Confessions of an SPD Mom

SPD stands for Sensory Processing Disorder.  What is SPD you ask?  Here is a SHORT simple video that gives a good simple explanation:

Caleb has SPD and has been going to Occupational Therapy (OT) every week for just about one year now.

Before OT he couldn’t get a haircut without screaming, crying, basically being in terror and saying his haircut hurt.  I had to sit in the chair with him on my lap and hold him down the whole time.  During his last haircut he didn’t shed ONE tear, sat mostly still and even let her use the clippers!!  The change is unbelievable!

Before OT he couldn’t get his finger or toe nails cut without thrashing, screaming, crying and telling us we were hurting him.  It took TWO adults to hold him down and cut his toe nails (and usually ended with Caleb AND me crying!)  Last night I cut his toes AND fingers without ONE SINGLE tear and almost no kicking or thrashing!  I was so proud of him (and he was proud of himself!) that I gave him a piece of candy even AFTER he had already brushed his teeth!  😉

In addition to the physical difficulties his SPD affects his brain functions.  His brain has a hard time with the higher brain functions.  So when something is different (out of routine he prefers) or he is told “no” or plans change he goes straight to tantrum.  He has a hard time understanding that (for example) “you can’t play that game right now, but in 5 minutes I will sit down and play with you.”  He can’t think through the “not now but later yes” part of the situation.

He has a very difficult time with new food.  Even the same food but prepared differently.  It’s frustrating to only be able to prepare the same several meals all the time.  For example, mac and cheese HAS to be only the Kraft macaroni and cheese.  He has had the same lunch for the last 4 years!  OT, and growing up, has helped him be a bit more adventurous and try new things, but it is a STRUGGLE!

There are so many things that OT has helped him with this past year.

But there are still so many struggles!  So many difficult things to deal with every moment of every day.

Here’s the confession part.  I feel guilty all the time.

Summer vacation is almost done.  I feel so guilty saying this, but I’m just being real….

I’m actually excited for school to start again!  I HATE saying that, but summer vacation has been pretty tough.

Caleb doesn’t play well on his own (unless it’s video games).  He doesn’t do well with imaginative play.  He needs to be entertained or have me play WITH him.  But he also has such a hard time focusing on anything for longer than a few minutes.  So, we pull out the play-doh, but he’s done with it in a few minutes and ready to move on to something else.  I run out of ideas quickly!

I’m also not good at structure and routine.  School is good for him in some ways because it provides that structure and routine that is hard to get at home, especially with a little sister around.

I need to be doing so much more therapy with him at home but it’s so hard to fit it in.  Adara is getting speech therapy and OT as well as Caleb getting OT.  So they both have things I need to do with them along with diaper changes, meals, naps, cleaning, grocery shopping, playing, etc.  It’s frustrating to me when I get to the end of the day and see how much I did NOT do with them!

And the NOISE!  OMG THE NOISE!!

Part of Caleb’s SPD is needing input in his body all the time.  One of his big issues is craving input in his mouth and face.  So he makes noises.  ALL. THE. TIME. He goes through phases of what noise he makes.  Just recently it was a farting sound on his arm.  Now it has switched to a weird throat sound.  He also yells a lot, sometimes just talks loud.  But lots of yelling.  And Adara wants to be just like her big brother, so she’s taken to yelling a lot!  Some days the noise of a day just puts me over the edge!!

I feel guilty for being annoyed by him and his issues.  I feel guilty for not helping him more.  I feel guilty that I want him to go to school again.

And I feel guilty for thinking about how this affects ME.

Because it’s HIS poor little body that is dealing with all this!  HE is the one who has all these things firing in his brain and his body making him hyper and need to make noise and not able to sit still or focus.  It’s HIS brain that is misfiring in his body.

And then my heart breaks for him.  I wonder how this will affect him throughout his life.

As much as I would like for him to go back to school, I fear for him.  I wonder how the other kids in school will deal with his noises.  I wonder, as he gets older, what kids will say when he sits too close to them because he needs to feel someone next to him to tell his body where he is in space.  I wonder if kids will tease him because he needs extra tools and allowances in class to help him focus on his work and he still doesn’t get as much done as the other kids.

I pray God protects his sweet little heart from the whispers, the names he might be called, the glares.  I pray God helps his body to regulate, to recalibrate so he can have less challenges.  I pray that as he grows up he will be able to find what helps his body feel better and be able to do that for himself.  I pray that God uses this in his life to touch others, to show others God’s unconditional love and acceptance.

SPD is tough for the whole family.  But I don’t want to get so focused on how hard it is on ME and forget how hard it is on HIM!

God has blessed me with two amazing kids who need a little extra help with things.  He created them so special, beautiful and wonderful.  And just right for our family!

Pimps need prayer too

So, if you haven’t heard, this week the FBI made a HUGE bust and rescued over 100 girls from child sex trafficking!!!  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT????   You can read a short article about it here if you haven’t heard this amazing news yet.  In Wisconsin alone 10 girls were rescued – the second highest city in the bust!  Read a short update about that here.

These girls were freed from slavery!  Where do they go from here?  That’s why Exploit No More exists!  We want to provide a home full of support, love, encouragement and healing where these girls can go and let God restore them and make them new so they don’t return to that lifestyle.  Here’s a short video about Exploit No More.  I hope you get involved through prayer, volunteering (if you’re in the area) and donating – it costs a lot of money to get this started!

As much as I would LOVE to go on and on about those precious girls and Exploit No More, that’s not the point of this post.

As I was celebrating the huge bust the FBI did this weekend and praying for the girls who were rescued, God challenged me with something.

How much do we want those pimps to pay for what they did to those girls??  The torture they inflicted physically, mentally, emotionally.  The fact they they sold these girls to men as an object to be used and abused in any way they desired.  The fact that these pimps kidnapped some of the girls, held them against their will, controlled them with fear and torture.  They inflicted mental, emotional and physical scars that will stay with them their whole lives.

How much does our humanness want them to PAY DEARLY for what they’ve done??  We want them to rot in jail!  To never experience freedom again!  To be abused the way they abused!

But God asked me to pray for them.  He reminded me these pimps are His children too.  He died for them just the same as he died for me or the precious girls who were rescued.  He loves them and wants better for them.  He wants a relationship with them.  He wants to heal them of their wounds, their pain, He wants to make them whole too.  And He wants to make them new so that they never choose that path again.

As much as we hate what they’ve done and the fact that they may not have any remorse for what they’ve chosen to do to another human being, we need to pray that they would let God get a hold of their heart, that they would learn of Him, His love and His desire to heal them.

Praying for the pimps does NOT negate or diminish our prayers, love and care for the girls who were rescued.  It just expands our hearts to try to see people more the way God sees them.

Reflections from a Kindergarten mom

IMG_6023It’s the end of the school year.  Many of my friends have already had their child’s last day of school year and are already counting down the days until school starts again in fall!

Tomorrow Caleb has a half day.  3 more hours of kindergarten are all that’s left for my sweet little guy.  Tomorrow will be the last day I drop him off and pick him up from the safety of his own door, enjoying his own playground play structure, his own bathroom inside his classroom…..

Next year, for first grade, he joins the “general population”!  He will use the bathroom in the hallway, not right inside his classroom.  He will use the door that the big kids use.  He will play on the play structure that all the other kids play on.

I’m already panicking!  BIG TIME!

Today was his school’s “Honors Assembly”.  I was blessed to attend and sat next to his teacher and helped keep 16 kindergarteners “still” and quiet for a ONE AND A HALF HOUR ASSEMBLY!!  Caleb earned 5 awards!  I was SO proud!!  And he was pretty excited too!  He LOVED having me there with him!

But as the kids all came into the gym, I looked at the third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders (who incidentally look like HIGH SCHOOLERS!!) and leaned over to Caleb’s teacher and whispered, “our kids are never going to look like that, right??”  She has 2 kids almost the same ages as Caleb and Adara.  We were both lamenting at the thought of our little ones growing up and being such big kids!

I watch the kids on the playground when I drop Caleb off in the morning.  The clusters of girls all huddled together comparing hair and clothes, letting out squeals and giving hugs when their friends show up.  The boys running and grunting and being boys.

And it’s SO HARD for me to believe that my littles are ever going to be that big.  It’s scary.  Quite honestly, I don’t like how some of those kids act.  I’d be heartbroken if Adara acted the way some of those girls act.  I would be mortified if Caleb talked the way some of those boys do.

But, I sadly realize, that I will have to let them grow up.  I will have to let them become 1st, 4th, 6th, 8th, 12th graders.

Because I have not yet discovered a way to stop or slow time.  Google just doesn’t have an answer for that one!

So, I remind myself that NOW is important!  I need to keep working to instil values in them NOW so that they are ingrained in them when they are older.  The discussion I have with Caleb now about being kind to a friend on the playground and not pushing them will translate to seeing value in their classmates when he is older and a classmate is being pushed around by someone else.  Teaching him now be respectful when the teacher tells Caleb to line up for recess will translate to having respect for himself and others when it comes time for “feelings” to be awakened in him when he sees a girl {SHUDDER!!}.

Teaching Adara, even now, that she is valued, beautiful, and loved will translate to her not needing to show so much skin later even when it’s “fashionable”.  It will instill in her a deep love for herself, based on who God has created her to be, so she doesn’t need to seek that elsewhere.  She will be taught to see the value in herself AND others so that she doesn’t become a gossip and embraces those around her, even if they aren’t “cool”.

These days are so fleeting.  This school year has gone by in the blink of an eye!  I feel like I was just bawling after dropping my baby off for his first day of kindergarten, and now I’m bawling because my baby is done with kindergarten.  And it’s just going too fast.  And I don’t know if he knows how proud I am to be his mom and how deeply I love him.  And how incredibly special, wonderful and amazing he is.

Cuz I only have 12 more years until he leaves for college!

Are you willing to be BRAVE?

I heard this song, Brave by Sara Barielles, and I instantly thought, “I have to make a video for Exploit No More!”

You may have seen some posts here about human trafficking and the inhumane, horrible issue that it is.  Exploit No More is an organization in Milwaukee working to not only stand up to sex trafficking, but also provide a house for aftercare for girls who want to get out of sexual slavery.

I hope you will take a couple minutes to view this video and seriously think about supporting ENM in some way.  Even if you’re not in the Milwaukee area, you can still support this amazing organization.  Check out their website and see how you can volunteer and/or donate.

So much weight

I’m in a “messy head space” kinda way these days.  My best defense is usually to write it out, so I hope you will excuse me while I “vomit” out on the keyboard for a moment.

One year ago this month we were in the hospital with Adara for her heart problems.  We were admitted April 7 and discharged May 7 with her surgery being April 25.  I’m thankful BEYOND WORDS for how God chose to heal her and how well she is doing now!  But this time still takes me back to those days in my memory and I feel the weight of those days.  Being torn between my two precious kids, living at the hospital watching Adara struggle to gain weight, missing Caleb and his hugs, hearing about his day, his sweet smiles.  I’m just so thankful for where this year has taken Adara and her health!

Three years ago I had to close Veritas.  I don’t know why, but this hit me really hard while I was sitting at church yesterday.  Nothing brought it up at all, it just fell on me like a ton of bricks.  I miss so much of “my old life” sometimes.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being able to be home with my kids.  It’s just that I feel like I’m not living out my calling.  I do believe I am called by God to be these kids’ mom and to take care of their (many) needs.  But I just have this nagging feeling that there’s more.

Caleb is going to (finally) go through all the evaluation at school to be able to get help at school for his SPD.  We’ve been waiting for this all school year.  Through their evaluations they should (hopefully) also be able to see if anything else is going on with him.  This will get everything set up for next year so he can get whatever he needs at school to be most successful.  He really is smart – he’s already been reading at a first grade level and doing so well with math!  He just has so many struggles with focusing, social issues, etc. due to his SPD.  While I am SO glad this is finally getting in order at school, it’s hard.  It’s like it makes it more real somehow.  I just so want him to be happy and successful at school, so I’m glad it’s happening.  I just wish there was no need for it.  It’s hard as a mom to see your child struggle.  It just breaks my heart sometimes.

I’ve really bee struggling off and on with the affair lately.  Again, nothing really triggers it, it just happens sometimes.  Tim’s work schedule is REALLY crazy right now.  They have a SUPER busy month so he literally isn’t home very much.  And when he is home he is so wiped out and preoccupied with work (his job requires that he be on call 24/7 so he gets lots of texts, emails and phone calls) that there isn’t really any time for “us”.  Things that we need to work on are just going to have to wait until next month.  And that’s not the end of the world, it’s just that I feel kinda lonely in the meantime.

There are times I just wish God would sit on the couch with me and chat.  I’d love a few good hugs too!  I wish I could just talk all this out with Him and hear His answers to why and what do I do now?  I’ll do it, just tell me what You want me to do.  I want that “big picture” He sees so clearly, not this tiny view I have.

At church yesterday the pastor was talking about a tough budget meeting they were going to have after church and explained that there are people with the gift of faith who just want to make more room for God to work….and there are those who are more into looking at the numbers and making everything balance properly.  And both are needed!

Well, I think I have that gift of faith.  At least most of the time.  I still have faith that God is going to work all this out and will be with me each moment of each day.  I’m thankful for that.  I just wish this could all be worked out.  Or to at least have the plan laid out in front of me!

But, I guess if I had the plan laid out in front of me, that wouldn’t require faith then, huh??