I Waited….But Her Scream Never Came!

18 mo watermarkDid you EVERY hear of Breath Holding Spells? I sure had not — until just a few months ago.

One day, a few months ago, I dropped off my 18 month old daughter at the gym daycare, while my oldest two were in swim lessons.

My kids have always loved babysitters and childcare – in moderation that is. They are silly that way. My oldest once said, “yeah, it’s fun because you pay for them to play with me.” Well…good attitude. But I digress.

Now, my baby had never been in childcare before. So I wasn’t sure how she would do. But when I left, she was off playing in the play kitchen and having a great time!

After swim lessons, I headed into childcare to pick her up. She smiled when she saw me but went back to playing. I announced it was time to go and collected her jacket and things. I announced again it was time to go. I was still ignored.

I signed her out and went to her. I told her sweetly it was time to go. She said “no” quite adamantly and ran to the baby carriage to resume her play.

I walked over to her and said, “Time to go sweetie. Let’s go eat.” and I picked her up. She began to cry and squirm, wanting to get bk down.

I consoled and rocker her, telling her it was OK but she was getting really upset. She began a full-out tantrum and then the trip to the silent cry, that leads to the blood curdling scream, began. You know what I’m talking about…red face, shaking, mouth open, but NO SOUND.

We had seen it many times before. In fact, I consoled and chuckled a little at the same time and said “Oh no, here comes the scream.”

But the scream did NOT come.

She kept shaking. No sound.

“Come on, baby” I said. Still no sound.

Then she put her head on my shoulder and closed her eyes. She went limp. Her lips were blue.

Then my baby girl jerked back up, opened her eyes, looked at me and began to cry again. But this time with noise.

“I think she just passed out,” I said to no one in particular.

On the drive home, I kept thinking about it. Replaying it. Did she REALLY pass out? But she acted normal that evening. Maybe that wasn’t the case. Maybe she just wore herself out. Doubtful, but I was trying to let it go. Noting to talk to my husband and call the doctor later.

The next day she was fine, until….

Baby girl fell off the couch. Nothing series. More of a roll really but it scared her and she began to cry. I picked her up and tried to console her. No use, she was sobbing, then did the silent cry and I waited with anticipation for the scream.

But it didn’t come!

Instead her lips turned blue and she passed out in my arms again. Seconds later, she jerked awake with a gasp, a terrified look on her face, and whimpered. She laid her head down on my shoulder and sobbed. She was exhausted!

I was FREAKED OUT!

I called my husband.

I’m not sure he really believed me. I mean, really, our baby passed out? Really? What baby passed out?

I called and left a message for the doctor and then did what you should NEVER do…consulted Dr. Internet. Yikes!

Google: “Baby passed out from crying.”

Yep, there are pages on it. Seizure disorders, illnesses, brain injuries, rare disease, anemia and “Breath Holding Spells.”

What?

Yep. There are breath holding spells.

According to WebMD it effect 0.5% to 5% of children ages 6 weeks to 4 years of age.

No, your baby isn’t stubborn. Yes, I actually had one person say that, as if an 18 month old would have the cognitive ability to DECIDE to hold her break until she passed out to make a point. Sure.

Anyway, the spells, which most commonly affect children from ages 1 to 3, occur when the child has trouble catching his breath when he gets upset from being hurt or getting angry. He continues to cry and can’t catch his breath. He passes out and then the involuntary breathing takes over triggering a gasp for air and a quick regaining of consciousness.

It all happens within seconds. The act of passing out actually makes the baby breathe. Then he breathes and wakes up.

The child may even appear to seize in order to regain consciousness. Scary!

Of course, you should still see a doctor to ensure there are NOT other reasons for the involuntary behavior. We did and there were not – thank goodness!

They did a physical exam, a quick test to ensure our baby girl was not anemic, and determined she was having “Breath Holding Spells.” Goodie!

The doctor stated she would grow out of them. “When, next week I hope?”

The doctor stated that most grow out of them in their own time but usually by the time they can be cognitively reasoned with and therefore calmed more easily – typically by 3 to 4 years old.

3 years of this? Oh dear!

The doctor said she had seen it as early as 6 weeks old and as late as 5 years old. But the most common is ages 1 to 3.

The biggest concern is safety. Ensuring the child does not pass out and fall into something, hurting herself worse (i.e. fall and hit her head into a table).

I asked about lack of oxygen to the brain being a problem but was told it is negligible and is not a concern. Maybe not to them but I’m still worried.

In the end, we were told to watch her. Keep her safe, and she will grow out of it.

We continue to work hard to get her to catch her breath by blowing on her face, patting her back, and jostling her. I must say these means seem to work most of the time. But sometimes it does not and I could cry it frightens me so, to see her collapse on me like a rag doll, with her red face and blue lips.

She seems no worse for the wear after it’s over. Our worst week was 4 times in 5 days but there are days when it happens several times and days weeks when it doesn’t happen at all…here’s to the power of prayer!

I would guess we aren’t finished with this stage just yet just because we have had a few good weeks. But it’s nice to see her catch her breath on her own.

I worry EVERY TIME she gets upset.

We pick her up to ensure she is safe in case she passes out. Her lips have turned blue a few times before she has caught her breath but she didn’t pass out those times.

I took to Facebook looking for answers the first day and was surprised at the fact that I had 2 other friends that had their children do this but I was unaware. Not that you wish such a thing on anyone else but it does help to hear that other children has done it and you know those children and know they are OK>

I don’t have any tips or secrets to stop this front happening but I do know that it’s more common than I would have ever known.

Now we tell everyone that stays with our daughter from the gym and church childcare to family and friends that play with her. We want them to be prepared and ready.

Our kids know what to do to keep her safe, not to leave her alone, and to get an adult’s attention immediately.

We don’t treat her differently however. For instance, we still tell her “no,” even if we know it might trigger a tantrum. But we certainly don’t leave the room. We ensure she doesn’t launch into a full-fledged fit that will result in one of her spells.

In the end, I can only offer advice if your child has displayed signed of “Breath Holds Spells.”

  • Keep Him Safe – pick him up or ensure he is in a place where he can’t fall and hurt himself on walls, furniture or toys
  • Try to help him catch his breath – he won’t love you blowing in his face or patting his back hard, but the startling effects may result in the involuntary gasp for air, preventing him from passing out
  • Let him know his is OK – your baby is NOT doing anything wrong. He can’t help it and may be scared. Hold him, hug him, and tell him he is OK. It is likely both exhausting and scary to not be able to catch his breath and pass out. Don’t scold him for getting so worked up. Love him and make him feel safe.

Have you had a child that has “Breath Holding Spells?” Do you have advice to share? When did he or she grow out of it? We would love to know your experiences.

Classical Conversations – Our Cycle 1 Preparation

http://ep.yimg.com/ay/yhst-26998623274860/classical-conversations-cycle-1-learning-activity-book-weeks-1-24-3.jpgWe are gearing up for starting our next year of Classical Conversations. We will be doing Cycle 1 this year. Another repeat year for us. This is our 5th year in Classical Conversations and we just LOVE all that we learn.

This will be my daughter’s 2nd time through Cycle 1 and my son’s 1st time through. And of course, our baby will be shocking learning so much of it, as we learned with our son the last time through.

We are looking forward to Cycle 1 with studying Continents and Africa as well as physical science, the Ten Commandments and learning John 1 in Latin.

I have a LOT of cycle 1 resources that I have saved over the years. You can find MANY cycle 1 resources over at Half a Hundred Acre Woods (Half a Hundred Acre Woods Cycle 1 Resource List. She has done a great job at breaking down these cycle 1 resources.

Another favorite of ours is lapbooking. We love the A Journey Through Learning has CC supported lapbooks that coincide with many of the things we study in Classical Conversations, specific to Cycle 1 (Adventures in Homeschooling Cycle 1 Lapbooking).

Here are some additional resources I have found that aren’t on the above lists from sites like Enchanted Learning, A Journey Through Learning and Homeschool Share. We are looking forward to a GREAT year. We will be concentrating on our Latin, the Middle Ages in History and Biology in Science. And, of course, mastering those math facts.

Africa resourcesExploring Africa Lapbook for Foundations--8.00

Animal Classifications printable

Classical Conversations lapbooks

Orchestra Lapbook

Africa Lapbook

The Old Testament Lapbook

Ancient Greece Lapbook

Kingdom Animalia Lapbook

The Earth Lapbook

Geology resources

Volcano resources

**There are affiliate links in this post. If you were to make a purchase, this would support my site. Thank you.

What are some of your favorite Classical Conversations Cycle 1 resources?

Horizons 1st Grade Phonics & Reading Set – Alpha Omega Publications Review

Alpha Omega Review

My son is entering the 1st grade this year – how did that happen? He is SO excited to be a 1st grader and was even more excited when I placed the Horizon’s 1st Grade Phonics & Reading Set from Alpha Omega Publications in front of him and showed him we were starting 1st grade work. This is one review he was excited to get started on! Having the opportunity to review this product from Alpha Omega Publications was a great opportunity to get our school year off to a good start!

For this review we were provided the Horizons 1st Grade Phonics & Reading Set, which is comprised of two consumable student workbooks, two student readers, and a teacher’s guide. Between the two student workbooks, there are 160 lessons covering topics such as consonant and vowel sounds, consonant and vowel blends, vowel pairs, prefixes and suffixes, and syllables, to name a few.

20150817_140329Each lesson works on penmanship, vocabulary, phonics, phonemic awareness, text comprehension and fluency. The lessons are presented in a spiral method meaning that what is learned will be reviewed throughout the lessons, ‘spiraled’ through with new material throughout the year. Each lesson is 2 pages long, brightly colored with engaging illustrations and varying activities and exercises. The lesson activities include fill in the blanks, word searches, letter and sound recognition exercise, and picture matching. My son completed his first cross word puzzle in lesson 7 and was amazed that he could complete such a puzzle.

20150725_151906The lessons move along at a good pace, so a lot of material is covered; but, as I mentioned, the new material and old material are spiraled together so some review is intermingled with new concepts being presented. The student readers are fun, easy to read stories with comprehension questions at the end of the story. These questions help the student recall what they have read and allow the parent to see if they are comprehending the story rather than just reading words.

The Horizons 1st Grade Phonics & Reading Set also includes a thorough Teacher’s Guide which includes daily lesson plans with clearly defined goals, supplies and activities to help the parent make teaching phonics fun for the student. Teaching tips, duplication masters, answer keys and review worksheets are included in the teacher’s guide.

My 5 year old will turn 6 in September and will be entering his 1st grade year. However, he is a boy and his attention span is still short. The 2 full pages, front and back, of the lesson takes him anywhere between 15-30 minutes, depending upon the exercise and his attention span abilities that day. We used it 3 days a week for the period of this review and found that completing a full lesson on most days was difficult. We decided to do 2 pages each day (1/2 a lesson). This seemed to work much better for him. We found that forcing completion of the lesson made it take even longer and for him to lose interest. We began doing 2 pages of the lesson and then reading a story in the reader. I am hopeful that as we continue to use this curriculum, his attention span will improve and we will be able to get through the entire lesson. However, for now we intend to continue to 2 pages per day and increase usage to each school day – 4-5 days a week. Obviously this would drag out the year a little; however, we do tend to do school into the summer month and we also take breaks as needed and do extra weekend school at times. This would be something we would use to work through even on light days therefore hopefully completing the entire program at least by the summer even with the slower pace.

I am certain that as he matures and his attention to the lessons and reading improves, as well as his writing skills improving, we will be able to complete more of the lesson in the 15-20 minutes we take for these lessons. I look forward to seeing him progress as the year moves forward.

Alpha Omega Review
In this short amount of time we have been using The Horizons 1st Grade Phonics & Reading Set, I have seen him enjoy activities he did not feel confident he could do before as well as increased understanding of the materials. His reading is improving and he seems to enjoy the readers, which is a feat in and of itself. So many reader are boring and these stories thus far have been interesting and engaging to him.

Horizons 1st gradeOne thing we struggled with was understanding what some of the pictures were indicating. For instance, a picture of a girls face, he says “girl” but the exercise is hard and soft “c” sounds so the picture is supposed to make the student think of the word “face.” This happened several times and I had to search myself forward in the lesson of the teachers manual to figure out what word to which the picture was referring. But usually we just skipped these and moved on so as not to draw out the lesson any further. There is usually plenty of practice that skipping one example is not detrimental to the lesson.Overall, we liked the lessons, the readers’ stories, and the pace of the lessons. The colorful illustrations, fun and varied games, and interesting stories make this is a good curriiclum for my son. He is not reluctant to work on his reading, which is something he has had confidence issues with. The curriculum is easy for him to use and easy for me, as the teacher, to teach. I think it’s a good and solid program that will make teaching phonics and reading fun and easy for teacher and student.  I would recommend this program.Be sure to check it out for yourself on their website. You can even see sample pages of the workbooks and readers here.

You can purchase the Horizons 1st Grade Phonics & Reading Set for $106.95 on the Alpha Omega Publications website. If you are interested in what the rest of the TOS Review Crew through of Horizons 1st Grade Phonics & Reading Set or some of the other  Alpha Omega Publications curriculum sets,  click the banner below. And be sure to check out Alpha Omega Publications on social media:

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