Ethan’s week started off a bit rough, but, after a last-minute trip to the doctor on Monday, it quickly improved. I know that I have already mentioned how great the doctor was, but I honestly, truly appreciated her kind, loving heart. It might sound crazy, but we have not had good luck sometimes with doctors with Ethan. Since he is often sick when we take him to the doctor, he is, obviously, not himself. So, he does not interact as much, try to communicate, etc.
Often, one of two things happens – 1) They totally blow us off and give us a crazy reason for him being sick. When he was a baby and ended up having terrible reflux, I kid-you-not, a doctor noted “teething” on Ethan’s chart when I took him in, telling him that he was waking up every 1 1/2 hours. Well, guess what? After the results from the pH probe came back, about a month later, Ethan was refluxing every 1 1/2 hours. Clearly not teething. 2) They refer us to another specialist for this, that, or the other. You would be very surprised by the things that a doctor can say, diagnose, think in a 5-minute appointment. I have left many doctor’s offices in tears, especially when Ethan was younger and clearly in so much pain.
Needless to say, those are some of the reasons that I truly appreciated the doctor on Monday. She had seen Summer a few times last year and was great. But, we have been to doctors who are great with Summer and Gabriel but not always with Ethan. This doctor acted the exact same way with Ethan as she did with Summer. She interacted with him, let him choose what part of the body to look at next, and she really listened to both of us. When I told her some of the things that doctors have said in a 5-minute appointment, she was astounded.
She clearly did not agree with some of the medical advice that we have been given. She does believe that he has Sensory Processing Disorder, major allergies, and a reflux flare-up. She thinks that the reason that he has been struggling so much lately is because he has terrible allergies, resulting in terrible drainage, which is therefore resulting in a major reflux flare-up. Within 24-hours of taking her medical advice, Ethan’s eyes were clearer, he was not throwing up, and he had a fantastic day at school. We are thrilled that our little guy is feeling so much better!
Speaking of school…the day after his appointment with the doctor, he did his own work in his general education classroom. He is in general ed about 75% of the time and special ed about 25% of the time. He usually requires help with his work, especially in general ed because it is more advanced than his skill set. But, not on Tuesday. On Tuesday, they studied butterflies, and Ethan was able to draw his lines from the words to the pictures. His teachers were so proud of his work that they immediately sent it home for me to see. Thank you, Lauren and Cynthia!
To end the week, he had reading buddies with his brother. He was beyond excited. It was a little hard for him to set still and listen to the reading…because….having his big brother in class with him was, well, probably one of the best parts of his whole week. As always, Gabriel was great with him. Those two love each other so much, and watching them read together warmed my heart in amazing, incredible ways.
Ethan has continued to gain some communication skills – both in a verbal and in a non-verbal way. He often speaks with one words or sounds. But, sometimes he surprises us with his 2-3 word phrases - “Papa home” or “Need help, Momma”. Other times, he tries to tell very complicated stories, but not much of it makes sense. But, the big thing is that he is trying so hard to make sure that everyone understands him. Our sweet Assistant Principal stopped me at school yesterday to tell me how great Ethan was doing in class and how verbal he is becoming. Then, his former Speech Therapist stopped me to tell me how she was going over everything with his new Speech Therapist, and they were both amazed at how far he has come in two years. They, like us, know that we have to measure everything in baby steps. But, oh, those baby steps are amazingly awesome. Since we are with Ethan every day, sometimes we notice the small verbal/communication gains immediately, and sometimes they probably are not as noticeable to us as they are to people who are not around him as often. So, when people take the time out of their very busy schedules to brag on our boy, well, let me just say, they earn a hugely special place in my heart. Thank you, Cynthia and Nicole. You guys rock “Team Ethan”, and I appreciate it so much!
I have always intended for this blog to chronicle our eating journey and to be a journal for me about our cooking, family life, and Ethan’s progress. I have also always wanted to be honest about everything that we have discovered with food for our family. So, in the interest of full disclosure, we have decided that we will be gluten and dairy free for the majority of our week – likely Sunday through Thursday. But, we are allowing some gluten and very little dairy into our diet on Fridays and Saturdays. The doctor had always said that we could re-introduce foods after 3 months (we made it just over 2) and that Ethan would likely have a severe, immediate reaction if he had major sensitivities. Luckily, he has not had any reactions. I believe that eating too many of the gluten free treats, because they have so many different flours and starches in them, was causing Ethan, myself, and to a certain extent, Summer, to be a little ill. We all had different symptoms. I do believe that balance is a key to all things. So, we will continue to try to make good, healthy choices for our meals. However, when we have pizza night and dessert treats on the weekend, we will be using gluten flours. Luckily, though, not all treats require flour, so we will be able to continue to enjoy them, as well. I am looking so forward to making these cookies (gluten free oats, not flour) and these brownies (no flour). And, I know that I will continue to find more treats, such as this snack mix, that do not require flour. As with everything, we are still just experimenting and trying to determine what works best for us. And, that is what I would encourage everyone to do. Listen to your body, listen to your children, and find a balance that works for you. I plan to do more of that as I continue to make the best decisions for my family, while cooking for my kids.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring about Ethan’s progress. And, thank you for being so encouraging as we continue this food journey….one day at a time.