4/8/09

Planning for Eli

We've been doing some planning here lately about how to set up our new house on Fort Belvoir to make it more comfortable and practical for Eli. And it seems so ironic to me...before I had children I had this view of parenting and how things were going to go in my home. Well, all that has flown right out the window. My children were going to fall in line with Norman's and my lifestyle, we weren't going to spoil them with dedicated playrooms and go out of our way to over-do our house with "stuff". Sounds good...right?

So our original plan for our house, since it is a 4 bedroom, was to have the boys each have a room upstairs and then Norman's and my room, and then use the smaller bedroom downstairs as the guest bedroom. I am weird in the way that we don't have an enormous number of guests, but I like to have a guestroom ready and waiting for the times that we do have guests. It just makes me feel like a good hostess that way.

But throughout our family meetings with Eli's therapist and everything that I am learning specifically about Eli, I have come to realize that although that is a practical setup for most people, it just isn't going to work for us at this point.

Eli gets overwhelmed very easily. But the way he handles it, you don't really "get" that he is overwhelmed, you would just think he's acting out and misbehaving. "Busy" rooms get him worked up, and it is just impossible for him to settle down and be comfortable. Sort of like if you had to sit in a room that was painted an annoying shade of bright orange and listen to music that hurt your ears all the time...that is about the same effect that busy rooms with lots of toys and decorations have on Eli.

One of the things that has really been pressed upon us is that Eli's room needs to be free of clutter to be a place of comfort for him. Well, that threw a kink in my plans because his toys were supposed to be stored in his room if we were to have a guest room. So bottom line is that the guestroom just isn't going to work. We have to have that room set up as a playroom, and not only that, but we need to set it up in a certain way. He does better when he is limited to his toy choices. When he has too many choices it upsets him, and he gets so overwhelmed that it always ends in tears and he gets really upset. So we have to approach the toyroom at home like they do there where Eli is...cabinets that can be locked with no glass doors to see through so that his choice of what to play with is simpler...easier for him. That part isn't hard; we have a big white cabinet that we can use for that purpose, so really the hardest part was deciding to do away with the dedicated guestroom.

I also realize the importance of specific toys that Eli needs. Weighted toys (like weighted lap pads), squishy toys that can be used as stress toys, as well as different textured, different colored things and puzzle type things that help work his mind a bit. I've started looking up some different stores, and my goal is to have a "sensory basket" like they do have in Texas where he is. That will be out all the time, and he can always have access to it.

So now that the decision has been made to do this, I am getting excited about it. We will just have to set the guest bed up in the room when we need it, and take it down the rest of the time to have it work. I refuse to let guests come and NOT have a place for them to sleep...it's just not an option. So it will work. So for our friends - you will have a bed and a room for you, it just won't be set up for the rest of the 360 days of the year that you aren't visiting ;).

Okay, I need to go; Chase has turned into a little stinkbomb that needs changing. :) Ciao!

3 comments:

Ally said...

We're learning the same lesson, but for different reasons. Our houses may not be set up the way others would do it, but we have to do what works best for us and our families at the time.

What about an option of a pull out Sofa you could put in the play room? You and Norman would have a place to sit in there with them while they played, and when guests come over they could pull it out into a bed. Just an idea.
Personally I like the idea of a separate playroom to make their rooms less cluttered, and also of having that playroom still be kept more organized by having the majority of the stuff in a cabinet. It'll be easier to make it more of a relaxing/lounging room as well. You guys could even make the playroom like a loungy/relaxing room for you all with the couch and maybe some soft music and a big furry (sensory!!) rug.

Ohh...fun! lol

Baloney said...

Aaahhhh... the joys. Fortunately for me, Michael is not so easily overwhelmed by clutter. Simple is still better for him, though.
This isn't how I thought I would parent.
These are also not your average kids.
It all requires a mindshift.

The Khans said...

I think all of your guests would totally understand. Do what is best for your family first and as long as there is a floor to rest a head and you are opening your doors, people will come. You are so sweet. Hopefully we will get to meet up again one of these days.