Monday, September 26, 2011

Wide Open Spaces

The pace of my blogging continues to gravitate toward a more widely-spaced output. The to-do list feels long. I keep hoping that I'll move into a good rhythm with the school year -- maybe I just haven't gotten there yet.

Joy got a brand-new wide-open space herself a week ago at school... she's now missing a front-tooth! It's been quite a while since the bottom two came out, almost a year now, so I guess we're due. This one came home a day later than it actually came out. In fact, the news came a day late too! The tooth had disappeared right at the end of a rougher-than-normal day, after Joy's school staff had already filled out her daily log, and it got missed in the brief verbal "how was her day" as well. Her SEA had not been back in the building a minute before I noticed that gaping new hole!

I figured she had maybe swallowed the tooth, and was giving her staff enough of a run for their money that it had maybe gone unnoticed, seeing as how she wouldn't have made a fuss about it... but Tuesday morning we got a belated tooth-loss report as soon as we came in the school door, words-tumbling-over-one-another apologetic! And then by the time I picked her up Tuesday afternoon, the missing tooth had been found as well, and was stowed in a little plastic treasure chest in her backpack.

Doesn't that look like a first-grade smile, though?

The other wide-open space we've been dealing with lately is one that dates back to the beginning of the summer, when we starting having another bout of hair-pulling-out. Over the course of a week or two, Joy managed to create a noticeable totally-bald patch along her nevus-removal scar, even after I gave her a short haircut to make the hair harder to grab. This time I opted not to go the full buzz-cut route, planning to even things up through future haircuts.

But before we got as far as haircutting, another space-within-a-space opened up. I think it might have started as a mosquito bite right on the scalp-scar, that Joy scratched open the way she generally does with mosquito bites. Long after the summer bites on her legs healed, the one on her head was still open. For a while she semeed to be scratching it for stimmy-delight, then it turned into a self-injury frustration lash-out thing. (What, I can't get through that forbidden door? Well, SCRATCH MY SCAR!)

Scratch after scratch, the start of the school year was approaching and the wound was getting bigger instead of smaller. Complicating the matter was our long-standing experience that band-aids only draw further attention to any boo-boo, by encouraging picking. So we knew that putting on a band-aid would just make things worse.

Except -- the other thing that we might have remembered is that Joy's mixer-board switches do tend to flip between settings, from time to time. After a few days of school and a Labor Day weekend full of scab-scratches, I finally decided that trying a band-aid couldn't be any worse.

She left it on for a couple of days. Long enough to begin a cycle of some healing... it's been three steps forward, two steps back since then, including a resumption of unwillingness to wear the band-aid, but we've been making progress. Perhaps by the time the hair grows back, the wide-open space will have closed again for good!


Anonymous said...

Does she wear hats - I ferget.

I was trying form a unique bandage in my head, but I doubt Coban under her chin would suit either.

Would an ointment be a deterrent? Maybe not.

Her smile is definitely cute!

JoyMama said...

Hats -- not really, other than under a hood when we go outside in the cold-cold Wisconsin winter.

We tried hoods back when we had the first round of hair-pulling, but they would have had to stay on ALL the time.

The dilemma reminds me a little bit of a dieter's dilemma. You can be "good" with your eating ALL DAY, and then blow your entire day's worth of work with an ice-cream gorge just before bed. Similarly, maybe Joy keeps her hands off of the wound ALL DAY but all it takes is one effective scratch/pick at that scab and it's wide-open again.

Things are still getting better gradually... that may just be how it will have to go.