to put him on this medication. It seems like there MUST be another way, but I am physically and emotionally exhausted, and nothing I do seems to be working. <b>Has anyone else dealt with severe behavioral problems? If so, what did you do? HELP!!!!!!</b></div>
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Bisou.. I see that you are in my hometown, and oddly I think I remember talking to you a few years ago when you were very carefully looking for childcare... anyway...<br><br>
My son is the same age and much of this is true for me too, thought maybe to a lesser extent, and I don't know why other than that i can tell *something* is bugging him- lack of inner peace or ablility to regulate or something, and always has seemed to. It's worst with me- others will tell me they see nothing like how I tell things. I don't discount early day care experiences- while we had no abuse like yours, we did have loss of familiarity (immense caregiver changeover at one facility) which did have a lasting impact. I'm not sure how to overcome that, some kids are obviously real sensitive. Sometimes I think just having preschool- at a good place- has a major impact on his life that I don't love.<br><br>
IMO only of course... if time-outs (however intended) don't work, then don't do them! He likely *knows* what he's doing is not good stuff, he just has an overriding need or something inspiring him otherwise (no impulse control?). I remember being a kid much like my own child, though I didn't hit/spit... but I had the feelings, and I just desperately wanted someone to understand, be nice, and HELP me... only now, I still don't understand or know how to help so all I can do is BE THERE with my son. ALso, you talk a lot about rewards and withholding rewards- I know that would confuse and stress my child, and if I were the child, I would rebel against the whole thing and/or greatly despise it. But if that and the time-outs DO seem to help you, then you have the right tools for you!<br><br>
I try to not put energy into correcting everything, and put energy into something positive between us- I think he gets me down then I get him down a lot- hard to break that cycle, especially by myself. I try to imagine the times it works do help, and realize that I can't always control the times that it doesn't work. BTW, I have RYSC- it made me feel good that there were other spirited children far and wide, but I didn't find that I wanted to apply most of the practical stuff... just liked the initial theory. Since we are in the same town, I'll lend you if you want <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Likewise, we can't do things like playdates cause he will snub the entire idea, I don't even get to meet potential mama-friends with his attitude. He loves other people- I actually believe that many of the issues would be nonexistent in a true tribe of many people.. funy how you yourself said that! but I don't have it and thus the cycle of not being able to find one because of him.<br><br>
My child is needy and anxious and unable to control himself and it comes out violent- I don't think that makes him angry exactly and I don't worry as much about the act of hitting as what's behind it- what he feels, how his mind works. I'd just about been ready to do counseling or an evaluation but worried what all they could possibly recommend.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Bisou</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14834474"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br>
I think his problem is that she isn't playing with him the way he wants her to, so he's angry. I also think that he gets frustrated with her because he gets in trouble for picking her up too much and getting her out from under the bed when she's gone there to hide. Sometimes I have to tell him that if he picks her up again (for the 20th time!) or bothers her under the bed (where she is going to hide from him, obviously) that he will have a time out. I think he might resent her because of this, like the new baby sister who's getting him in trouble. I have no idea. Just randomly hypothesizing.<br><br>
Bisou</div>
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sounds to me like he's upset that the new cat isn't just like the old cat... replacing an older, mellower pet who knew you with a kitten and all- kittens don't always want to be still!<br><br>
i also forgot to say earlier... i remember reading somewhere that if you were attached when your child was a baby, you wouldn't be butting heads when they were a preschooler. guess again. i was attached and we most certainly DO butt heads.
 

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I don't know what to do. My son pulled our cat's tail again this morning REALLY HARD until she just let out this shriek. I was in the kitchen, and she was on one of the dining chairs (right by me), and everything was fine, we were having a good morning, and he just did that out of nowhere. He tried to say it was an accident, but he said he pulled her tail (and I don't see how that could be an accident), so I put him into time out immediately.<br><br>
The time out was awful and since he wouldn't stay in time out and was throwing things at me and hitting things, I had to restrain him (which is what his therapist and the book, Transforming Your Difficult Child, recommends if they won't stay in time out) while he screamed and wiped snot all over my arms and spit on me.<br><br>
The cat seems fine and tried to play with him after his time out was over, but how long do I let this go on? He hasn't caused her any major damage, but I also don't think having him periodically hurt the cat is good for either the cat or my son, nor do I want to get to the point where he causes her a major injury!!!! The idea of taking her back to the breeder is completely devastating to me because I just adore this cat. But of course I don't want her to be hurt. I don't know where to draw the line!!!! I also feel like taking the cat back because he's being "bad" would be really harmful for my son. Not that I'd explain it that way, but he's smart and would know it's because he's been hurting her. I guess some people would see this as a natural consequence. I am just completely lost about what to do. I hate having to make all these decisions myself. I am just so completely depressed about his behavior.<br><br>
I know my son would be sad about it and doesn't understand that he wouldn't see her again. It just seems like everything is so night and day with him. One day she's his favorite thing ever, then suddenly he just hurts her for no reason, just out of nowhere. He said he pulled her tail because he didn't want her on the dining chair, but he wasn't going to sit there or anything. He just didn't want her on there. It makes no sense. Everything was fine with us this morning and with the cat. We were going to go outside and ride his bike before school, which is a happy thing for him. I just don't understand it. I don't know what to do. I am just devastated. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 
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