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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Silly Ideas

Silly, naive little me. I should know better than to think crazy thoughts like I did on Monday: "I wonder if our kids are soon going to be therapy-free. I wonder what it would be like if everyone was just even-keel, no major issues or challenges, just sort of typical. I wonder what I would do without these challenges that sort of define me. Am I a bad mom for thinking about what I would do without this stress in my life? What it would like if the kids were just typical? I'd probably be bored. Maybe that time is coming soon."

Ha. Big Fat Ha. The Universe or God or whoever is in charge is laughing his head off at me right now. Silly, naive little me. Apparently, The Universe or God was worried that I was becoming too comfortable for one single millisecond, so decided I needed MUCH more on my plate. Thanks so much. You know that saying that God doesn't give you more than you can handle? Really? Whoever decided that should be an official saying must have lived a life of relaxing luxury, with no stress at all, stuffing themselves with delicious baked goods at their leisure. Because many times I feel that I have much more on my plate than I can handle. I guess I do handle it all, somehow, but still, a little less would mean a lot more sometimes.

It was a week filled with things that scattered the matter of my brain. There were mixups with the kids. There were mixups with the school and meetings that I thought were scheduled one day, so I cancelled all of Ella's therapies that day. Then when we got to school, they said the meeting was actually the following day. Gr. Jonah came home on the bus the day he was supposed to stay after school for some help with math. Then the next day the math teacher emailed urgently in the early afternoon, asking if Jonah could stay after school that day instead, and could I pick him up. So I had to figure out a million logistical changes this week. That may sound like no big deal, but with four kids, logistics are always a big big deal. Then you add in all the little things we do all week: a zillion therapies, ballet, karate, gymnastics, etc, and it's a logistical nightmare to change even one little thing. But we made it work.

On Wednesday, Aidan is supposed to participate in a therapeutic group that works on social skills, speech, and OT skills, among other things. For reasons only known to Aidan, he dreads this group and has fought me every week about participating in it. He goes to a group on Fridays also that focuses more on handwriting and fine motor skills, and he looks forward to this group. I don't know what the difference really is, and Aidan can't seem to put words to it. But regardless of what Aidan's reasoning is behind not enjoying the Wednesday group, this Wednesday was no exception and Aidan dug in his heels and refused to go upstairs for the group. Usually I have a couple tricks that will work to get him to reluctantly go, but this week nothing was working at all. Aidan shut down and just got more and more cranky and loud in his refusal to participate. 

One of the therapists who helps to run the group came downstairs to see if he could help to figure out why Aidan didn't want to go to group. The poor therapist worked like crazy for an hour, following Aidan around the waiting room as Aidan tried to avoid the therapist, trying to get some insight into what Aidan was feeling or the reasoning behind his actions. Aidan just kept trying to avoid the situation by having a meltdown- he knows that if he is loud and crabby enough that usually he'll get the alone time that he desperately wants. But Aidan's therapist kept at it, kept trying, kept track of Aidan and wouldn't let him off the hook so easily. I felt bad for the couple other parents in the waiting room who had to deal with what ended up to be my kid's hour of private therapy, in public. But like I said in a previous post, what happens in waiting rooms stays in waiting rooms, and the other parents graciously pretended nothing unusual was happening. Bless their souls. 

I let the therapist work on Aidan without interfering too much. My techniques obviously don't work all the time for him, so I thought I'd give the therapist the opportunity to try and build trust with Aidan as well as try to be successful in his attempts to engage Aidan. Counseling has never worked with Aidan in the past because he just shuts down. Won't talk. Won't cooperate. Won't play. And usually cries about not wanting to go and not wanting to leave Mama. 

I think that counseling is a great gift for my kids. I want them to be able to have a safe place to go away from Daddy and I to talk about whatever they need to talk about. Of course Alex and I are open to anything they want to talk about too, but a counselor is neutral, has your best interests at heart, and isn't Mom and Dad. In our experience, counseling has been an amazing, strengthening opportunity for growth and understanding of ourselves. We have all learned coping skills, techniques to deal with our emotions, and ways to have more patience for our family members. I want Aidan to have the same opportunity that the rest of us have taken advantage of.

I was impressed with Aidan's therapist's tenacity. He wouldn't give up. I gave some input here and there when it was appropriate, but the therapist got to see some of what makes Aidan's behavior challenging. Finally at the end of the hour, the therapist, whether he knew it or not, was hugely successful in gaining some trust with Aidan, and cooperation. He asked Aidan a question and Aidan answered! With more than a screech of anger! He asked Aidan something like "See you at group on Friday? We can talk more then?" And Aidan looked at the therapist in the eyes and mumbled a soft "Yes." I don't know if the therapist realized it, but that meant he got to Aidan. He got Aidan to open up, he got him to cooperate with answering one question appropriately, he got him to connect with his eyes. 

It was a long hour.

We decided Aidan will take a break from the Wednesday group. It's not worth the stress and fight for me to get him there. He will also start seeing the therapist who helped him this week, one-on-one and hopefully not in the waiting room. I'm hoping that Aidan will be able to connect with him and just have someone to fall back on when he's struggling. When I know my kids are getting counseling, I feel like I have a safety net for them, to catch them in case I miss something or don't know how to deal with something, or in case they just need an outsider's point of view.

This week I had Aidan's 504 Plan meeting with the team at school. He's really struggling to focus, stay on track with what he needs to do to complete work, and he works very slowly. The poor kid. He has so much going on. And once you hit grade school, life speeds up and if you have anything slowing you down or complicating your life, it becomes magnified because you suddenly really aren't fitting into the "norm."

Yesterday, Jonah got into a fist fight with a neighbor boy. Actually, Jonah didn't use any fists, just words (that he knows he shouldn't be using anyway), but the other boy decided fists were appropriate to use on Jonah's face. Jonah came home with a bloody nose and lip, not too serious but very very upsetting. Alex dealt with the neighbors involved, and hopefully we will not have a repeat of this situation.

As I have been writing this, Jonah came in from snowboarding with ANOTHER bloody lip- this one pretty severe. His whole lower lip was sliced open a little bit, with one big blob of 'ouch' right in the middle. His loving twin brother had pushed him face-first down the hill into his snowboard and Jonah had banged his lip. I'm tellin' ya, this is not Jonah's week. 

Meanwhile, Little Miss Sunshine still refuses to sleep without being plastered right next to Mama. She goes to sleep fine, then in a few hours wakes every night to come in our bed. That would be fine, if she actually slept well. But she doesn't. She tosses and turns (I finally got smart and put a pillow between us so she can't kick me anymore. Ha! Take that, sleepy little legs!), and whenever she realizes that Mommy has actually dozed off for three minutes, she whispers me awake. "Mama. I need a drink. Mama. I'm cold. Mama. I can't find my cownow (the corner of her sleepy blankie that she rubs as she falls asleep). Mama. I love you. Mama. I love you SO much." Hmm, I'd love you even more if you told me this in 4 hours, sweet daughter!

I called the pediatrician again this week about the lack of sleep Ella and I have been getting for the past year. I said I wanted a referral to someone so I can get help. This is nuts. It's been TEN years of not sleeping and I think that's utterly ridiculous. So I got a referral to a pediatric sleep specialist that we'll see in a couple weeks. Enough. Mama wants sleep. It does make me wonder if I should take all the boys to the sleep doctor too, because none of them can sleep without medication. We'll see.

So for all these reasons, and more, my brain is totally fried this week. I feel like I need total cognitive and emotional rejuvenation, and I'm not sure how to get it. Alex said I should try the yoga class they offer at The Therapy Tree on Wednesday nights. Wednesday nights are our most stressful- after a full day of therapy, so I'm not sure that will happen, but it's a nice idea. 

Some times I wonder how much more my little old plate can handle. Enough already, I feel like yelling! I guess at times like these I go into autopilot mode- just rolling with the punches and trying to get through whatever craziness is coming next. I try not to think too much or feel too much, just do what needs to be done. I know things will even out and get better eventually. Maybe I should keep my thoughts from wondering into crazy territory...keep them in reality. It doesn't hurt to dream, but maybe I'll save my dreaming for a less stressful week.


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