Misty Pony Girl

Last week when we arrived at Ace’s OT, we were saying “Hi” to the horses in the yard and Misty (the horse Ace rides when he goes solo) wasn’t there.  She’s usually out with a kid, so we said “Hi” to Willy and Sage and headed in.

When I got to the door, I saw a little collage of photos of Misty, and it said, “Misty Pony Girl” on it.  It was cute.

And then I noticed the dates.  July 31, 1990 – September 4, 2009.

We had just been to OT the week before on September 3rd, and Misty was there and working.  But when we got inside, I saw Misty’s name had been erased from the schedule,so I knew something had happened.

She had a thyroid problem and wasn’t to eat too much grass because of it.  Apparently, she also had a tumor, that was believed to be slow-growing.  But on Friday, after having worked Thursday, she was found unable to stand so they took her to the vet, where an X-Ray showed that the tumor had increased dramatically in size and was affecting her ability to function.  Surgery was an option, but the outlook was grim and Misty’s owner opted to have her put down.  I know it was not a decision made lightly, as S loves her horses dearly and if there were any hope for Misty, she’d have done whatever it took to help her.

The hard part for Ace is not that Misty has passed — he doesn’t really “get” that — but the fact that he is terrified of animals.  He had gotten used to Misty and loved her and would ride her (with some persuasion required to get him on her) but he is scared to death of other horses.  Even Sage, who we rode together last week, he was afraid of.  Sage came up to us and Ace was trying to climb over me to hide behind me and was whimpering about having to ride.  Once he’s on with me, he does OK, though, so that’s good.  But now we are going to have to get him used to a new horse.  Sounds like he’ll be riding Peaches when Peaches is ready and Ace goes solo again.

His therapy is going well.  He’s very, very sensitive and is prone to tantrums, though.  The littlest things set him off.  A friend of mine once said to me that her son (who has Asperger’s Syndrome) can be set into a tantrum if the wind is blowing in the wrong direction on Jupiter, and sometimes, I feel that way about Ace.  Goodness forbid I present him with the wrong color sippy cup, or offer him a fork when he wanted a spoon.  And things that scare him are just as bad.  For example, he and Nate were waiting excitedly on the front porch for Calista to come home from school on the bus.  They had yet to see her come home on the bus, so they were on the front porch saying, “Sissy!  Bus!  Bus!” and looking up and down the street for the bus.  When the bus passed, Ace freaked out — I guess it was bigger and louder than he expected.  He ran into the house and didn’t want to come back out.

He’s also very reluctant to try new things.  Animals are a good example.  He is afraid of them, but if we can get him close to one, force him to look at it, touch it, and see that it’s OK, he will be all right.  But getting him there is the hard part.  The first time we rode a horse at therapy, he was yelling, “NO!  NO!  DONE!” before he got near the horse, but once we got him on (with me, as I got on first) he was perfectly fine and rode 15 minutes, increasing to a full half-hour on his second try.  However, as I mentioned, getting him used to and liking one situation (riding Misty) doesn’t translate universally (all horses) which can be frustrating as well.

Even more upsetting for me at times is that he outwardly expresses much of what I feel.  I am very resistant to change.  I am very set in the way I like or want things done.  I get frustrated, angry and upset when things are done “wrong” or not the way I intended.  It’s a very deep, emotional response that does not bend to reason.  But I keep it in, and it manifests as me being cold, stand offish or bitchy.  Ace, on the other hand, can just react spontaneously, be it collapsing to the floor or screaming.  And in a way, I wouldn’t mind to be able to react like that.  To have such an immediate release would be so lightening rather than trying to hold it all in and respond “appropriately”.

However, I can’t act like Ace, and I’d like for him to not deal with the frustration and turmoil I face over things that don’t affect people without Sensory and other issues.  I can only hope that therapy helps him along the way.  It has helped in many ways, be it truly helping him by allowing him opportunity to gain the sensory input he seeks or by teaching me way to manage him or help him cope.  I just really hope that somehow,, it “cures” him of the issues I deal with on a sensory and emotional level.

I know I’ve said it before, but one of these days, I will post more details about what I deal with myself, what I am trying to figure out for myself, and where I hope to go from here to better manage it.  It just has to be the “right” time for me to write that post…  and tonight isn’t it.

6 Replies to “Misty Pony Girl”

  1. I totally get Ace. I do. Sometimes I feel SO bad and guilty because we have to literally FORCE Nicholas through a situation (kicking, screaming, tantrumming) for him to see that it’s ok. I’m sure other parents think we are torturing him or are horrible parents, because he’s so obviously doing something against his will – but once he gets through the first step and still feels safe and realizes it’s going to be ok, he settles and is fine with it.

    And this “I am very set in the way I like or want things done. I get frustrated, angry and upset when things are done “wrong” or not the way I intended. It’s a very deep, emotional response that does not bend to reason. But I keep it in, and it manifests as me being cold, stand offish or bitchy. ” – is also exactly how I am. ((hug))

    1. Thanks, Gwen. I wish you lived closer… I think we’d be good buddies. Not that we aren’t, of course, but you know what I mean! :)

      BTW, I didn’t realize you changed your blog URL (which you probably did 2 years ago)… I need to add it back to my sidebar.

  2. Wow, some things you said really caught my attention. My son, Logan, has a lot of weird quirks. I never put any of it together as being a sensory thing (and maybe it’s not, but just a regular kid thing). He too has been very afraid of animals and wouldn’t get on a pony until he was 5 years old. Everything has to be a certain way, like if I cut up his waffle and did not leave it in it’s original circle shape a meltdown was sure to happen. He didnt really speak until he was 3 except for a few words. Much of that he has now “outgrown” but we have new issues that can be debilitating at times. He seems to have a huge fear of the unknown, poor self confidence, and if another kid bumps him or is mean, he has a BIG meltdown. Then he gets picked on more.

    I always thought that it was all normal and part of growing up. But I am having major issues with his confidence. I started him in non competitive karate a month ago. He loves it! Then yesterday he found out he will have to recite the “oath” (that is said all together at the beginning and ending of every class), by himself for his first belt test. Now he wont go back. His fear is paralyzing at times. I am hoping he grows out of these issues too (sooner than later!). I always thought it was a confidence thing but after reading your post I can see that it may be more of a true “fear” which may be harder to deal with. Oh life can be really complicated at times!

  3. So many of your examples seem so typical of kids and Ace is still so little…I wish you wouldn’t stress so much. We had the hardest time transitioning Garrett from shoes in the winter to sandles in the summer and vice versa–we often had to force him to do things. He was resistant to change as a little guy, but he is VERY flexible now at almost age 9 and he never had OT–just lots of reassurance from us and family.

    I gotta ask. This is perplexing to me: Why do you take Ace to OT with horses when he doesn’t *like* horses? KWIM? *I* don’t like horses either and I have one living at my house! Horses are NOT harmless–they are huge and can kill someone with a swift (accidental) kick to the head. (One of SIL’s horses kicked her in the butt/hamstring so hard that it left a HUGE bruise and actually fractured her pelvis–the horse gave no warning that she was unhappy in any way either.) I’m not criticizing, I just don’t really understand making him do something that he’s clearly really uncomfortable with–it’s not the same importance as say brushing teeth, bathing, taking medicine when required. And there’s a reasonable difference between being afraid of a large horse and, say,a small cat, for example. ??

    I AM sorry the horse passed away though. :o(

    1. It’s hard to explain, but there are just things that aren’t right about him. I’ve felt it since before he ever came home from the NICU. All of the caregivers he’s had have commented on something being not “right” about him without me ever mentioning that I felt there was a problem. It’s more than just “normal” toddler behavior, I assure you.

      I also see him react to a lot of things the way I would if I didn’t have a filter. I see things that affect him the same way they affect me, and I struggle daily with so many aspects of my life that I do not wish for him to grow up that way. If I can help him even just a little to not be like me, it will be well worth it.

      As for the horses, he goes to this OT simply because it’s the best in the area. Horses are a very small part of the therapy, and once he is on the horse, he is completely fine. He was not afraid of Misty, as he got to know her, and he will be the same with Sage, Peaches and the others.

      I realize a horse is HUGE to him and of course scary. But he is as afraid of a horse as he is a small dog or cat. He was terrified when we went to the zoo, and those animals are far away! I couldn’t even get him to look at them. :(

      Anyhow, believe me when I say I would not have him in OT if there really wasn’t something going on (nor would an OT waste their time seeing him or insurance pay for it), and I would not force him to ride a horse if he was crying and screaming the whole time. If he decides he is done riding before his riding time is up, he goes in and he’s done. Look at the picture I posted — he rides on his own and is content to do so (as long as he’s comfortable with the horse). He waves to the cars passing by and if we ride together, often pushes my hands away so he can hold on on his own.

      What you read in my blog is just a snippet of everything that goes on and perhaps it doesn’t paint a clear enough picture.

  4. You have to trust your instincts. You know Ace. I can only speak from my experience, (but seeing as how they are so similar) but I knew something was not right from the moment we came home with Nicholas too. It’s not a paranoid parent thing – it’s a real, true thing that only a parent who has experienced can understand. We tried to do all the right things to help him through life but it was apparent he was not comfortable and it was interfering with his quality of life and that’s why we chose OT. And the proof is in the pudding as far as that goes. The first time you see your kid do something he’d never been able to do before, you know all the stress was worth it.

    Like I’ve said before, anyone can have quirks or things that wig them out. It’s when those things are so numerous and so encumbering that it’s a problem and one that needs to be addressed. Yes, they are normal kid things. But there is a succession of normal kid things that makes it not normal. There is NOTHING wrong with getting extra help for your kid, I always said if it doesn’t work its still a benefit because it’s doing no harm. And I assure others and I am sure you know, coming to a decision about OT is not one taken lightly. When you see your child struggling you will do anything to help them. ((hug))

    And yes, I wish we lived closer too! We would be AWESOME friends. We could avoid all the same things that wig us out! :)

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