Dar lost his first tooth ever! One of his bottom front teeth loosened before we left for Alaska. It finally, finally came out as our plane landed in San Francisco. Not sure if that counts as losing it “on the trip” or not. Dar did not get a visit from the tooth fairy because he wouldn’t understand, he’s never followed a direction like “look under your pillow,” and in fact he might swallow the coin. Also, I can’t pair this story with a picture of his adorably uneven mouth because he won’t smile like your kid when your kid loses a tooth. Thus, the paragraph you’re reading will stand as the sum total social-media presence of this particular milestone.
I had planned to write a post about movies about autism. In case you hadn’t noticed, there are many movies out right now about autism and disability more generally, including the highest-grossing film of the year at the domestic box office, Finding Dory. But then I found I didn’t have time to see any of the films in question. I went to Finding Dory with my other son, the neuro-typical one. His first movie in theaters ever! We prepped for weeks, watching Finding Nemo repeatedly all the way to the end. He loves it. But…no. The theater was too loud. So we left about thirty minutes into the movie and I can’t write about that because I haven’t seen it.
Meanwhile, Dar is having one of the worst weeks of his life. Don’t read on if you’re looking for more of a rainbows-and-pegasuses kind of blogpost. (Unheralded secret to greatness of Game of Thrones: no pegasuses.) Dar has been unusually fussy and screamy since Sunday. He doesn’t want to be kissed or hugged or sung to or tickled; he wants to stay in his room and whimper. He slams his bedroom door on us with the gusto of a petulant teenager. Times like these, I not-proudly think of parents who complain about their autistic kids and I divide the kids into two categories: the ones who can tell you where it hurts and the ones who cannot tell you where it hurts. We’re in the second group, and right now I very unfairly do NOT want to hear complaints from the first group.
On Monday I ran him to his dentist and doctor. Perhaps the dentist was an off-the-wall call, but we had a play date on Sunday with a kid who’s three months younger than Dar and has already seen most of his adult front teeth come in. And the mom thought that was no big whoop. Dar is late, having lost only one. Dar saw his dentist just before we left for Alaska, and she noted the loose tooth as well as one molar coming in. This week, her colleague proudly informed me of…the exact same molar coming in. I had wondered if perhaps another tooth was coming. Instead I was told that this sort of thing shouldn’t be causing this much pain. I asked if I could get some of that gel that dentists sometimes put on my teeth to numb pain, but I was told that such ointment would quickly become useless. Right, right, uselessness.
There’s no rainbows-and-pegasus way to say this: he won’t eliminate. He hasn’t since Saturday, and it’s now Wednesday. He’s also barely eating. Wifey was worried that Dar had swallowed a rock or coin (perhaps getting his revenge on that whole tooth fairy absence thing?), but we were told that such a thing was exceedingly unlikely. The doctor felt all around his body. Though Dar was generally and screamingly resistant, he never behaved the way you would if someone touched your sensitive/broken area, with a sort of quick start. No fever, no swollen throat, no ear infections, no cough, no sneeze, no signs of other sickness. I asked the doctor, not Dar’s usual pediatrician, about crazy low-percentage possibilities, and he demurred.
Constipation was the tentative diagnosis. What else could it be? So I bought Pedia-Lax and CVS’ version of Pepto-Bismol and injected both into Dar’s throat. Surely I don’t really mean “injected”? Oh surely I do! Dar won’t chew any sort of medicine. He won’t drink it from a cup, sippy or otherwise. He ain’t your easy autistic kid! Dar’s medicine comes, as it always has, from a syringe squirted down his throat. I’ll let you know if that ever changes.
Monday, Dar had his regularly scheduled morning session and afternoon session with therapists. Both ended well before their normal times. Dar was simply too screamy and whiny to get anything done.
Tuesday, an hour before the first therapy, I dumped laxatives and children’s Tylenol and children’s Advil into Dar. And…he made it through both sessions. He wasn’t terrific, but the therapists dialed it down to simple Q&A (for which he mostly uses the iPad), and the days weren’t utterly wasted.
Tuesday afternoon, after waiting for what seemed like forever, we finally heard from Dar’s actual pediatrician. I told her that Dar had never before gone three days without an elimination (I would know, better than most parents of a 6-year-old) and she suggested that we step up our efforts with something called Miralax. Sadly she didn’t mean Miramax; the doc was not prescribing Pulp Fiction and Shakespeare in Love. Cut to an hour later as wifey is calling me from CVS about Miralax not having a child version. Not only that, but after wifey is home I learn that, contrary to what my pediatrician had said, Miralax also doesn’t have recommended doses on the label. So we kinda wing it based on google.
The proper way to end this story would be with a big old stool sample. However, I’m afraid if you want a shitshow you’re going to have watch the Republican National Convention. Instead, as I type these words on Wednesday afternoon, Dar, more like Hillary Clinton, has yet to produce a #2. And it’s been almost four days. Spoke to his main pediatrician again today and she recommended doubling up on the Miralax. The plan is to go to suppositories tomorrow, although that’s a bit of a Plan Z, because Dar does not like anyone going back there in the best of times, and right now is far from those. Aren’t you happy you read this blog?
To my boundless surprise, I found a slight happy ending for you. As I said, he hasn’t been eating, but this morning found him a little more peckish than he’d been. I took a chance and made him a PB&J sandwich for lunch. I made myself one as well, presuming Dar wouldn’t want one with a crust piece. Oddly, when I came to him, he was less into the sandwich I gave him and more into mine with a crust piece. So we switched PB&Js. And we sat in his room munching on them. For a few minutes his screams ended, and he even smiled a few times. I don’t have a photo, just a suggested image of a couple of guys at home in the middle of a sunny Wednesday eatin’ PB&Js. That’ll have to do.