Lamb 2 is in vision therapy now. I wanted to take a few days to blog about his journey so far.
In April of 2013 Lamb 2 developed a rash on his body, especially his back. We took him to see our family doctor and wouldn't you know when we took him in he didn't have a rash. Some days he had a rash and some days he didn't. We tried eliminating some foods from his diet, probably the most difficult one for him was no strawberries. We changed to free and clear laundry soap. We made sure he only used Burts Bees soap. We took him to an allergist and they couldn't find that he was allergic to anything. We put lotion on him every night and made him take a shower every morning. We still don't know what causes his rash, but it seems to be less when he has low gluten and dairy diet, uses free and clear laundry soap, and takes a shower almost every day. We also began putting coconut oil on his back every night and this is what helped the most. He is still on a low gluten and low dairy diet, but we haven't eliminated all gluten and dairy for him.
While we were experimenting with different foods and trying to figure out his rash, my parents came to visit for 3 weeks in July. My parents almost went home early because they couldn't take Lamb 2's behavior- tantrums, being loud, and meltdowns. I was so embarrassed as the parent of a child with that bad behavior. We did have a busy schedule while they visited-we went to visit Ram's parents, Lamb 2 had a week of sports camp each morning and then a week of all day VBS. He simply could not tolerate this change of routine. I thought it was a combination of his rash and not enough sleep with his busy schedule.
My parents went home and we worked really hard to get on a routine especially of going to bed on time each night. The rest of the summer was difficult to try to stay on a routine in the summer, but Lamb 2 seemed to be fine when we stuck to our routine.
Then the end of August Lamb 2 had a tantrum during church. It was a pastor's wife nightmare that one of their children would behave like this during church. I'll spare you the details but I took him out for most of the service. I was torn between feeling that it was my fault (as a parent I should have control over my children during church) and knowing that I couldn't have done much differently-he was the one that chose to have the tantrum, I didn't do anything that would cause him to have a tantrum (it wasn't like I told him during the service that he was going to have a punishment).
When we got home from church I e-mailed the other Loopers and asked for their advice knowing that many of them are also pastor wives. It was difficult to ask for help because Lamb 2 is 7 years old-it's not like he's having a 2 year old tantrum. Several Loopers e-mailed me both on Loopers and offlist and reassured me that I'm not the only one that has had problems with their children during church. They also gave me some great advice.
1. They encouraged me to make sure Lamb 2 had enough protein before church. When I asked Lamb 2 why he had a tantrum in church, his answer was that he was hungry. So I began asking him what he wanted for breakfast. He answered that he wanted 4 eggs. He ate those 4 eggs plus fruit and other breakfast foods! I simply wasn't feeding him enough before church, never dreaming that a 7 year old would NEED 4 eggs for breakfast. On mornings that he has therapy or church I make him eggs for breakfast. The other mornings he is allowed to have oatmeal or quinoa or a lighter breakfast. But on days that he has something important, he eats eggs. This has helped tremendously.
2. This one is sort of a combination of what several Loopers told me and I made it work for us. When Lamb 2 asks to go to the bathroom during church I now let him go even if it ends up being 3 or 4 times during the 1 hour church service. I know that he is not going to the bathroom all those times. But he simply NEEDS to get up and walk around. Just knowing that he is allowed this, he usually goes once or twice during a service now. When I limited him on bathroom trips because I knew he didn't need to go that often he felt "trapped". This may not work for all families, but this has worked for us. For me it is worth the distraction of him going twice in order to not have a meltdown. He goes quietly and I'm sure most of our members don't even realize he is going twice during a service. We no longer have arguing during the service over whether he really needs to go to the bathroom and how long he needs to wait before going. We will not continue this forever, this is a temporary solution.
3. The last advice ended up being the best. A Looper reminded me that I should make sure there wasn't a medical problem before punishing Lamb 2 for bad church behavior. I will discuss what happened when we pursued this tomorrow.