For the past month, Kennedy’s behavior has changed drastically. At school she is completely different child than at home. At home, her behavior seems pretty average for a toddler. Everything is “mine.” She is obsessed with her little sister Charlotte. She loves to help. She wants to do everything herself. When we talk to our mom friends we laugh and share all the crazy things our toddlers are up to these days. When Kennedy is at school her tantrums and behavior toward other children is bad. When we talk to her teachers about what she does at school it’s like Kennedy is a completely different child at school.
What is causing this sudden drastic behavior? We don’t know. Is it she can’t express herself verbally and is getting frustrated? She had tubes put in 4 months ago and her vocabulary is increasing but it is still not comparable to her friends’ who are the same age. Is this behavior from Charlotte being born? Perhaps she isn’t doing well with sharing the attention with another child? Is she acting out so she can be sent home to be with us? Is there something else wrong? Sensory problems? Autism? Or is she just a two year old? We don’t know.
What we do know is that Kennedy is a very expressive child. I mean, look at her face change in these photos. She has worried us from the very beginning. Worrying about her during pregnancy, worrying if she would make it to full term, worrying if she was gaining enough weight, worrying about her birthmark, worrying if we were reading her enough books, worrying she would hit her head when she was learning to walk…the worry continues today. Are we using the right parenting methods, is she eating the right foods? Is her behavior normal?
What are our guts telling us? What are our hearts telling us? What are our minds telling us?
Although we absolutely love the school Kennedy is at right now, tomorrow I will go and clean out her cubby and get her ready for a new school. I will probably cry gathering her items as I think about picking her up each day from school. It’s a routine I have grown to love and I will miss it. We plan on sending Charlotte there when there is an opening so I know this isn’t goodbye but for Kennedy, it’s the end of a place she been at the past 7 months. Next week she will start at a new school that will hopefully, be a better fit for her.
We are changing her diet. She always has diarrhea and I have no idea why we thought that was normal. We always thought it was just regular toddler poop but after a few friends have changed her diaper, they said she should be having normal stools at this age. She is gluten free for the next 4 weeks. Then we will try dairy free for 4 weeks. If her behavior and diaper rash changes, we will know it is one of those things. The pediatrician said they won’t do a blood test until we do these things first.
We took Kennedy to the pediatrician to ask her about this behavior and she doesn’t think it is Autism. She gave us a screening survey that she passed. We did get a referral to a specialist and our pediatrician said they will check her out and see if there is anything wrong. She said she could benefit from a speech therapist and we hope she qualifies. For now, we wait for the call.
Maybe we are worrying for nothing. Maybe nothing is wrong. What we do know is we have to advocate for Kennedy to find answers, as this little person does depend on us. That’s a big responsibility, but also a great honor.