Monday, February 8, 2010

Getting Dressed

There are some things about the script for dressing a toddler that are fairly standard: "come back here, you naked monkey!", "No silly, that's not a hat, that's your shoe! Shoes don't go on your head!", "Where are your toes? There they are! Let's put a sock on those wiggly toes!"

While my script has all of those elements (especially about silly hats--EVERYTHING goes on her head first--pants, shoes, diaper--except for gloves, which go on her feet!), we do have some unique variations.

First of all, my toddler is now 4 feet tall, and weighs 50 pounds. I never had visible (or even useful!) arm muscles--but she has changed that! I have quite the "gun show" going, now!

The routine for dressing her goes like this:
Unzip the top of her specially made, escape-resistant jammies, but only down to the tape around her waist. Take out her left arm. Attempt to pin her right arm under my leg. Cut the tapes around her jammie sleeve (one at the wrist, one at the bicep), take out her arm, cut the tape off her night glove (which is not only dirty, but probably has at least one fingertip chewed off--a new development that I HATE!), make sure any open wounds are covered with A) Neosporin, B) A High-end, latex free bandaid, C) Several layers of medical tape. Then put on a new glove and tape it around her wrist.

Wow, that sounds tidy, when it is written down like that! The part that throws off reality, is that while I am trying to apply all of those things, SmallGirl is insistently trying to remove them (and she is faster and sneakier than I am!).

As soon as I have her glove on, I slide her (long sleeved) shirt over her head and put her arm in, then tape the sleeve down at the wrist and just over the wrist. Two layers of tape, going in opposite directions, to make it harder for her to peel off.
Repeat for right arm.
Tape her shirt around the waist. Cut the tape off the waist of her jammies and unzip the rest of the way. Change her diaper, trying to keep her from picking any leg wounds (there are ALWAYS leg wounds!). The second she is in a fresh diaper and liner, a pair of stretch knit pants are pulled on and taped around each ankle. I am deeply grateful that we finally got both ankles healed up, because they are the hardest wounds to deal with. Then, pull on a sock and tape it around the ankle. Repeat for the other leg. Then pull on her overalls and tape them around the ankles. Twice. Pull up the overalls and fasten them. Button the sides and pull any loose fabric to the back, then apply tape around her waist and chest (at least 3 times around).
Whew! Now you can put shoes on. And attempt to brush her hair (which reminds me, I have to schedule a haircut for her, she got nail polish in it last night).

All of this because with all of the exotic Latin and Greek based, long words that describe the conditions that affect her life (oral apraxia, hypotonia, epilepsy, developmental delay) the one that really affects every minute is CSP--"Compulsive Skin Picking". Related to Compulsive Hair Pulling. Not fun to live with.

The first time I asked a doctor about it the dialogue went like this:
Me: "she picks compulsively, even in her sleep. If you hold her hands, she will move her elbow or knee up, so she can still reach it."
Doctor: "Have you tried Band-Aids?"


We have tried EVERYTHING. From Duct tape (on the outside of her clothes, of course!) to Heavy Duty Anti-Psychotic Meds (NOT GOOD).
So far, the best option is cellophane tape. After having tried every variety, by every company, I can conclusively state that for this purpose the very best tape is the cheapest type Wal-Mart sells. (Which I am very glad about!--I buy 12 or 15 rolls at a time. You should see the checker's faces. And I get a lot of comments about "you must wrap a lot of gifts!).

This blog entry sounds pretty whiney and self pitying, but it isn't. I am feeling very blessed to have her in my life. She is SO funny. She was so cute this morning. I am glad to have scotch tape invented (I just LOVE whoever invented that stuff!) and to have clothes available so easily (she is unbelievably hard on clothes. The tape wears out the cuffs in no time at all.) I love that I only have to sew her jammies, and not every single thing she wears. I love being her mommy.

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