How old are you???

I was frantically getting the house ready for yet another showing today and was working in the master bath, getting it  mopped etc.  My four year old decides to help, taking the Clorox wipes to clean down every surface he can find.  It’s awesome!  Who is going to turn down help when you need it?

I had no idea just how important he thought he was until he comes into our bathroom to let me know that while he was cleaning the front door the “kids” were watching a movie!

Too cute.  Love that kid!!!!!

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It Could Be Worse.

I’ve heard that his entire life.  It was a difficult birth that resulted in him in the NICU.  At the time all anyone knew or would tell us was that he couldn’t breathe and have any other kind of stimulation at the same time, or he’d stop breathing.  I had to leave the hospital without my baby.  What I heard from “seasoned” moms was “It could be worse.”.  They were right.  He could have died at birth.  He could have had cerebral palsy.  He could have had trisomy 18 and not lived at all.  It could have been.  But at that moment, for me, it was bad enough.  I was home without my new baby.  When I was at the hospital I wasn’t allowed to hold him, or rock him, or kiss him.  It could have been worse, but it was bad enough.

His hospital stay only lasted 5 days.  His breathing resolved itself, which I found out from doing research later was entirely expected.  He didn’t have a life threatening condition.  What he had going on was relatively common, transient tachypnea of the newborn, TTN.  We were just being treated by hospital staff as if they owned our child.  I still have issues with that, but that’s for another day.

His challenging days didn’t get better.  As he grew he became distant and aggressive.  He was brilliant and his gross motor skills were far advanced for his age, which meant he hurt himself a lot.  Being able to climb anything around you but not being old enough to have the judgement or fear necessary to decide not to climb it meant for some pretty precarious situations.  He didn’t seek out affection or comfort when he was hurt, he wanted to be alone.  He didn’t want to hug, or kiss or love on anyone.  He refused to sleep, often not falling asleep until well past 2 am only to wake again by 7 and, unfortunately, he wouldn’t stay in bed and refused any sort of rocking etc.  So we were “on” all night trying to keep him out of everything. 

I could go on and on.  He “escaped” all the time, at 12 mos.  Bath time was horrific.  Screaming and thrashing.  Often we would end up getting a bath as well, having to step into the shower with him to get him bathed.  Then there was the eating of all things not food.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called poison control.  For the record, Desitin won’t kill you.  Neither will most shampoos and lotions and soaps.  Chapstick is fine to ingest, and lipstick makes for wonderful diapers.  There was also the smearing.  Turning my back for five minutes meant every smooth surface in the kitchen would be covered in jelly, or peanut butter, or whatever other thing he could get ahold of.   All of the time through this I kept hearing from people who didn’t have to live in this house with this child “It could be worse.”.  And they were right, it could be, but this was bad enough.

Schooling has been difficult.  He has fine motor delays and sensory issues to writing will bring about screaming and thrashing.  He has some auditory defensiveness so meal times can be hell.  The sound of people’s fork and chewing will drive him to even more screaming.  We’ve not had a peaceful meal in seven years.  But, it could be worse. 

We’ve had family members just tell us to give  him a good spanking, that’ll finally teach him.   Right.  Because we’ve not already tried every, single trick in the book.  Traveling is exhausting.  We are en pointe the entire time we’re away making sure that we know what he’s doing, where he’s at and how his tolerance level is.  We just can’t deal with the screaming when not in the comfort of our home very well.  Not to mention the lack of judgement he has, which makes being in other people’s homes quite challenging.  He doesn’t have the verbal filter, or the impulse control needed to keep out of things he shouldn’t be in.  But, it could be worse.  The compassion that familiar people show towards children of friends with special needs is not always present when dealing with our child.  There have been explanations galore, but it’s hard to see, or maybe admit,  when you’re related, that there is an actual problem.

We now have a diagnosis.  PDD-NOS.  He’s a brilliant kid.  So incredibly smart.  He’s got great promise.  He’s come such a long way in such a short time.  On a good day he can bathe himself, he will take himself out of the room at dinner time to go eat in a quiet place by himself.  He will allow us to hug and kiss him.  He even hugs us!!  School is a constant battle, but not one I think the public system would be willing to mess with. 

Could it be worse? 

absolutely.

Is it without challenge?

no.

Not for him, or ourselves.

So, if you’re ever tempted to look at me, or any other parent, and spout from what you believe to be your infinite wisdom about how much worse life could be, do me a favor and go ahead and smack yourself, so I don’t have to.  You have no idea what you’re deeming “not bad enough”.

Guardian Angels ROCK

I have this whole post I’ve been trying to write for an entire week about Grandpa’s funeral and one of the ministers there.  I just can’t get it written.  The words aren’t coming out right, they’re all discombobulated and wonky.  I am going to guess it’s because I’m a big-mouthed southern girl that doesn’t always pick up on what the most charitable thing to say or do would be so my guardian angel is working over time trying to keep his hand clamped over my big mouth before I talk myself into more trouble than I can handle right now.

I’ll just go with that.

Don’t know his name, but I am grateful for him all the same!

liturgy

Grandpa died two weeks ago this past Friday. 

It was not entirely unexpected, he was, after all, in his eighties and had just had major surgery to remove a significant amount of cancer, of which they could only retrieve a portion, and discovered more than was expected.  However, while not a surprise, it was terribly painful for my husband and I.  We miss him so much.  He nearly raised dh as a boy, his own father not quite ready to take the responsibility for raising a child.   He was a wonderful, strong and comforting old man who loved to fish and loved his grandkids and great-grandkids.   He was the last grandfather I had. 

His funeral was on Monday afternoon in a small town in NE Oklahoma.  He helped build the church where his body was remembered.  It was surreal for us to be at a protestant funeral.  They are not nearly as comforting as the ritual and liturgy and prayers of a beautiful Catholic funeral Mass.  I could write volumes on the benefits of liturgy,  the comfort of the familiar when your heart is heavy with grief.  I could, but I don’t think I could do it justice.  I will say that nothing in the world makes me more grateful to my parents for the gift of my faith as death and life. 

The Tradition of The Church fills a heart so much more completely and wholly than a mismatched conglomerate of odd prayers and “required” reading from the Sacred Word.  It is so disheartening to hear a “minister” say ” I feel obligated to read something from the Bible today.”  Obligated.  We are sending our dear and wonderful Grandpa to Heaven (which is at least our hope) to spend eternity with the Risen Lord, and you are reading from Sacred Scripture because you “feel obligated”???? 

 What The Church gives us in her wisdom is hope.  Real, live, tangible HOPE.  The entire process is filled with things that are tangible and familiar, the songs, the readings, the incense.  It’s all sacred and holy and right,  the last opportunity to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, here on Earth, with someone you’ve loved as long as you can remember.  The ability to grieve with the comfort of Christ present in the Eucharist is beyond words, being able to focus time and attention away from our selfish desire to remember our loss and turn more towards the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection fills our souls with such great comfort knowing that there is a promise of eternal life to all of us because of that mystery.  The final commendation, when we very deliberately and specifically beg the angels and saints to “receive his soul and present it to God” is so healing and hopeful, our final act of love.  It gives such a sense of closure and completeness that can not be found outside of the liturgy.

We did not have this beautiful and comforting ritual this time.  We had a very chaotic and mismatched mess of ministers who seemed to give little thought to anything outside of their own part in this odd and unscripted play.  It was almost comedic to witness.  The comfort we do have  lies in the fact that now Grandpa can fully participate in Mass with us.  That we can offer prayers for his soul and ask him for strength in our journey is of great comfort. 

That and the realization that this faith that we’ve been given, handed from generation to generation, is a great and beautiful gift.  Something to never, ever be taken for granted.

conspiracy theory

I think my children are conspiring against me. 

They beg and beg for bananas, so I buy them.  Then they (the bananas, not the children) sit on the counter until they turn brown, not a single one touched by children’s fingers.  It’s only then that I realize they’ve made a pact not to eat a single one, not one.  Because if they sit and turn brown mom will inevitably make banana bread.  I love them.

I have to say that I do make the most incredible banana bread in the world, more cake than bread, and oh so yummy.  Who can blame them?