Not McLovinit
Closer to Fine...

In the Meantime We Got it Hard

Noah's occupational therapy has been...not going well. To put it mildly. We've made so little progress -- OT arrives at door, Noah bolts, spends entire session wailing from under the dining room table because he. Does. NOT. Want. To. Ride. On. A. Towel. Christ. Almighty. -- so his therapist suggested moving his sessions to the EI center and enrolling him in a couple structured class-type things.

Today was the first of those structured class-type things. The Lunch Bunch, they call it. For kids with oral motor problems and sensory food issues. On paper, it sounds lovely -- a little circle time, feeding plastic food to a puppet, then setting the table and eating some lunch, cleaning up and a story. Every other week the kids make the lunch; other weeks you bring it from home. One food they like and another they don't, which they will then be encouraged to lick or kiss or even just to TOUCH it while putting it in the clean-up bucket.

So it's a lot of kids who eat crackers and shriek at the sight of lunch meat, basically. Our kind of people.

But...oh God. I don't even know where to begin. There are no words for how badly this class went.

Noah screamed. And screamed. And. Screamed. He screamed when asked to sit on a little chair. He screamed when people sang. He screamed at the puppet and he screamed at the plastic fruit and he screamed at the sink and the plastic plates and his apple slices.

He wept and clung to me and then smashed his head into my face. The little girl next to us was obligingly kissing her ham and the little boy next to her was using a spoon to eat some yogurt and before I could help it, I was sobbing too. Big fat tears that I couldn't stop or hide because hello! I am the biggest failure in this room and I don't know how to make him stop screaming and sit in the chair and my face hurts now and while I am really, really heartbroken over how hard this is for him, JESUS CHRIST, it's a fucking CHAIR that you SIT ON, WHAT THE FUCK.

I wanted to bundle him up and go back to the car, to hug him and tell him he never has to go back.

I also wanted to leave him there and go back to the car and drive far, far away from him and stay there for days.

Instead, we stayed. I pulled myself together and wiped up my mascara smudges while everybody kindly looked the other way.  Noah threw himself down on a mat and screamed some more. We managed to get him to toss his uneaten apple slices in the clean-up bucket, even though the reward for cleaning up (you get to go read a book! and sit on more chairs!) resulted in more screaming.

45 minutes and several burst eardrums later, it was over. Noah was red, sweaty and tear-stained and I was filling out a form that asked me to comment on the day's activities, which ended up being a lot of Not Applicables and HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAs.

We had a one-on-one OT session right after, during which Noah was an angel. Of course. He jumped on a trampoline and rode on a little car and rolled around in a pile of pillows. I sat there and couldn't stop the awkward, shaken crying as I struggled to tell his therapist that really, I swear to God, I'm a good mother. I discipline, he listens to me, we get compliments on his behavior from strangers, he's loved and happy, we just don't have a lot of structure to our days and I've been feeling kind of blue lately and my best mom friend is moving to California in two months and I just found out yesterday and I think I should go back to work but we want another baby but I can't get pregnant but God, I have no business having another baby, 20 minutes ago I was ready to slap the shit out of the one I already have.

(OK, I don't think I quite said all of that out loud. At least I hope I didn't.)

She told me it will get easier. That some kids are just like this, that we'll figure it out and get him used to structure and stimuli and other children breathing his air and daring to sing in his presence. That yes, clearly his sensory problems are affecting his ability to deal with life and chairs, but everyone here understands. They know he's struggling because their kids struggle too. They've all been that mother -- the one with the out-of-control wigged-out Jekyll-and-Hyde child, terrified that everyone is judging you and your bratty kid and why doesn't she DO something to MAKE him stop crying -- and anyway, her point was that it will get easier.  Some day, at some point.

But probably not before next Wednesday at 11:30 am in room C7. See you there. Bring earplugs.



I've been reading your blog forever but have never commented. That was the most honest, real, and heartbreaking post I've read in a long time. I feel for you and want to give you and Noah big cyber hugs. Keep the faith.


YOU have nerves of steel. You do. And you're going back, which proves that you're a dedicated, rockin' mom.

Sending you lots of sanity vibes


((( HUGS )))

Oh, Honey! I'm soooo sorry you and Noah had such a sucktaastic day.

Just know you have all teh internets rooting for you both !!


Aw, I'm sorry it didn't go so well. If it is any consolation, my son was pretty much written off by his pre-school teacher as autistic with massive sensory problems when he was 2 (never mind he was too young to be properly diagnosed as autistic. biatch). Now, he is a straight A second grader who gets high marks in "citzenship". His biggest issues were sensory and it got much better. In fact, now I can't stop him from eating everything. Hang in there!


Only hugs for what must be very frustrating and difficult for both of you.

On a side note, I'm in the same boat with the structure/job/no baby thing and it's such a downer, all of it. I've stopped planning my life around theoretical baby #2, but secretly still hoping one will pop into our future before I have to make the more difficult decisions.


Hey Amy, a little late to the commenting party, but wanted to extend a cyber hug. Hoping you will comment on the going back to work thought sometime soon.

Miss Britt

I'm trying to think what I would want to hear if I was sitting in front of your screen - and what would make me want to scream and cry some more.

I think maybe I'd want someone to tell me:

You're doing a good job. And that's not an empty platitude - it's based on all of the things I've read here and the fact that so many times I read this blog and think "Holy crap I wish I was as good a mother as she is."

This is awful. And it's not fair. And it's not at all what you expected and it doesn't seem like it's ever going to get better.

But you're doing a good job. That boy is ridiculously lucky to have you.


Oh, I've so been there, and I'll bet those other parents all completely understand, too. It is so tough to deal with situations like that, and then deal with your own split personality feelings of wanting to protect and comfort your child but also wanting to run far, far away.

It will get better, and that's what those sessions are for. They know it's not going to go easy at first, and some of those kids have probably been going for months, so they're just a little further down the road than you are.

Katie Kat

Oh sweetie! It's so FUCKING hard to be a good mom. Even when you ARE doing it, you feel like there must be a problem lurking somewhere. Doing the right thing for your child often means you have to make them uncomfortable, and you can't explain why (I know this because we're about to go in for our third round of ear tubes... argh).

Look at his face in that last picture in the snow. That's the face of a child that knows the truly safe place he has is with momma. Yes, that means that's also the safest place for him to melt down (thereby making YOU melt down), but he knows you're in it together.

The struggle will be there no matter what, but I assure you there are rewards coming! And to hell with it - CRY and SCREAM if you have to! Sometimes that's the only way to really get it all out. Then have a little chocolate and a tickle fest with Noah.

You're not alone! We're all here to try and help. :)


I read you all the time and I adore your blog but I never comment because, hello, you have 107 comments here already and do you even read all of them??

But here goes 108 anyway:

My nephew who is now 7 and absolutely perfect was EXACTLY like Noah. To the point where I read your posts and think, wow, they cloned my nephew and Amalah is raising him.

My nephew went through the same therapies that Noah is now going through and there were many tears and lots of is-this-going-to-work moments but, I swear, in the end it was nothing short of a miracle. Really. And I'm an atheist. So that says a lot.

He is mainstreamed in regular school these days and his teachers say he is the brightest and sweetest kid in the class.

Hang in there.


You are incredible because MOTHERHOOD IS NOT FOR SISSIES.
And if you had been in my EI class, no flippin' way would we have let you cry alone. Why didn't they tackle you in a hug/sob fest? Durn East coast types...
We're crying with you, so please keep sharing with us. You, Noah and Jason are so very loved.


Is it possible Noah just has social issues with strange people that want him to do weird things and eat non healthy food?
Or am I reading too much into it?
I have a severely autistic nephew and he exhibits ALL his sensory issues ALL the time and not just with strangers.
I know you haven't used the A word but I know the things you talk about are on the spectrum and similar issues are arising.
Just wanted to say I know you are so frustrated and I do understand your feelings.


On and by my comment I think Noah is far removed from the A word. He doesn't remind me of my nephew in the least is why I said it. I have a friend that has a son like Noah and he went to therapy, sucked at it then went on to outgrow every single thing.


Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry. I would have lost my mind in that classroom if it was me, I think. It will get easier, I'm sure of it. And I'm sorry about your friend moving away, I'm sure that is hard as well. I really hope you catch a break SOON.

Vaguely Urban

You poor thing. Deep down, you know it will get better, don't you? and that will see you through. That, and plenty 'o internet lovies.




O.k. That last comment was *supposed* to be a cyberhug. My heart goes out to you...

Kelly in Colorado

I have an 18 yog, a 17 yog, and a 15 yob. I went into labor with my son when I was only 23 weeks pregnant. We spent 13 weeks trying to keep him in through drugs and several hospital visits. When he was born he had a huge knot in his umbilical chord. We don't know if that is why I went into labor early or if that is why we've had some of the problems with him that we have. He started banging his head as soon as he was able. He developed on schedule except for the fact that he has always been super sensitive to outside stimuli. He was also very attached to me and I could not leave him anywhere before he was 4. He went through two rounds of kindergarten...including giving him drugs the second year, before we brought him home to homeschool him. He was diagnosed OCD and put on medication for that when he was 8. He did not read until he was 9. When he was 10 we felt that all of the medication he was on was causing more problems than it was helping. He also has significant asthma. We took him off everything except the asthma meds. He banged his head from the time he was an infant until he was 11... with it getting less and less as the years went on. It was HARD to get through all of that and I cannot tell you how many times I felt like the world's worst mother. We homeschooled him until the 7th grade. Even though he didn't read until he was 9, he is now in the 9th grade and in honors classes. Even though he has asthma and has to pre-treat, is 5'6" and 120 lbs. he was a starter on his high school football team.

Nowhere in my darkest moments did I ever think that my son would ever be "normal."

Your post was just so heartbreaking for me to read. I wanted to tell you that you are a good mom and you obviously love your son. But I also want to tell you that not every child develops the same way or in the same time frame. I think that there is too much pressure put on parents and kids when their kid doesn't fit in the box. There is no one that knows your child better than you do. You need to trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right to you, trust it! Go to the local library and start going through past parenting books... the information they give changes. The "experts" don't always know what is right.

I just hate to hear when a young mom is going through this kind of turmoil when developmental delays are often just differences that will even out in the end. Hang in there!


Nothing new to add, just repeating what everyone else has said b/c it was my thought, too, as I was reading this: these parents all understand. They're at this group because they have been in the exact same situation, and they're not judging you.

Things really will get better. Obviously I don't know him, but from what I do know, Noah seems like the type of kid who doesn't enjoy unfamiliar situations. Given some time for him to get comfortable being there, you guys will be fine.

And another point that others have made--occasionally wanting to throttle your child is simply a part of being a parent. You're a great mom and you're doing everything in your power to help Noah. Don't beat yourself up over feelings that every parent has from time to time.

Wish I could offer you a hug...


Everything I want to say has been said, so...hugs. Lots and lots of hugs. You're a great mom doing a fantastic job, and even though I don't know you, I'm proud of you.


Amalah, you are doing exactly what a pefect mother should be doing, and you are also reacting exactly the way a pefect mother would be.
And trust me, it's so much easier to work on these sensory issues before he hits elementary school so they can be worked out, etc and he can focus on the academics and social stuff. These early intervention programs work to teach you and your son how to get him in sync, keep him in sync, recognize and prevent and cope. It's not easy. And it's not fair. Most kid don't struggle with learning until they hit school and are taught multiplication or something. Kids with SI struggle to learn earlier. But all this intervention will level the playing field and give them the best opportunities in life.

I wish you could met my son and see where Noah could be in 7 years. We went thru so much of what you are and he's doing soooo well right now. It's work, but it's worth it. And you can have success.

And most professionals in the field arrive here because they have a family member somewhere with needs.


HUGE HUGS to you and Noah. It will get better. I promise.


I wish I could hug you. (I would also like to know why mommies don't get hazard pay yet.)


I often wonder what it would have been like if we'd realized what was up with our first born before he got to middle school. He is almost 24 now and at the time they weren't really whisking toddlers off for testing. We did realize he had dyslexia in second grade but the sensory stuff remained largely ignored. Most of his tantrum behavior wound up being blamed on his frustration with learning.
He went to a very relaxed private school where individuality was encouraged so no one batted an eye when he wouldn't keep his shoes on because his socks had "hills", or stay in the building because Brett had tuna and a banana in his lunch box, or would wear nothing but his Spiderman sweat suit every day because it was the only thing on the planet that didn't have "yucky feel". He was mostly a very sweet cheerful little boy and it used to drive me crazy that he could sometimes be so unreasonable about the simplest little things. I felt like the biggest idiot most of the time.
He grew out of most of the idiosyncrasies by high school and is an awesome accomplished guy but it hasn't always been a walk in the park. I wonder if his childhood would have been easier on all of us if we'd figured out that he needed help when he was little.
You love your little guy so much. It's sweet of you to share your thoughts on being his mama through the good and not as good times.


Sounds like you could go for a nice glass of wine and a massage! I'm sorry he's having such a hard time with all these things. Hope next week goes better.


It sounds like the whole thing is stressing the both of you out. I say don't go next week. What's the point? He is not ready to sit in public and listen to a story. Big deal, that is actually fairly normal for his age. My child had sensory issues that he has since grown out of. We just never made a big deal out of the certain things that bothered him and that was that. You say he acts good for you at home and you can read to him and work on the other things slowly. Why the need for such interventions at such a young age? To throw him into a group of strangers and expect him to do x,y & z. I would reccommend checking out, reading the forums and getting some advice there. You are obviously an excellent mom that wants the best for her son. Sometimes the mainstream way is not the only way.


I often wonder what it would have been like if we'd realized what was up with our first born before he got to middle school. He is almost 24 now and at the time they weren't really whisking toddlers off for testing. We did realize he had dyslexia in second grade but the sensory stuff remained largely ignored. Most of his tantrum behavior wound up being blamed on his frustration with learning.
He went to a very relaxed private school where individuality was encouraged so no one batted an eye when he wouldn't keep his shoes on because his socks had "hills", or stay in the building because Brett had tuna and a banana in his lunch box, or would wear nothing but his Spiderman sweat suit every day because it was the only thing on the planet that didn't have "yucky feel". He was mostly a very sweet cheerful little boy and it used to drive me crazy that he could sometimes be so unreasonable about the simplest little things. I felt like the biggest idiot most of the time.
He grew out of most of the idiosyncrasies by high school and is an awesome accomplished guy but it hasn't always been a walk in the park. I wonder if his childhood would have been easier on all of us if we'd figured out that he needed help when he was little.
You love your little guy so much. It's sweet of you to share your thoughts on being his mama through the good and not as good times.

a different Kate

I hope you did say all of those things out loud. We women, we need to let it out. It helps us deal with it all – it's all connected.

You get help and it gets better. The voyage may not be fun, but you're aiming for the destination. Congratulations to you for trying to help him and congratulations to him for having a Mommy willing to persevere.


As my Mom used to tell me when I came out of the school crying, feeling like the worst mother ever because my son was not progessing or making friends (he has Asperger's), "This, too, shall pass." And she was right. :) My son is 8 and it's still hard, but I couldn't love him more if I tried. Noah will be fine.


Oh honey (I hope it's not rude to presume to say that) I really, Really DO know where you are. Those folks really aren't judging you (I'm pretty sure they think you're a great parent). I've broken down more than once at an EI classroom. It is really important to keep going, because your little one really will learn how to cope. Now that mine is in kindergarten I am extremely grateful for all the EI stuff that we went through. It's a sucky road to travel, no doubt about it, But you're doing the right thing, and feeling depressed and unhappy and upset with your child are completely normal and expected feelings.

Amy H

the people who don't care about their babies are not the ones in room C7. You are doing a great job. In a few years you will look back at this time and laugh.


Dude, can I tell you how I am 0-for-2 in serious medical issues with my children? First, my daughter couldn't hear for who-knows-how-long and NOW, I find out that, after an entire year of my griping at my 8-year-old for not paying attention, he actually has juvenile absence EPILEPSY and I'm wondering what in the fuck I did that's so bad that my children have to suffer.

And I missed my son's Christmas play today.

So I totally know what you're feeling. Hugs.


i can send you some of my ativan. will that help at all?

i'm sorry you guys are struggling, and i'm hoping that it helps at least a tiny bit to k now that you have so many people thinking about you.

i pointed your blog out to a newly pregnant friend of mine, and yesterday she sent me an email that contained the phrase "wow. she's a really good mom."

i think she was right.
hopefully you do, too.


trust me. every single mom in that room has been where you are right now. i was there friday. and have been there on numerous other times. believe it or does get easier..or you get used to it. i'm not really sure which...


I'm a long time reader and reading about your family makes my heart happy.

I know that Noah's issues seem huge right now, but you WILL work through them. And. you know what? Even if you can't he is still a perfect kid with a great smile (and some great hair!) who is happy. And that's what we want most for our kids, right?

And you, my dear, just need some downtime. Get a babysitter and spend a whole afternoon doing what YOU want to. Watch a movie or read a book or sip wine or coffee. For me, nothing seems so bad after an afternoon at Barnes and Noble with a trashy book, cheesecake, and a peppermint mocha :)


I know this is an echo of about 200 comments or so. Every Mom there understood and if I had been there with you I'd probably would be crying too out of empathy. Anyone's child can go from angel to spaztastic in a blink, both of mine have done so in very public places. My Mom keeps reminding me that "normal" is a setting on a dryer - not a child or person. Her point and mine - be kind to yourself - all kids do similar things.

Angelina Ballerina

Heh, it's weird how different perspectives work.

I think you already know deep down you're an excellent mother. Sometimes kids play up, sometimes they need extra attention and sometimes you really just need to give them to someone else for a bit.

I'm pregnant with my first child. I don't want to be pregnant, far from it... and I have a zillion insecurities about MY parenting skills. (Is it bad I would prefer to spend my last $10 on lipgloss rather than diapers?! -- of course I wouldn't actually do it). I don't think.

Anyway, I just hope that I can be as good a mother as you.
And in a totally non creepy way... I'm envious my child doesn't have a mother like you, because you're totally what I would want for my kid... you can rise to such situations and come out the other side whole and accomplished.


You're an awesome mother because you had him there. Other moms wouldn't have bothered at all, or would have bailed when the shit hit the fan. Your sticktoitivness is what makes you an excellent mom. It's not always fun and games, but those times are what makes it ALL worth while!
BIG HUGS to you!


Thank you for writing this. Just, thank you. You're not alone and you are coping so, so well.


Your post brought me to tears today - I have the same issues with my son and omg - the guilt I feel sometimes for wanting to run the other way. I admire you - it's so hard yet you are dealing with it head on - you're an awesome mom, doing what you do best.


Nothing to say here, assvice or otherwise, except we love and support you. You are doing such good things with Noah - laying the foundation for the spectacular full-blown version this amazing little guy will become.


Must be something going 'round, because I had one of those days today.

I HATE being the "Bad Mother."

I am glad you have a group where there are mothers there that understand. Camaraderie is everything.


I wish I could make you a cup of tea and give you a hug.


Just adding my voice to the chorus: we all have days like this. It will get better.

You probably will laugh about this one day.

Noah is a lucky boy.


Hi I am a sped teacher and wanted to let you know you can email if you want any ideas for structuring things that are easy. But also wanted to comment to say Ugh! how incredibly draining, having days or even 5-10 minutes like that to me is the equivalent of going to the gym for an hour. exhausting. I would never presume to be one of those annoying "you need to..." people that seem to track me down and chase me around as I walk away from them. In my opinion the only thing you need to do is pour yourself a glass of wine. But just to put it on the table, I love sharing experiences and ideas about all my little sensory need kiddos.


I'm so sorry. :( Hugs........ :)


amy, i'm so sorry. I can tell you that it will get better and he will start to turn over a leaf. And if not you'll learn to deal with things. i've mentioned before in your comments, my brother Austin is high functioning autistic. Even at 16 each day is different but the highs are so high and at some point either he'll turn around or you'll just learn his quirks and not what to do. for instance my brother still won't eat anything with a face. not. at. all. still results in ripping the head off and throwing away. Best of luck & i'm sure it will get better.

Suzy Q

I'm not a mom and so have no real personal experience with this. But, my heart breaks for you.

After reading what you and other mothers have written about their kids, I try to be as non-judgy as possible when encountering kid meltdowns in public. It can't be easy.


wow, amy. this makes my heart go out to you and noah, but some day you will all make it through this.

you're amazing for doing all you can. that's the best noah could hope for, a mom who will battle for him no matter what.


There should be a special medal or a special place for mothers like you.
I'm sure there is, I just wish I knew where, and what it was called.


Girl, you STAYED. THAT is quite an accomplishment. I am truly in awe.

You really deserve a mom medal.

Jenny H.


I am just sending you my best thing. My love and blah-blah-blippity-blah-blah...

It is that, or a whole big-ass case of wine.

You pick!



one day you will look back at all of this and think, fuck, that was hard.

And with that will come the realisation that, damn, I'm a HELLUVA MUM!!!

It will happen.

You'll see.


You are an amazing mom and things will get better with Noah and the therapy--just look how far you've come from just "aball" to all the words and signs he is using today.

As for the behbeh, one way or another it too will happen. Who knows when--I've been down that road as it took 3 yrs to conceive my son and there's no amount of relaxation or monitoring or any other bullshit that guarantees results. But you guys are damn amazing parents and so one way or another it must happen.

I wish I could say or do more to let you know how amazing we all think you are as a mother, and how much I've been in the trenches where you are (too long a story)--but just know I'm sending hugs your way.


Okay. I've now read this three times and it's made me cry every time. I love my eight-year-old son so much, but six years ago that was us! Except not in therapy, because every time I'd say, "there's something wrong with that child," his loving family would leap in to poopoo the very suggestion and assure me that I was a nervous first time mom. It will get so much easier, so much faster because you are taking him to scream at chairs and books. Promise.


I just wanted to say that I really get you here. Some days are so hard ... and all we keep doing is putting on the smiles and saying this is great, this is wonderful, blah, blah, blah.

I, personally, hit the wall today. I'm just tired. So tired, in fact, I'm thinking of quitting my blog. Yeah ... it's that bad. Anyway, hang in there. They do grow up and move out, right? It fucking has to be better then.


This post got me in the gut. I think the OT lady is right, and it does eventually get better to the point of being OK. But that's really hard to believe when you're in the middle of it all, and although my "all" is not exactly the same as yours (tying up the educational and psych testing for the 9yo, so that we can start for the 6.5 yo, and wondering whether we ought to be doing something for the 4.5yo, who exhibits what may be some OCD tendencies in addition to being really extraordinarily stubborn), I can totally understand the mire of having some huge "IT" about your child while trying to also face the rest of daily life. And I hope that well-meaning remarks don't have the opposite effect (which they do with me, all too often). Last night my husband made an off hand remark about getting the impression that the school thought we weren't taking Princess' issues and testing needs seriously enough, since it has taken me longer than everyone wants to get the paperwork done and the appointments made and all. And I spun back into my own miasma of...whatever.

I have a happy hour at a restaurant on Rockville Pike next Friday with some work folks. You're welcome to come join us.

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