Wednesday, February 03, 2010

From #2 to #1

The "fecal smearing", as professionals appear to call this behavior, seems to have been a short-lived fascination. Not long after my last post, I found T starting to smear his poop again. Boy, did I make a big impression on him that time. I slammed a book I had in my hand down on the bathroom counter and yelled "NO WAY. We are not doing this. You do not play with your poop. That makes your hands dirty and messy and it is not clean or safe." He looked so stunned, and immediately started crying. So I knelt down next to him while cleaning his hands and said, "I'm your Mommy, and it is my job to make sure that you are clean and healthy and safe - and THEN happy. I know it makes you happy to play with your poop, but you aren't clean when you do and you won't be healthy for long if you do. So you can't play with your poop anymore." He continued to cry, and I felt awful for making him cry, but also felt completely justified in my reaction - at first. Then of course I started doubting - should I have just ignored the behavior and tried to replace it with something else? But darn it, this was such a visceral reaction, and darned if it didn't make an impression. It has been several weeks and he has not played with his poop since.

And, as the trusted professionals with whom I consulted on this said: I rarely if ever yell at him. So even though most of the time we do want to ignore the bad and reinforce the good, sometimes the gut-felt, honest response works best.

But...we've regressed in the peeing area now. I truly don't know if it is due to the amazing growth spurt this kid has been on for the past 2 months, or if it is one of the two supplements we've weaned out of his daily menu, or if I traumatized him by the aforementioned incident and now pottying is aversive. Thing is, I won't know, either. But I am glad to report that we are now three days (almost) completely accident free. Thank goodness for M&Ms. We've gone back to rewarding dry underpants and it seems to be working. Hey, I'd work for chocolate treats, too.

His cold (nearly three weeks into it now) seems to be fading. I suppose that his system could be off due to that as well. Never a dull moment. Certainly is making me very good at hypothesizing!


Anonymous said...

Wow..such a journey you are on.
Actually, parenting is just that...sometimes the road is well marked and we navigate easily. Other times it is the potholes that get us down...but you do not fall in...You are a wonderful parent and T will only benefit even if you scare the s----out of him sometime. I hope you get a chance to see the Temple Grandin movie...she gives a voice to what is going on in the head of an autistic person... helpful to this Nonnie...Love to you

witchcat said...

By now all is probably as calm as it gets. You're a great Mom(and Dad) and together you've managed to raise a really neat kid.--oops, did I say that? Anyway, he knows and will never forget that the brown stuff he makes every day is NOT a toy. (Maybe say, "good-bye. Make some more tomorrow.") You know better than I, but how about homemade play dough? It's cheap and squishy... And yes,speaking from my personal experience, a lingering cold can throw off the entire being. I've been downright grouchy for couple of weeks. But there's nothing like Messiah to lift the spirits.

witchcat said...

PS: Get yourself a copy of an ancient series that begins with _Infant and Child in the Culture of Today_ by Gesell and Ilg. (We have a mutual acquaintance who has/had my set of 4 volumes.)
It dates from the '40s and consists of OBSERVATIONS of children's behavior. It can be a great consolation and relief. They used to talk about the war, but you'll know at what age they talk about current events. And it will tell you that exploration of one's body is a normal, if messy, part of development. (I have a hunch that ignoring his new playing would have given you some interesting drawings on the walls.)

ADQ said...

your blog is right after mine so I sorta stumbled across it but just recently my daughter's therapist started telling me she thinks the may have aspergers. I've done a lot of reading but the only thing I haven't found is books on how to deal with it, best ways to handle situations w/a child w/aspergers - she hasn't been formally diagnosed but I want so much to be able to communicate with her better & decrease outburts.

misplaced.freetime said...


i think you're a great mom. i think we need to hear that sometimes..

I actually have no kids, but i know my mom likes to hear some nice (well deserved) words after a long day.

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witchcat said...

After reading Term Papers comment, methinks that Tommy's Mommy would be wise to copyright her posts. This might take away some of the spontaneity but would preserve your ownership of your writing.

Big hugs in your direction.

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