Philip awoke around 3 am. He wasn’t crying, but he made some sound that woke me, too. I carried him downstairs.
He didn’t want to be awake, but something was keeping him from settling back to sleep. He alternated with laying on a body pillow on the couch and using Mommy as a body pillow on the recliner.
On one of his trips from couch to recliner, I thought he was favoring his right leg. It was dark, and he wasn’t standing long enough for me to get a good look. I assumed that his leg was asleep and let him climb up and cuddle with me.
When it seemed that the only thing still keeping him awake was the fact that Mommy is lumpier than any pillow, I carried him back up to his bed. He quietly laid down and was asleep several minutes later. We had been up for about an hour.
Later that morning, I put a sleeping Philip in the stroller and took the dog for his walk. When we returned home, Philip was awake and walked himself back into the house. As he moved, I noticed his limp.
I observed Philip for several minutes to confirm. He was definitely walking in an unusual way. His right leg was stiff and he had his right foot flexed so that his toes pointed up. He wasn’t crying and showed no other signs of being in pain.
It has taken me awhile to understand the implications, but I realize that Philip is under-responsive to sensory input. In the lingo of Sensory Processing Disorder, Philip is a sensory seeker. He needs intense input to really feel it. This is why he likes to jump on his trampoline (and his bed and our bed and the recliner and the couch and the floor) and crash onto the sofa. This is why he wrestles with his body pillow and his huge stuffed bear and, sometimes, Mommy.
I had an epiphany a few weeks ago. I knew that one reason that Philip has stuffed handfuls of food into his mouth is to get the sensory input. What I finally “got” was that one reason he doesn’t eat on a regular schedule is that he probably doesn’t feel hunger. We have to remind him to eat. We also have more success by first allowing Philip time to play before eating. Proprioceptive input before a meal seems to wake up his appetite.
Everything that I’m writing is based on my reading about Sensory Processing Disorder and a hell of a lot of guesswork. Philip can’t verbalize his experiences to me, so I have to observe his behavior and try to interpret its meaning. Watching him limp today, I know that something is wrong, but I have no way of knowing the specifics. I don’t see any other external indication of injury such as a bruise or swelling. He hasn’t cried or even whimpered. He still wanted to run and climb in the backyard this evening, so the unknown problem is not completely impairing his movement.
I feel like I’m limping along, too. I can encourage Philip to rest, but I’m not sure how else to help him. I considered taking him to the doctor, but what would that accomplish? The doctor would be doing just as much guessing as me. The only way to know would be some kind of diagnostic procedure. I supposed an x-ray could be ordered, but why put Philip through the stress of a trip to the hospital for something that might be completely unnecessary?
Philip will be spending part of the day with his grandma tomorrow. I warned her about the limp. We will all be watching and waiting, hoping that whatever is wrong will go away without further incident.
I am submitting this post as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Wrong. The picture itself doesn’t represent anything wrong, but that is at the heart of my predicament. I am operating with incomplete information. I know something is wrong, but I can’t fix it since I cannot identify the problem.