Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Love My Job

We had a crazy week.  Tuesday Vince and I got to go to the U2 concert we've waited a year to see--it's Vince's favorite band and the first concert for either of us.  We parked at a Trax station and rode the train to the stadium.  It was a fantastic concert--until we started getting texts that there was a problem at home and ended up leaving early.  We got home just after all the excitement because it took us an hour just to get back to the car!!  Ivy lost a battle with our coat rack and ended up with 11 stitches above her eye, a concussion that required a cat scan, and a possible broken nose.  We are still waiting for the swelling to go down but so far the nose looks good.  I'm grateful for smart kids that knew who to call and how to help Ivy initially.  Ethan even cleaned blood out of the carpet while Eva and Ethan went to the hospital with their aunt.  I'm especially grateful that we have family close and that Aunt Lisa and Uncle James were home and so willing to help!!

The next morning I got to attend Eva's award assembly and Grandma O got to come and attend the awards assembly for the other kids.  Ethan ended up winning an award for his citizenship essay from the Kiwanis club.  All four kids ended the year with excellent grades!!  I brought Ivy home with me after the assembly because I wanted to keep her close all day--her concussion was a bit more severe than anything we've had at our house before.  Later Ivy and I got to go to 8th grade "promotion" where Eva performed with the orchestra and I accompanied a couple of 8th grade violinists.  Then to the dance festival where we had a hot dog dinner, watched the boys dance with their classes, and picked up books the kids wrote this year.  Then I went to a YW camp meeting. 

Thursday morning we all had to be at the dentist by 7:00 AM--where no one had any cavities!!  Then the kids went to school and I came home for a nap.  We found out Thursday that our favorite teacher at the school won't be there next year when Nathan would be in her grade--very sad. 

Friday was the end of the school year and the end of the week.  Nathan sang in a cute program and then later I took him to speech.  I've been reading and learning about different interventions and APD and asking the professor many questions the past couple of weeks.  He says I should be a therapist at their clinic--I laughed because I think most mothers must read and study how to help their kids!   They did give me  a form to fill out for APD--kind of an assessment--they wanted to give to their audiologist.  I'm still skeptical as to whether testing for that is entirely appropriate at this stage.  It was definitely appropriate a few years ago but I'm not sure that knowing about it now would change what we are doing and what we are able to do.  The professor said that I could ask their audiologist those things and that she would help me make the right decision. That sounds nice to me so I'll talk with her this next week.

Yesterday I dropped a very excited Eva off at Uncle Kevin's house so she could help take care of their little kids and get ready for their new baby.  Aunt Kristen is needing to lay down quite a bit and Kevin still has a week of school left to teach.  Kristen was very concerned that Eva would think this was a lame way to start her summer, which Eva thought was pretty hysterical--she couldn't be more thrilled!  And it feels good that we can "pay forward" the family support we had this past week a bit. 

I'm especially grateful for summer when I get to be a mom to my kids almost all the time without sending them off for most of the day.  Yesterday the kids wanted to begin some of their summer projects.  Eva, Ethan, and Ivy started typing lessons.  We told Ethan that if he could type 65 words a minute by the end of the summer we would buy him the video game he's wanted for well over a year.  Nathan started his computer program that's supposed to help with reading and listening and seemed to really like it (major relief for me!!)  We went to the fabric store and bought patterns for $1 and Ivy and Eva each chose some fabric for their first project.  The boys are not so much interested in sewing.  Ethan's first "project" will be to build screens for our windows.   

Monday, May 23, 2011

Babies should come with complimentary time travel devices for the mothers. 

This is the first year I've had kids at 2 different schools.  Early last week I received a nice letter/invitation in the mail for an awards assembly at the junior high where Eva will be receiving an award Wednesday from 9:15-11:30.  Two days later the elementary school called to invite me to a special assembly where Ivy will be receiving an award for perfect attendance--GO IVY!!  (This is actually a big deal for her and she has conscientiously worked on it all year)  The elementary assembly is Wednesday from 9:30-11:00 or 11:30.  Such began the dilemma.  THEN Ivy brought home a letter/invitation for the same assembly but for a different award.  Today the secretary called to invite me to that assembly again because Ethan is receiving an award but they couldn't narrow down the time for me because his is an "outside" award, meaning some group from the community is recognizing him for something. 

Yay for hard-working, fantastic kids!  Boo for just one me....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Like Sound Through Water

Last week I stumbled on this book from Amazon: Like Sound Through Water by Karen J. Foli.  The books summary captivated me:

"He was a happy, healthy boy--a mother's dream come true.  Yet by the age of three, Ben's development was significantly delayed:  He couldn't make sense of the simplest phrases, and he still hadn't started talking.  When Karen Foli finally took her son, Ben, to a speech and hearing clinic, she was told that he was "probably retarded and perhaps autistic."  But Karen knew that Ben was highly perceptive, even frustrated by his inability to communicate.  Trusting her "mother's intuition," Karen set out on a journey to learn the truth about her son's condition..."

It felt so familiar.  I'm not sure why I felt I had to read the book.  Maybe it's just comforting to read another's mother's struggle with a very similar problem.  Maybe it shouldn't be that way but I feel a little relief from my personal grief when I read another's struggle.  It feels a little less lonely, I suppose.  Her frustrations and challenges are so similar to mine--so far, her son's story is very similar to mine.  Maybe I ordered the book because I was hoping to find a clue of something that would help Nathan even more.  It is a relief to see that Karen is a registered nurse with years in teaching, clinical practice, consultation, and research and holds a PhD in communications research and that her husband is a licensed, practicing psychiatrist who works with children everyday--and that the "professionals" wouldn't listen to them either.

I felt a connection to this mother when I read the foreward, written by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D.  Here's some excerpts:

"In this book you will see Karen and her husband, John, struggle to understand their first child, Ben.  You will see them wince as they realize that Ben is not like every other child.  You will see them wince again as professionals fail to get the point.  You will feel their emotions as the child they love receives mistreatment purported to be help.  You will see a mom, trying her best to work within an uncomprehending system of educators and healthcare professionals, refuse to give up on her son or relinquish her sense of who she knows her child truly to be." 

"Imagine if you had a child whose learning or behavior or emotions--or all three--caused your child and you and your family to suffer deeply every day.  And imagine if you, as the child's mother, had to go from misunderstanding to misunderstanding day in and day out, from "expert" to "expert", each with his or her own set of forms to fill out, tests to take, and jargon-filled explanations to listen to.  Imagine if each time the expert missed the true nature of your child you had to choose between disagreeing and being told you were in denial, or agreeing and knowing you were not going to get the kind of help you so desperately needed.  What would you do?"

That's just a snapshot, but suffice it to say that I "get" this book and maybe more importantly, this book "gets" me"!!

Like I said, I've read only about a third of it so far.  There one aspect that the book lacks completely in relation to my own experience.  I can see that the author does not have the knowledge and/or understanding of a loving Heavenly Father and the guidance of His Holy Spirit that gives me valuable direction and comfort.  I don't believe that it makes my pain, heartache, and frustration less than this woman, but I do believe it makes it a bit more bearable.  Karen gives us a real glimpse into her feelings, thoughts, and emotions through her experiences--I keep asking myself why.  I guess that it was probably quite cathartic for her.  I imagine that she didn't begin the process intending to sell many books but that as the project grew she realized that her experience might be valuable to others and sought a publisher. 

I wonder if a similar process would be a bit cathartic for me.  Anyone who talks with me knows that I can hardly talk of anything else--maybe I just need to get it out in order to process my own feelings.  Of course, I know that it's hardly as interesting to the rest of the people in my life as it is for me.  And I worry that if I were really honest about some of my feelings that it might hurt the feelings of some of the people in my life that I really love, admire, and care about.  Maybe I need to have an anonymous blog somewhere...

Monday, May 16, 2011

A New Deal

Everyday I deal with the unjustness of people having to practice--"it's not fair!", "it takes to long"--I wholeheartedly agree with that last complaint--often they complain 40 minutes before beginning 20 minutes of practicing.  Ivy will even go into a room and spend 30 minutes opening the violin case, 20 minutes putting the shoulder rest on the instrument and (I'm not making this up) once spent 35 minutes tightening the bow--it's a 2 second job.  And then she stops (at least) at the end of every song to chat about it. 

So I made a deal.  That I may regret.  It's either brilliant or foolish.  I made an exchange of sorts: Eva's practicing for my cardio workout, Ethan's practicing for my weights, Ivy's practicing for my personal scripture study, and Nathan's practicing for my journaling.  If I don't get my journaling done today, then Nathan doesn't have to practice tomorrow, etc.  If they don't get their practicing done--they owe me an extra chore the following day. 

It's a good thing we only have four children because it's just after 11:00 and I've only finished the cardio and weights.  And now journaling!  :) 

Friday, May 13, 2011


Sometimes (OK--every night) kids don't want to go to bed.  It doesn't help that I send them to bed dehydrated.  Or that when they come out to rehydrate they later need to use the restroom.  And that the fluid loss instigates still more dehydration. 

Last night Nathan was really taking advantage of this unfortunate pattern.  I guess he could tell I was getting tired of his hydration issues when he came down to "tell on myself for breaking something in my room".  I didn't make that up.  The boy would say anything to get out of bedtime!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Famous Last Words

From Nathan:  "Mom, Please let me.....I will never beg again!!  I promise!!"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Today After School

I'm cooking dinner and Eva (13) says, "It's like a cooking show.  Or a relay."  Hmmmm.

Ivy (9) comes home and says, "Watermelon!!  Who got it?"  I told her I did.  She asked me where I got it.  I told her I found it.  She asked where and I told her it was laying on the ground in the back yard.  She asked where in the backyard and I told her it was under the stairs.  She went to see if there was another watermelon in the backyard under the stairs.  The rest of us giggled.  Ten minutes later she said, "I know!!  YOU got the watermelon at the store, didn't you Mom?"  She's quick, that one.

It looked to me like Nathan (7) walked home in his PJ's....he changed before he made it into the kitchen when he promptly asked for a snack.  I gave him yogurt and he asked if he could just finish the whole half of a tub that we had left.  Typical Nathan.

Ethan (11) asked to go play--before, during, and after the other kids' conversations.  He left pretty quick!