Parenting

Expectations.

Our lives are built around expectations. We expect a certain outcome for a certain event, and damn, can our lives spin wildly out of control when that expectation isn’t met. We expect to fall in love with the perfect person for us. We expect them to know all of the things, like how to do laundry the way you want it done, or how you like the kitchen cleaned after dinner. This is silly, of course, because why would they know these things unless we tell them?

My point is, that we all have expectations about life, and we’re all pretty disappointed when they aren’t met. I had great expectations for my children. I was lucky to have a boy and a girl. I expected parenting to be difficult, but what I didn’t expect was to have a unique child that doesn’t fit the mold. A child that has needs that I haven’t been able to meet because until recently, we just weren’t sure what was going on. My husband and I discussed things and had our son evaluated for sensory processing struggles.

At just 3.5, it was a hard decision to come to, because he’s still young. The behaviors are typical, his egocentric mindset is typical, the tantrums and meltdown are typical, all of it is typical. Listening to your intuition is the most important thing that you can do as a parent. My husband and I knew. We have an appointment on Thursday to discuss the evaluation with the OT. The struggles are there, she saw them first hand. We’re not imagining it. We feel validated, finally.

I love my son unconditionally. He’s amazing in many ways, and difficult in many others. I don’t want him to spend his life struggling. I want him to enjoy being alive, and not feel stuck in a body that has betrayed him. I want to learn how to help him, so he can learn how to help himself. I don’t want this affecting his self-esteem, though I know it will. I want him to be proud of who he is. I can already tell he’s going to be a wonderful person.

I don’t have a child who will sit on my lap at the libraryduring story time. In fact, I have to give  him snacks or he will be all over the room. I don’t have a child who can transition from an one activity to another without a nuclear explosion going off in his head, and pouring out of him. I don’t have a child that has been easy to potty train, and I’m pretty sure that it can be linked to sensory stuff. I don’t have a child that has easy bed times because he can’t control his body and impulses. I don’t have a child that wants to sit and do activities for more than 5 minutes at a time, unless they involve sensory input that he craves. I don’t have a child that likes to brush his teeth, trim his fingernails, floss his teeth or get his hair cut, but he’s able to cope most of the time. I don’t have a child that is able to ask for help easily, and instead tries to do something off-limits or screams/whines for help before we can even register what is happening. With time, I’m confident OT and at-home snesory diet will help with these issues.

I do have a child whose smile lights up a room, and a laugh that breaths life into me. I do have a child that amazes me with the knowledge he picks up on a daily basis, who is inquisitive, creative and imaginative. I do have a child that loves his baby sister, even though we have to make sure he doesn’t hurt her when seeking sensory input. I do have a child that loves to talk unless he’s sleeping (and thank the lawd he doesn’t talk then!), and while that can be quite difficult for this introverted mama, he has the most interesting, sometimes nonsense but always creative, stories. I do have a child that gives hugs, kisses and ugga muggas most nights, and sits in our laps for story time at bed time. I do have a child that loves to play games, make art, read books, and listen to music, which are all things this mama loves, too. I do have a child with a beautiful heart that is trying to shine behind the clouds of his struggles.

I didn’t expect the child that I have, but I do expect to be the best mama for him.

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Parenting

Getting some answers

Today was my sweet son’s occupational therapy evaluation. We’ve suspected for some time that he might have some sensory processing and/or ADHD stuff going on. The therapist, who I really like, definitely noticed some of our concerns. We will get a full write up in time, but I told her that I wanted to start therapy ASAP, so that I can also learn to help him at home.

She greeted him first when we got there, and I think that went a long way with him warming up to her quickly. Todd and I filled out some questionnaires while she took him into a room to perform some activities that would allow her to observe his reactions to different sensory input. Then they came out into the big room, and she challenged his body, and got a sense of his vestibular (our ability, desire or avoidance of moving in space, like spinning or tumbling) and proprioceptive (our body’s ability to know where it is in space) situation. He’s definitely a seeker of input (wants to spin, run, push, pull, wrestle, etc etc) so I will need to create that environment at home, and give him other opportunities for it (tumble time, the park, etc).

She saw all of our concerns play out during the eval – auditory processing struggles, and the seeking of proprioceptive and vestibular input. She talked about how he likes to spin (he does this a lot at tumble time on the silks) and he did it on their inner-tube swing. She thinks the dizziness puts him into a high state of arousal that his brain seeks, but it can also spike him into fight or flight mode. She will give us tools to help with that.

Her main comment was that his chaos mode at the end of the day is likely because he hasn’t received the sensory input through the day that he needs, and his body is releasing all the pent-up shit. She is going to tell me how I can provide him with that input. Amen, sista! I don’t think this practice can diagnose something like ADHD, so we will start here and get further evals done with other professionals, if needed. Honestly, I don’t give 2 shits about diagnoses, I just want to know how to help him, and how to be better for him.

It’s a start.

We also finally took him to see a GI specialist, and have him on a colon clean out. He also has to sit on the potty after every meal, and he’s been doing great. He pees a lot, no poop yet, but since this is a behavioral thing, this is helping get him comfortable. Today, while in his room during quiet, I witnessed him take off his pull-up and sit down to pee. Talk about shocked…

Baby steps…

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Homeschool · Life · Parenting

It has been a hot minute since…

I’ve been around this here blog of mine. When I was last here, I announced my pregnancy with my daughter. My sweet baby girl turned 9 months old this month, so I’ve been missing in action for some time. I’m back, however, with a new idea for this blog.

Aren’t they precious?

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I’m going to try to focus this blog on my homeschooling pursuits. G is 3.5 now and I plan to start some basic homeschooling with him in August. He has already picked up quite a few things from our random days at home. I’m always doing something educational with him because it’s who I am, but he’s really picked up so much from life itself, plus lots of reading, PBS Kids, age appropriate apps on his Epic tablet and LOTS OF PLAY! He’s quite an imaginative kid!

Starting in August, I plan to use 2 different simple curriculum with him.

  • Build Your Library: Kindergarten “Around the World” curriculum – $25
    • For the price, this curriculum is great. I’ve purchased most of the main books and will get the rest from the library. This covers literacy, science, social studies, art and music. I just need to add in a little math play, some life skills, make sure there’s always hands-on/movement happening, and we’re set. I like that you only do a few topics every day, since we know young kids don’t have long attention spans. Overall, I don’t plan to spend more than an hour total on intentional schoolwork, and it will be broken up in bits and pieces.
  • Sadlier’s Getting Ready to Read with Mother Goose PreK/K: I found the student workbook at a used bookstore, and got the teacher’s manual on eBay for cheap. This may be an older curriculum, but the activities are so simple and easy to put together, and short in duration.

I’m not the type of person that can improv and fly by the seat of her pants. My mind doesn’t move quickly and I need time to think about how to do something. So, the more prepared I am, the better. I know that not everything will get done, and I will not be a slave to the plan. He’s only 3.5, so honestly, as long as we read and play, we’re good! I have a ton of activities on hand to pick and choose from so we don’t have scree-time driven days. I want to get better about that. I want to get him outside more too, because he loves it, but he’s also a serious homebody like myself.

We joined a local homeschool co-op and I’m really excited about signing him up for a class. It will get him around other kids and used to taking instruction from someone else. He’s already getting a taste of that in his swim lessons. He seems a little confused at times, but with social cues, he picks up on how to stand in a line, follow the leader, etc. He also does well with the instructor, even though I find her a little cold. He’s gotten much more used to the water and seems more confident. Anywho, we have a creepy crawly workshop in August with the co-op, and then classes start Aug 30. Registration is not yet open, but I hope he gets into a fun class. I’m going to volunteer in a leadership position, though I’m only an apprentice at this point. They need social media help, and you know I’ve got that covered! My mom’s also going to volunteer in the nursery, where she can be with baby Lowry and I can be in class with G for his first time. I may teach a class at some point, but I want to be with him this first time.

On another note, we are in the process of scheduling an evaluation with an Occupational Therapist for G. We suspect some sensory and/or ADHD issues. I know he’s only 3.5 but both parental instincts have been buzzing for about 6 months. ADHD runs on both sides of our family, so that wouldn’t be a stretch. The sensory thing is new to me though, but the more research and observation I do, the more I think something’s there. I definitely thing he’s a propreoceptive seeker. From what I understand, the propreoceptive system is the ability to sense where our body is relation to our surroundings. Apparently without this system, we wouldn’t know where are body parts are without looking. Anywho, they have seekers and avoiders. I think G is a seeker because he runs everywhere, has poor body awareness, kicks, bites or hits on occasion, chews incessantly, loves to gently tackle kids in bounce houses/gyms and has poor personal boundaries. Also, he loves doing things that provide input to the propreoceptive system, like pushing and pulling things (his toy shopping cart, any kid toy, riding his tricycle, wrestling, sweeping and mopping, jumping, climbing, rolling our giant exercise ball over him, using his hands for all the things, he loves play-doh, putty, slime, squeezing anything, loves to stir and knead…the list goes on. ADHD symptoms are present, but he is 3.5. I get it. It’s not my first time around kids (though he is my first), and having a social work background with children, something doesn’t feel right.

I just want him to feel as normal as possible, and also want help for me. I struggle some days with my patience and understanding. I try. I recognize it. Sometimes I can be calm and collected, but not getting great sleep, having a baby to care for and house to run, I get frustrated. I’m not doing great at caring for the house, but I’m trying to change that. Ugh. If I didn’t have my mom around to help, I’d be in a worse position, for sure!

 

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Great news for my family!

Last year was rough. Two miscarriages left me feeling pretty discouraged. Why the hell was my first pregnancy so completely normal and healthy but now I can’t keep babies alive?!? I know that is illogical, but it really is how some women feel. It took us almost 3 years to get pregnant with Gage, and we had to have professional intervention. Now I think I figured out what the issue was with my husband and I conceiving naturally, and we had 2 natural pregnancies last year. But they ended. You think the universe is laughing at you sometimes.

2016 is going to be different, and it’s going to be different because I am currently 15 weeks pregnant with baby #2! We’ve passed the scary time (though you are never truly out of danger), our genetic tests came back normal and we’ve heard the heartbeat twice now. I’m very much looking forward to the anatomy scan at 20 weeks just so I can see the lil booger.

This is what I shared on social media, as well as in person.

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It’s been really funny to watch people look at Gage and comment how cute is and not even notice the shirt. I’ve actually had to tell a few people to read his shirt. 😛

Genetic testing can reveal the gender, so we know that we are adding a baby girl to our family in October. My family will be complete at my ripe age of 37. Lawd have mercy on my soul. I wouldn’t have it any other way, however. And now that I will get to stay home with the lil buggers, life is seeming pretty sweet right now. Though, don’t get me wrong. A Stay At Home mom’s life is anything but easy, as I will soon find out, but I’m looking forward to all of the laughter and tears, back aches and piles of laundry.

Here’s hoping lil miss Lowry decides that she wants to join our family. I think about it daily and pray when I hit the sheets at night that she is still with us. Looking forward to meeting you, lil one. You have an amazing big brother who is truly going to be a treat in your life, as you will his.

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Parenting

Life is a changing!

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I have not been very consistent with blogging, mainly because I don’t feel like I have anything interesting to say. And also because I’ve been lazy in terms of my creative pursuits. I haven’t done much crafting lately. I pretty much spend my evenings reading and watching TV, which is fine, but I do miss my crafts. The energy is not there. Not sure if this mental or physical or both. Probably both. Always both. Ah well. I do have something I want to say now…

My husband is in his last year of psychiatry residency and he is currently negotiating his contract to remain with his institution as a clinician and associate medical director. I mean, WHAT? I’m truly over the moon proud of him. After much discussion, hubs and I decided that I will be leaving the (paid) working world this June to be come an (unpaid) stay at home mom. Well, I guess I will get paid in smiles, hugs, kisses, tantrums, bathroom accidents and booboos.

Hubs was raised by a SAHM and fully supports it, and it is something I really, really want to do. I have not felt the same passion for my work since G was born. I LOVE working with kids, and don’t plan to stop doing that, but I want nothing more than to be with him as he navigates early childhood and beyond. In fact, I’m already preparing to start a tot school with him and focus on preschool learning. My mom has been doing an awesome job with integrating education into his play every day. I’m amazed that he can count to 10 (eventually) and is starting to identify a few letters. Colors, I know, come later. The kid says blue for everything. 😛

I desperately want to home school G. Hubs is not fully on board with the idea, for various reasons that I understand. I plan to attend the Southeast Homeschool Expo this July to learn as much as I can so we can have an informed discussion. I want to do an eclectic type of home schooling, possibly join a coop, find home school families for field trips, etc. I don’t want the kid sitting with me 8 hours a day. That isn’t good for either of us, and especially not good for his social development.

I just want to do it. But if it turns out hubs just can’t deal with the idea, then we’ll find a non-public school. Because I live in Atlanta.

Sorry APS, but no.

Once things settle and I get into a grove with my new found duties of Mom Boss, I want to volunteer. Either tutor at the elementary school on my street,  become a mentor for my current organization or the refugee school in Decatur, or something I haven’t thought of yet. I love working with kids, and I want that to continue in some fashion.

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