small? pshaw, I don’t think so!

We were treated to a “small victory” today at OT (occupational therapy).

Our son (asperger’s, pdd-nos diagnosis) has been struggling with the ability to see “fault”.  Doesn’t seem like much, he’s only 7, nearly 8 and what child gets that at that age, right?  Sorta.  Every child can clearly see right and wrong.  Most children have a strong sense of empathy (pretend to cry in front of  a two-year old!) and can, on some level, understand that what they did hurt others and that it wasn’t the fault of the others that they got hurt.  Unless you’re the kind of kid our number 4 is and just can’t see it. 

He hasn’t been able to see it, ever.  It’s becoming quite a burden for the family to bear.  If you sniff too loudly he deems it as disgusting.  It gets his feathers all fluffed and then off he goes swinging.  His excuse for hitting, when asked, is usually “it’s so and so’s fault!!! If they weren’t so annoying I wouldn’t have hit them!”.  I can certainly understand the logic behind the argument and wish at times I could use it as an adult, but I can’t.  Somehow I don’t think “he’s an idiot” would hold up in court against charges of assault.  It makes disciplining him a challenge.  If he truly believes he’s free from blame then what do you do?  Any discipline is found to be unjust and is met with quite an uproar (because he does have a strong sense of justice)

We’ve been working on “perspective” a lot at OT.  LOTS of role-playing and reenacting scenes from the previous week have seemingly been met with the same discouraging indifference week by week, until this week.   There was a social story in which his little brother was annoying him endlessly, there were good choices to deal with the annoyance that were discussed and then the negative actions that are typical were addressed.  He was questioned about the negative choices and asked “whose fault is it if little bro is hurt because you’re angry?”  His answer?????

Are you ready?

“mine.”

Yep.  He said “mine”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He said that if his brother annoyed him that was brother’s fault but that he was in control of his body and it was wrong to hit and kick because he was annoyed.  If he hit little bro, it wasn’t little bro’s fault but his own!!!!!!!  HIS OWN!!!!!!

I can’t even begin to explain what a break through this really is.  The OT let him get something out of the “prize box” .  It’s quite an event!  We’re so far past proud of him and what he’s accomplished in the five short years we’ve had him in therapy.  I am so excited!!!!!  He’s pretty proud of himself as well.  As we were leaving the OT mentioned being thankful for the “small victories”

I laughed. 

Small?  No. 

HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!

To God be the glory!!

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because life is nothing if not complicated

Just a quick update.  Grandma didn’t get to have surgery this past week.  There are mixed feelings about this.  She needs the surgery.  She’s in a lot of pain and the surgery could make that better.   On the other hand, at her age and in her heart condition it was quite risky.

She got to the hospital on Tuesday and her heart was racing.  I don’t know what the official diagnosis was, the family members there didn’t think to ask that question.  Since her heart was already not doing well they postponed the surgery a bit to see if they could get the heartbeat back to a relatively normal rhythm.  It took them five hours.  After that expanse of time they opted not to operate.  No one was convinced her heart could take it.  She’s back home, and still in pain. 

We were able to stay here for Thanksgiving, which was best for my children, and had a great weekend.  We’re constantly praying for Grandma as she struggles with her health.  We’re not quite sure how to help her, if we go up there, we are (because of our sheer numbers) nearly a burden to her.  However, we feel like we should be doing something to help.  It’s a weird catch twenty-two situation.

Doncha just love the holidays?

One more Thanksgiving

Having one of those days. 

It’s a rainy Monday here, which isn’t altogether bad as we’ve not had rain in quite a while and the ground is crazy thirsty.  It just added to the ambiance of the day.  There’s a country song and the refrain is “Tomorrow’s another day, and I’m thirsty anyway, so bring on the rain”.  Totally feeling it today.  Wish I weren’t but there it is.

I had been planning, all year, to have Thanksgiving dinner here, at our new home.  Been looking forward to it for quite a while.  Menu has been tweaked and re-tweaked more times than I can count.  Several trips to the local Hobby Lobby to get more decorations because the ones we had just weren’t sufficient for a houseful of guests.  Lots of prep.  Was going to go shopping for everything but produce this week.  Lots of plans.

But, as often happens, life has gotten in the way.  My hubs grandma, his last remaining grandparent, seems to have had some troubles these last few months.  She’s been in a lot of pain.  A few trips to the doc revealed that she has cancer, or at least what they believe to be so.  It’s in her colon.  It’s nearly blocking it completely.  Something has to be done.  She is in a lot of pain.  We don’t know where else it is.  We don’t know where it originated.  All we know is she’s hurting and something has to be done.  This strong pillar of the family is starting to crumble, just months after we buried her husband of 60 years. 

It’s so hard to know what to say or do right now.  Doc wants to operate, remove the diseased part of her colon and hope for the best.  It’s in her best interest to do so, it would certainly ease the pain at the absolute very least. 

But we’re scared.  Grandpa went into surgery to remove a diseased, cancer ridden, body part and never, ever came home.  He just didn’t have enough left to fight his way back from surgery and he died. 

I know at some point we’re going to have to say goodbye to grandma, but the reality that it could be coming up sooner rather than later is a bit un-nerving. 

The doc has scheduled the surgery for November 24.  The day before Thanksgiving. 

I’m angry.  At the doc for doing it right before the holiday, when it’s likely he won’t even be reachable if there is a problem, and completely changing the (possibly last) Thanksgiving holiday we have with her.  Then I get mad at myself because we weren’t exactly planning on spending it with her and I’m just being selfish that I can’t do what I wanted to instead.  There is a little bit of anger here at God as well.  That this is the kink He thought would be good to throw into my plans really isnt’ something I find amusing.  Then I start to realize that all of my selfish anger is born out of fear.  I am afraid (once again, selfishly) that we are going to lose grandma just like we lost grandpa.  I am afraid that we are going to have yet another funeral to attend this year and that my dh’s heart won’t be able to take it.  I am afraid of what tomorrow may bring.

Then I remember that song.  Tomorrow’s another day, and I’m thirsty anyway, so bring on the rain. 

God is calling us home for Thanksgiving.  Possibly the last we’ll get to spend with Grandma.  I can’t waste anymore of my time being angry and afraid.  I need to be thankful.  Thankful that my heavenly Father knew what was best and knew how to make sure that we listened.  Thankful that we are given the clear and obvious opportunity to spend one more Thanksgiving with a woman we love and admire and can’t imagine life without.  His divine plan is always better.  Always best.  Always.

evaluating time

Trying to take a look at my week and make better sense of it.  I feel like I’m in the midst of a tornado and just keep going around and around and around.  I’m not the best mom I could be and it’s very disconcerting to know so intimately your imperfections.  I’m pretty sure, if I could get a handle on our schedule, that I could, maybe, possibly stop (or at least slow down) the tornado. 

I know that there are people with schedules that are much more hectic than my own and deal quite well.  I have to figure out how they do it and keep from having the kids believe that eating IN McDonalds is what qualifies as a home cooked meal.  (Do you know how much that place costs for a family of eight?????)  There are obvious organizational things, like making a menu, that I am working on putting in place, but I can’t help but wonder what else I could be doing.  Should I be making sandwiches to keep in the van on the most hectic days?  Should we all walk around with our bottles of water that don’t leave our side, like we’re at scout camp in the summer?  How do I make the most out of the days that I don’t leave the van for 4 hours?  Are there things I could be doing, places I could be going, that would make life easier?

So much evaluating to be done.

Now, if I could just find the time…

another school post

I think I need to redefine the direction of my blog.  Not sure what my purpose is here right now and I’m trying to figure that one out.   Bear with me while I work out the bugs in my brain.

School is going quite well so far.  We’re still feeling “behind” which I am finding is just the nature of our particular homeschool.  I just need to learn to embrace it and move on.   We’re still using Catholic Heritage Curricula for the most part with just a few modifications and it still seems to be working quite well.  I thought I’d try to use a different curriculum that was more Charlotte Mason centered, but it wasn’t working into our family as well as I’d hoped.  Now we’re just going back to the CHC and molding it to fit more into the Charlotte Mason mold.  We’ll see what we end up with by the end of the year.

One of our challenges with CHC was their second grade social studies.  They study the continents for the year and it’s put together well, but I am no artist and it depends upon having a large-scale map of the continent for the child to utilize during the lesson.  They suggest drawing it out but that was NOT working for me, so my first boy just didn’t get that subject very well.  He’s survived and is doing his work, in 4th/5th grade  just fine without those lessons in second grade, but I was hoping to get it done with the second son, now in second grade.  I was trying to figure out what to do about all of this when I visited a friend’s home where I saw large maps of the continents hung on walls.  I asked her about it and what do you know, there is a website where you can print the maps, one page at a time and attach them together!  Answer to prayer, and we’re having a ball now with our map work, and learning a ton!  Love it when challenges have an easy fix.  Here’s hoping the rest of the year’s issues are resolved as easily!

Thought I’d add the website just in case you’re curious.   http://www.yourchildlearns.com/megamaps/print-world-maps.html  We print up the 4 page map and glue it to poster board to make it more sturdy since we have several weeks worth of activities to do with it. 

Now to try out the printable stickers to add native animals etc to the map…