Friday, September 27, 2013

Caring For My Son With Special Needs {part two}

"Hope Develops in the crucible of experience if the right ingredients are present. Those ingredients include the following: Faith in God; righteous living; positive expectations; living with purpose; setting and working toward goals; initiating and sustaining personal effort; bridling thoughts, emotions, and behaviors; a willingness to tackle challenges; and competence in creating healthy relationships." Vaughn E Worthen

I could pretend like I was at a complete loss as to how to help my son and our family find peace, but the truth is that in the quiet corners of my mind there had always been a whisper that James needed to be home schooled. A thought that, to be completely honest, scared the crap out of me. So I continued to push those thoughts back into the deepest darkest corners every time they surfaced. I rationalized by telling myself that I couldn't handle it, and that only weird people home schooled their kids. I mean, who would actually choose to do that!

It turns out, I would. Sitting on the couch next to my 8 year old son while he sobbed about his horrible day at school, reminded me of my resolve all those years ago to do whatever it took for him to be OK.

Knowing what to do though and actually doing it are two completely different things, and I was still very scared! After having spent many a day simply dealing with him instead of enjoying being his mother, I was not sure at all if I had what it took to be with him not only all day long, but to teach him as well. And it was during one of those moments of how am I going to be able to do this, that another whispering thought came to mind. "How would you treat him if he had special needs?"

When I was really little in elementary school I used to love playing on the slide with the down syndrome kids at our school. They would come down with the biggest smile on their face and expect a hug from whoever was at the bottom waiting to catch them. You cannot be with one of those children and not feel love and warmth and it always made me so happy. I smiled thinking about the memory and in  a fraction of a second my attitude had changed.

I don't know if I can accurately describe what I felt in that moment, but it was like my heart had been transformed. I looked at him for the first time with new eyes and I no longer saw a problem to be dealt with or solved. I saw my sweet little boy who had special needs. Needs that were special and unique to only him, because he is special and unique. No other person in this world will ever think, feel, or act, the exact same way that he does. That understanding was the missing link for me.

Once I understood the how of how can I possibly do this, we got started the very next day. And approaching the task of teaching my son with the same tenderness and love I felt for those sweet kids on the playground has allowed me to open a door of patience that I never new existed. And although I know it will take time and possibly outside help from counselors to unravel exactly what all of his needs are, I am hopeful that he is on his way to a much happier and healthy life.

In less than two weeks he has already made strides in his reading that we expected to take months, he is more willing to help around the house when asked, has increased in self confidence, has shown concern for other's feelings, and has a hint of that sparkle back in his eye that has been missing for so long. And, not to brag, (OK maybe a little) he told me just yesterday that I am the best teacher ever!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Caring For My Son With Special Needs {part one}

No, my son is not autistic. He does not have down syndrome. I won't sit here and try to pretend that I know what it is like to be a mother to one of those sweet angels either. But I do want to tell you a story. A story about a huge wake up call.

8 years and 10 months ago my husband drove me through a snow storm, 2 hours away from our home to a hospital that treats high risk pregnancies. I was scheduled to be induced and nervously awaited the arrival of our 2nd child, a boy. My pregnancy by any standard was normal, however there was an unknown abnormality in the baby's abdomen that had shown up during my 20 week ultrasound. The worst case scenario (a name I can't remember) was a problem with his kidneys. The best case scenario was that cysts had formed on his intestines. Our Doctor was fairly certain it was the 2nd case, but wouldn't know for sure until after the delivery and tests were done. I was nervous and didn't sleep most of the night even after being given Ambien.

The next day I was given Pitocin and since I had arrived at the hospital already dilated to 4 cm, I was fairly certain this was going to be much easier than my first experience with birthing another human being! After my water broke however things started going wrong. The baby's heart rate would drop significantly with each contraction and after an hour of trying unsuccessfully to change the situation, I was wheeled in for a C-section. I remember at one point while the nurses were trying to get the babies heart rate up, the doctor came in and asked how I would feel about a C-section. All I said was "I don't care how he comes out." All I wanted was to have him out and to know that he was OK. And when I finally did hear his little cry for the first time, my own tears started spilling out. It's the only time I've ever cried when one of my children was born.

We were incredibly fortunate to find out the next day that our son did have a small cluster of cysts on his small intestine, but that his kidneys were in perfect working order. My little baby had surgery on only the 2nd day of his life, but recovered well and came home a week later. He nursed like a mad man, became the fattest thing I had ever seen and grew to become a little charmer.

There are so many details I could give over the next several years of his life, our lives, but this is all you really need to know. He had endless amounts of energy, I was young and frazzled, my husband was in medical school, and life became about survival. I survived by letting him watch cartoons for hours on end, by having our oldest daughter do all the cleaning up because she generally did it without complaint, and by eventually signing him up for preschool. Only, he hated preschool. He caused trouble almost every day and he would tell me every night that he didn't want to go to school the next morning. So, after 3 months I took him out and kept on surviving.

By the time kindergarten came around we had 3 children and I couldn't wait for the freedom that would come with having 2 kids in school all day. I love my kids of course, all of them, but I get overwhelmed easily and James was getting harder and harder. He teased his little sister constantly, made huge messes everywhere he went, could not follow the simplest of instructions, and argued about everything I asked him to do. So, even though he told me every night that he did not want to go to school in the morning, I said "Too bad, you have to."

First grade was a nightmare! He hated his teacher, and I'm pretty sure she didn't care for him much as well. It was sort of like a preschool re-run. I was constantly getting emails about what horrible thing James had done that day and every night he said "I don't want to go to school tomorrow."

Second grade was a tad bit better. His teacher was a sweet lady who had been teaching a very long time, and even though she had been our daughter Samm's teacher two years earlier, she never expected James to be exactly like his sister. She disciplined when necessary, but always gave the kids a chance for redemption during the course of the day. Homework really picked up this year though and after school became the nightmare. He would put in the least amount of effort possible to get the work done, and I got tired of fighting him so I didn't push him to try harder.

This year we were all excited. James included. He got the fun teacher. The one we were hoping would finally help him take off. After the first day of school he said "I can't wait to go to school again tomorrow!" By the third day though it was back to the same story of begging me not to make him go the next day. He liked his teacher, but he still hated school. And for the first time, he was dealing with social issues.

Aside from hating school and not being wanted during recess football, there have also been other problems. Issues I tried for over a year to pretend didn't exist. After years of being told "No. sit still. why cant you ever listen. what were you thinking." his sense of self worth had been all but squashed. I cannot even tell you the number of times he has threatened to run away because "no one loves me." or how many times he's said "I'm the worst boy ever." And most recently he has started asking me " what would happen if I jumped off a really tall building and died? what would you do?"

Do you have any idea what it's like to hear your child say something like that? How terrifying it is?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It Can Always Be Worse...

I just thought I would share a small portion of my day with you, so that tomorrow when your two year old pulls all the Tupperware out of the cupboards again, you can thank your lucky stars because it could have been much, much worse!
In case your wondering, that is six boxes of Rit powdered dye, several containers of glitter, and one I didn't make it to the bathroom! It's a good thing she is so ridiculously cute!

It's OK, you can be grateful your life wasn't mine today. I completely understand!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Twisted or Braided in Headbands

For anyone interested, I posted a hair tutorial (two ways) over here that would be a great back to school look for your little girls. This is how we get our headbands to stay in!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Which Battle Would You Pick?

This picture has nothing to do with the post, I just love it! Our whole family has fallen in love with this horse!

Sometimes I really do believe that we have to pick our battles as parents, but sometimes I think that phrase is a way out. A way out of dealing with hard situations. Not so much when they are little of course. Picking your battles with a five year old means putting your foot down when it comes to eating all their vegetables or enforcing the no light up character sneakers rule. Personally I choose to put on my boxing gloves when it comes to character apparel and figure I can find plenty of ways to sneak more veggies into their food. To each his own though.

If only picking my battles were that simple again though. If only they wanted Spiderman shirts again instead of bloody video games and action packed movies that happen to also have cursing and maybe some scantily clad women!

I want what's best for my kids. I really do. I also want them to be happy and well liked. There in lies that slippery line of really picking my battles and using those words as a sad excuse for poor parenting. My son is obsessed with video games. His entire world revolves around when he can play next. He's gravitated towards them ever since he was really little. At first it didn't seem like a huge deal because most of the games were harmless and I would try to regulate how long he played. Sometime though it was just so much easier to let him play for a couple hours while I got stuff done around the house than fight with him about turning it off and suddenly games were the only thing he was interested in. And then he started wanting to play the big boy games. Fighting games.

Before I continue, let me make one thing very clear. I hate video games! I think they are the biggest waste of time. If it was solely up to me, we would not own them at all. However, my husband enjoys playing them occasionally and I do realize that a lot of what kids do together is video games so we have them.

When it comes to the more mature games though, the answer in our house is always no! There are ratings for a reason. I wouldn't let my 8 year old son watch an R rated movie, so I'm certainly not going to let him play a game rated for the same audience. Please realize that this is my own opinion only and I don't judge others who have different rules. Every household is different and I'm not here to change your mind about what kinds of games your kids play.

Recently though we realized even the games that aren't mature have been causing problems. The overall atmosphere of our home has gone downhill. The kids fight with each other more and everyone seems on edge and less patient with each other. So, my husband and I decided together to get rid of all technology during the week. Now the only time they play games or watch movies is on Saturday. And for the most part is has helped a lot. There is a very real shift in the energy of our home come Saturday and it can take up to a day or two for things to calm down again and for the kids to stop asking "can I please just play this one time?"

Are you wondering yet where all this rambling is going? OK so here is the problem. When my kids are home I know what they are or are not playing and if it falls within our family guidelines. However my son (and daughters) are frequently invited to go to friends houses and many of them have different rules than us about what games and movies are allowed. I've tried repeatedly to explain to my son that our rules don't change at other people's houses and if they suggest something that is not appropriate than he needs to decline and suggest something else. I'm sure you can guess how well that is working out.

Last week he came home from a neighbors and confessed to me that they played a game called Bully! The entire point of the game was to go around bullying other people. Now, I do try really hard not to judge other parents, but I just cannot fathom any parent buying that game for their child! Why!!!

This is not the first or second or third confession we've had recently on breaking the game or movie ratings rule at other's houses, so now I'm at a loss. I want my children to enjoy spending time at home and feel comfortable inviting their friends over. I also want them to experience life and be able to make hard choices away from me. I'm at a place right now though where I feel like they are both not possible at the same time. The more I enforce the gaming rule at our house the more he wants to be at his friends houses. If I say no to going to a friends house than he spends all day terrorizing his sisters and complaining about our strict rules. Help!

Am I overreacting? Is it just a phase? What would you do or what have you done with your own children?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

It's Not You, It's Me!

A couple weeks ago I was talking to my mom and venting some frustrations. One of which was this blog. I love blogging, and want to continue to do it, but some days it just doesn't seem worth it. It's a huge time commitment, and half the time I don't feel like it even matters. I have no idea if you guys even like what I write, or the crafts I create, or the meals I post. I mean, seriously, you guys are the quietest readers ever! Most of the time I'm OK with that. There are plenty of blogs I read secretely, but sometimes as the writer it really is frustrating. I need feedback to grow and change and adapt. Which brings me to the actual point of this post.

My mom suggested something that I have actually been thinking for quite some time. Our blog is simply to diverse. We don't have a specific enough theme. A person might come here looking for a certain thing, find it, but then never come back because 90 percent of the posts they aren't interested in.

So, what does this mean? Well, it means we are breaking up...sort of. Jenn and I started this blog together, but she just isn't in the right place for devoting the time to it right now, which I totally get and respect, so instead of trying to keep this blog going on my own, I'm starting a new blog.

Actually, I'm not starting a new blog so much as reviving an old one. I once had an etsy shop called Lovely You where I sold jewelry that I made from upcycled vintage pieces, and a blog that went along with it. It didn't last very long though and has been sitting untouched for a few years.

As I was thinking about the new direction I wanted to take in blogging it seemed completely perfect. My job other than being a mom is as a cosmetologist, two of my favorite hobbies are fashion and jewelry, and I just really love pretty things!

So, If you have any interest in hair tutorials, fashion and makeup tips, or in learning how to make jewelry, come hang out with me over at Lovely You!  It's still a work in progress, but it is up and running.

I've transferred over a few of my favorite posts from here and have a few new ones already waiting for you including instructions on how to make your own bracelets such as this one. And a video where I get eaten by mosquitoes, but I talk about my top 5 beauty secret weapons for busy moms!

And for those of you that have no interest in that kind of stuff, I will still be popping in here from time to time with my motherhood stories and occasional non beauty/fashion related crafts, it just won't be my main focus anymore.

Thanks for all your support of this blog! Here's to new adventures!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It Happens

Several years ago when the economy went downhill, my dad's business took a big hit. I remember talking to my mom about what they were doing to make ends meet and she mentioned that in order to save money on gas my youngest brother Shaun, who was then in high school, was having to ride the bus to school. I felt really bad that my parents had worked so hard and then were having to struggle all over again, but as one of the oldest siblings and having been raised during the poor years, I felt a smug satisfaction as I imagined my 17 year old brother sitting on a big yellow bus. The youngest kids are always so spoiled!

And the story is no different in my family. This little girl gets away with just about anything. She even stands on the table. (gasp) I haven't decided yet if it's really a matter of trial and error or if it's just that the older I get, the less energy I have to care about things like standing on tables or making huge water messes in the kitchen.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...