More Changes for the Big Guy

The big guy is facing some changes around his vision and speech therapy. I’m trying to figure out how to prepare him for potential bullies.

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We went and selected glasses for the big guy on Saturday and he was so excited. We went in thinking we were going to be spending a lot less than we were especially with a 2 for 1 deal, but my big guy needs special lenses because his prescription is so strong for his astigmatism causing bilateral refractive amblyopia. His glasses are covered for 12 months for accidental damage, but it takes 10 days to get a replacement so we bought a backup pair with the heavier lenses.

We discovered his private SPL-T is leaving the location she is at due to her commute. I’m very disappointed because he just changed his SPL-T and SPL-TA at school a couple of months ago on short notice and school is ending so he is also losing that support. We are supposed to discuss setting up observation times for the new therapist when we go in to speech this afternoon.

The good news is that he is so excited about his glasses. His momma wears them and one of his friends also wear them so he thinks it’s kind of cool. His dad really needs glasses too, but they messed up his prescription and we can’t afford to buy a new pair out of pocket. Anyway, he is excited and he is looking forward to looking cool and being able to see.

The bad news is that I’m getting some flack about the fact that he’s going to wear glasses. I have been told to wait until he wears them in school and see if he still likes them then. First off, my kid who has a speech issue is loved by the kids in class. They even translate for him when the teachers don’t understand that he wants the black marker and not the blue marker. These kids aren’t going to suddenly stop being friends because he gets glasses. One of his friends even has glasses now.

Second, the kid cannot bead a string because he can’t see. He’s overly cautious on steps because he can’t see. There are things he just can’t do that preschoolers are supposed to be able to do because he can’t see and everyone thinks that glasses will open a new world to him. They believe that once he gets the glasses the whole world will open to him because everything will be so much clearer.

Potential Bullies…..Already?

I am wondering if my sensitivity is a mental illness issue or a mama bear thing. My son is in preschool and I am being told he isn’t going to like going to school because he’s going to get bullied because of his glasses.

The big issue is now I am truly concerned about it. I’m wondering how to talk to him about bullying and what to do if he his being bullied. I guess I would try to start from his perspective and I think it would be super important to validate what he’s feeling and experiencing. I want him to know that if something is being done or said that upsets him, it’s OK to feel angry or sad. I want him to know feelings are natural and a part of life.

I want him to know it’s not OK for others to be mean or cruel nor is it OK for him to be cruel. I want him to know that he should tell someone what happened that has made him upset. I don’t want him to think that he must hold these things in because it will make things worse because we want to help him to make things better for him. I also want him to know that we love him the way that he is and we want him to continue to be the sweet caring boy that he is and treat others kindly. I would also want him to know his momma and daddy will do whatever we can to find a way to discuss this with school and improve his environment.

Another thing I would want to talk to him about is how to handle those emotions. He and I have been working on deep breathing to settle when he is very upset. This has been extremely important and beneficial because there are times when he is crying so hard that I cannot understand the words that he is saying. The breathing has helped calm him enough to speak and express his feelings. We cannot help the situation if we cannot find out what the problem is.

think it will also be beneficial for him to find other ways of self soothing when he is hurting. I don’t have a solution for that as of yet. I know holding one of his toys is beneficial, but his toy doesn’t go everywhere and I’m not sure that would help in the long-term. I suppose I have time to figure out some other things to help him.

I guess these are the joys of parenting these days.

 

Child Vision Problems and Mommy Guilt

My four year old has vision problems. We learned of them a few months ago and saw an optometrist who determined that he has bilateral refractive amblyopia or, in simple terms, two lazy eyes. The optometrist and I both felt that he saw well enough to go without glasses for a year just because 4 year olds are rough on glasses and because it wasn’t having a major impact on his life. The optometrist said we really have until 7 to fix the problem as his goal is to teach his brain how to see.

Enter today’s bombshell….

His vision is impacting his fine motor skills which is being seen at school. He’s in preschool and he cannot bead a string.

So he has to get glasses.

The doctor’s office is mailing the prescription based on our visit 2 weeks ago where they determined that he has a significant astigmatism in both eyes. Unfortunately, this is genetic as I also have astigmatism and I wear glasses. My husband has astigmatism as well and he wears glasses for the computer.

The good news that hopefully he won’t need them older and that his brain will learn to see based on the messages his eyes send. I’m not quite sure how it works, but I have done some reading so I do believe the optometrist.

Now I’m laying the guilt on myself.

I’m feeling guilty about the problems my four year old has between speech and now his vision. I don’t want to get any flack for this, but my doctors kept me on medication while I was pregnant with him. I had just gone through an 8 day inpatient stay 3-4 months before I got pregnant and they all thought that it was better for the baby that I be stable versus depressed as the risk of depression in pregnancy was higher than that of the medications that I was on. I saw perinatal psychiatrists and regular psychiatrists. I was in therapy 3 times a week. I was the most stable I had been for a really long time.

Now, logically I know that my husband had a speech problem as a young child so that is likely genetic. It has nothing to do with my medication. The kid is a chatterbox, but he’s difficult to understand.

Again, my husband and I both have astigmatisms and the optometrist told me it was genetic in my kiddo’s case. That means, again, that it had nothing to do with the medication that I was on to keep myself and my baby healthy.

In case you didn’t know, there are risks associated with being depressed during pregnancy to both the mother and the baby. One of the biggest is pre-term birth and another is low birth weight.

Here’s an article on it:

Depression in Pregnancy Doubles Risk of Preterm Birth

In the end, in my heart, I know I did what was best for my sons, myself, and my entire family, but every time something comes up or is wrong, I blame the medications. I have to let that go. I have to let that go.

A word of advice for any bipolar mamas.

I do strongly recommend that any pregnant women with bipolar disorder does extensive research about medications and sees the real specialists. My medication regiment was “approved” by both my psychiatrist and a perinatal psychiatrist. The perinatal psychiatrist was up on all the studies on the medications that were taken during the gestational period. She told me the risks, explained the research to me, and even went over what to expect after the baby was born. For example, I now know topamax isn’t safe during pregnancy for sure no questions while lithium is kind of an eh… because it slightly increases the risk of a heart defect that causes a hole in the heart that can be repaired via surgery.

I took neither of those medications. The one thing we knew about my medication is that my medication might cause cleft lip/cleft palate, but the research leaned more toward that being a non-risk factor as only 1 study of several including a long-term registry showed that there an increased risk of cleft palate when compared to the general population.

Oh, and we were also told that there was a chance that the baby may cry a lot the first few days and that I should get help with the night feedings. For me, it meant no breastfeeding, but again, it’s what I needed to do for myself and my family. A healthy safe loving mom is far more valuable than breast milk. Those boys need their mom and I do whatever I need to in order to be for them always. That includes doing things like taking medication, therapy, and not breastfeeding for me. It may mean different things for others based on their own situations, but that’s mine.