Sunday, March 15, 2009


That is how I am feeling these days. Life is coming at me faster than I can take hold of it. I have hesitated to post, because I fear it will all sound negative and I do not want that. But, at last I can not hold it in any longer.

One of the big things is Makenna. I love that girl more than I can say, but she is a HANDFUL! Truly, she and Kya are my soul. But, lately Makenna has really been struggling with her behavior issues associated with her Sensory Processing Disorder.
I was naive in my understanding of what SPD really was when they first said that Makenna had it. I thought it would be this quick thing that we would do some OT for, and it would be all good in a couple of months. Of course, I was wrong in that thinking. She had so many behaviors and challenges that we compensated for, that we didn't realize some of the areas that she was struggling in. And, she has come a long way since she started, but we have so much further to go. And, with pre-school coming this fall, I just am starting to worry that she will really struggle with school based on her current behaviors.

Her biggest challenges are her frustration level, aggravated by a very short attention span and her EXCESSIVE energy. Not just a 4 yr old energy level, but like you gave said 4 yr old an energy drink or 12. It is crazy. And, we have gotten very creative in our output choices and really try to find the outlets that she so craves. She needs jumping (trampoline), swinging (now indoor and out), spinning, and heavy pushing, pulling, or carrying something like a weighted backpack. It provides good input and grounds her.We do brushing and joint compression as well. But, the need to find that input is constant, and it wears a momma down.

The worst part is that I know that there are parents who are struggling with so many other things and would love to see their child run and jump and spin, so I feel guilty for even feel annoyed by the constant need for movement. I feel guilty now for even saying all of this, but I have to.

And, just within the last week we have gotten feedback from her therapist that she has even struggled at therapy with inattentiveness, and just being a little less cooperative. So, we are now considering a diet change. We have decided to attempt a gluten-free diet first, with a possible dairy free diet down the line if necessary. Again, I am overwhelmed and stumbling into a whole new world that I know nothing about. I have spent hours online reading, researching and learning. Today I went shopping for some of the gluten free basics, and now feel ready to start this challenge. But, any ideas or input are welcome.

I guess it just comes down to the fact that I want to do the best thing that I can for her, but I feel like I don't always know what that is. It's so unfair to her to struggle like she does with some things, but I can't take that away and it is paralyzing to me at times. I pray everyday that she grows up realizing that I did the best I could, but will that be good enough????


Jess said...

Oh Kari!

It's no wonder you feel overloaded! I can't imagine how difficult this all must be on you!

I'm thinking about you!

Nancy said...

Hi Kari -

I can relate to the feelings of over load and I can definitely relate to feeling worn down though I don't have a job to go to every day and the added responsibilities of a little one. I know that makes it extra challenging for you.

The preschool environment in itself can arouse and over stimulate any child. Do you have a preschool in mind for her? Does the program cater to the individual needs of the children and make "plans" to provide children with extra support? Transition times and group time at school seem to be trigger points that require children to have special activities or space to help calm them.

Also many preschools will allow OTs to visit the child at school and even assist teachers with ideas to help children succeed.

It does take a lot of extra work for sure and it is draining. I think once you get a real understanding of what works for her (and how common this really is) you will find your rhythm.

There are two children in Mimi's class with sensory needs - one who is on a gluten-free diet. In order to include the child in birthday snacks we are asked to bring gluten-free treats so the child isn't left out.

The good news is there is so much support out there because it is so common. That doesn't make it any easier for you I know, but hang in there.

Evelyn said...


This sounds really tiring and hard. Sounds like you are doing so much for your daughter and you don't sound negative at all. You sound real. I hope for a calm your way and thanks for educating me on this!

Nicole Anderson said...

Thank you so much for sharing. You are most certainly not alone. I work in a school district and there are a number of student with needs such as Makenna's. You are so wonderful to do all that you do for her at home.

I helped a student with a gluten free diet a few years ago, and have in the last few years noticed so many more products offering gluten free. I think it is a diet that is becoming much more common.

You are a super mom to those beautiful girls, and admitting overload, makes you an even better mom! I am thinking of you, and hope that times get easier.

Cindy said...

Hello Kari,
I have a friend who has a child that she needs to provide a gluten free diet for. She has some great info on her blog. You may want to check it out:
Good luck with everything.

laura said...

Thank you for sharing your struggles. One of my kiddos struggles too. It can be so wearing. It's no wonder you feel overloaded.
I'm sure it will help when spring comes for good to the north country. Fresh air and sunshine will help all of us.

Kerry and Tom said...

I wish there were something we could do to help you. If you need anything please let me know. Your an amazing mother!!

2girls said...

You and I are living parallel lives. I'll give you a call soon.

You need this book:

Gluten/Casein Free Grocery Shopping Guide

Heatherbean said...

Oh, Kari...I am so sorry things are hard right now. I know you are doing everything Makenna needs to be the amazing woman you are raising. This parent gig is so hard sometimes...I know it is, but you're amazing. I really miss you alot.
A trip to GA would totally help, I think...

The Four of Us said...

Kari, I have a daughter who has similar issues. I've tried so many things, and, she is better than she used to be, but, I just learned of a test that can be done by an MD, to determine if she can assimilate the B vitamins. I'm considering (strongly) having it done. If it happens that she cannot assimilate the B vitamins, they have a prescription that will help! Also, I wanted to tell you that I have a couple of CDs on the subject of The Biology of Behavior, which gets into the foods and supplements that can have an effect. Would you like to have them? I'd be happy to send them to you, if you will send me your physical address. Hope you find the help you need soon. I know how hard it is! Hang in there. You're doing all you can.

leslie and adam and B said...


What a hard time for you. There is lots of love and support coming to you - I hope you can feel it!

Kellyann said...

Oh my. I am overwhelmed by your post. Overwhelmed for you. I have a child that is a handful too but it is more emotional than physical (although I am sure some of it emotional for M as well). It can be hard and stressful and you often want to just throw your hands up and say forget it. Know that you are not alone. I am sure some days are better than others. Keep praying for patience and wisdom. You ARE doing the best you can by seeking help from outside resources who know more about this disorder. I hope a diet change can help her as well. Remember some of this 'change' negatively could be her way of working out the kinks in her own four year old way. Four year old w/o the disorder can be unpredictable as they try to learn their boundaries and test them as well as them trying to assert their individuality and independence. I hope things calm down some soon. I'll pray for you and M.

Mama Papaya said...

With words like these, she will know. Maybe not until she is a mom herself, but she will know.

Thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Have you looked into whether she has a food coloring allergy?