Archive for May, 2011

Mornings . . .

Angry Talk (Comic Style)

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Mornings are always a little tricky around here.

Every morning before school, I wake everyone in time to do their morning ritual stuff and have a few minutes left over for leisure or laziness or TV or whatever.  I am mostly busy getting Chloe ready for school since she is dependent for each step in the morning.  Paul is mostly busy getting himself ready for work.  Elliot gets up and gets himself ready with no reminders or prompts from us.  (THANK YOU, GOD!!)  But both Paul and I sneak in now and then, reminding Zippy to stay on task and complete his morning jobs — clothes, medicine, socks and shoes.

A lot of mornings, someone gets mad or frustrated.  A lot of mornings all of us get mad and frustrated.  A lot of mornings, Zippy goes to school with his hair looking unkept.  A lot of mornings, Zippy is threatened that he will get left behind and will get a tardy at school.  A lot of mornings, I am grateful to close the door behind my 3 boys as my house sighs with relief at the peace and quiet.

Zippy has also been greatly struggling with disrespect and disobedience.  Neither comes naturally for us, does it?  But lately it has been a huge problem for Zachary.  I have pointed out to him over and over again that he is pretending to be his own boss and acting like Mom and Dad are not his bosses.  I have been trying to teach him that the attitude of a 10 year old being his own boss is sinful and it is very dangerous.  It has been really bad lately.  It really has.  It makes homelife not be very much fun for anyone.  There have been many privileges lost and many hours spent in his room.

After a week filled with horrible mornings last week, on Friday I woke Zippy up and informed him that he was on his own to get ready for school.  I set a timer for him so he would know when he had 10 minutes left.  I reminded him that no one would remind him of his jobs since he is well aware of what his jobs are.  And when it was time for Dad and Elliot to leave that they would leave with him if he was ready and without him if he wasn’t ready.

The clock was ticking, the minutes were progressing, and Zippy laid around doing none of his morning jobs.  The timer went off, indicating that the van would be leaving for school in 10 minutes.  Zachary still did none of his jobs.  I heard him say once, “I’ve done all of this stuff in FIVE minutes before. . . ”  The minutes continued to pass.  Zachary continued to do nothing.  After he asked Paul several times how many more minutes he had, I explained that he was not allowed to ask that question any more since he was his own boss this morning — he knows what time Dad leaves and can do the math on how many minutes are left.

About 2 minutes before time for Paul to leave for school, Zippy appeared in the hallway and prancing and bragging got my attention:  “Hi, Mom!  Look at me!”  I looked up to see him naked.  He was showing off that he wasn’t the least bit concerned.  He was his own boss, and he had this timer thing down pat.  He would wait til the last minute to begin his jobs because he COULD wait til the last minute to do his jobs.  I pointed out to him then that he was bragging to me that he was his own boss and that I had a feeling it was not going to turn out so well for him today.

It was about that time that Zachary started getting ready for school.  And while he got his clothes, he chanted, “I can do this.  I can do this.”  When Paul and Elliot said goodbye and headed out the door, Zachary was getting his socks on and chanting, “I can do this.  I can do this.”  He ran into the kitchen to take his medicines and was chanting a little faster, “I can do this.  I can do this.”  As he grabbed his backpack and ran out the door, he cheerfully called, “Bye, Mom!” and pulled the door shut behind him as he ran out the front door.

And then I heard the first scream — “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”  That first scream was followed by several more screams and wails from the front yard.  I knew that he had been left behind.  And he was somehow surprised by it.

He ran back inside throwing things, banging things, and screaming and yelling.  He flailed around in anger screaming, “I HATE MYSELF!!!  I HATE MYSELF!!” for about 20 minutes.  He made quite a mess in the process.  I just stayed quiet and prayed that he was learning a life lesson.

After a bit I did remind him of his little “Hi, Mom.  Look at me!” moment and asked how he thought that was all working for him now.  It just increased the vigor of his yelling, “I HATE MYSELF!!!”

I informed him that I could take him to school after I had my shower.  I took my time and showered while he continued to destroy the house in anger.  After my shower and after he had calmed down and was repentant, I took him to school.

That’s how mornings have been at our house lately.  I won’t even tell you about the morning that ended in Zachary running, angry and upset, out the front door in his underwear and laid on his belly under the van in the driveway for a while.  No, I won’t tell you about that one.

So this morning when I woke Zachary up, I reminded him of how terrible Friday was when he was his own boss.  Upon remembering that horrible memory, he jumped up and quickly got dressed.  A little later he got very angry at Paul for turning off the radio.  He barged into Chloe’s room and told me how angry he was at Daddy.  I talked him through the problem and helped him redirect so we wouldn’t completely lose yet another morning’s peace.

Later as I walked through the living room, Zachary grabbed me by the waist and said, “I love you, Mom, because you help me with my anger.  You help me when I’m really, really angry.”  And there it was — a rare, yet cherished moment of self-realization.  A time of personal growth.  A time of really getting it.  A rare ‘Aha!’ moment for Zachary.

Praying in desperation again and again and again:  Lord Jesus, please give us wisdom as we train our children.  Give us grace and patience and insight.  And protect Zachary’s heart, God.  Help us, Lord!  And help me guide him to more and more times of personal growth!

New Wheels

(This post is a couple of months old . . . but I finally took a photo of my van today.)

Well, Chloe’s friend, Ashlyn, can’t say that Chloe’s mom has monster wheels anymore because Chloe’s mom has a new car!

Yep, I got a new van.  Well, a new-to-me van, anyway.  My old van (that I still to this day dearly love) was missing 3 hubcaps.  We replaced them several times, but the things kept popping off so we stopped replacing them years ago.  And that’s how Ashlyn recognized Chloe’s mom’s van — “the monster wheels!”

But not anymore!  Because Chloe’s mom is driving a new van with pretty wheels.

The story is that both Paul’s car and my van are really up in years and miles — both pushing 200,000 miles!  Recently Paul’s car was in need of a new transmission which was going to cost considerably more than the car was worth.  We felt it was probably time to say good-bye to it and upgrade my vehicle and pass my old van to Paul.  (I should probably call it something other than my old van since Paul is still driving it . . . maybe like my silver van . . . yes, that’s better.)

So the other week when I was away for the weekend at the Inclusion Works conference, Paul loaded up all three kids and headed to the dealership to test drive a van he had found online.

I’m sure the salesman was thrilled to see him coming with three crazy kids and a carseat, but I certainly think Paul should win some sort of bravery award for his efforts!

We had talked about criteria.  I had only two criteria for our new vehicle:  2nd row bucket seats because I like to take one of the seats out to make more room for moving around and a great spot for diaper changes; and enough space in the cargo area to hold a wheelchair.  That’s all that mattered to me.

Zippy wanted the 3rd row seats to rotate and face backward.  I’m guessing that’s something he’s seen on TV.

Elliot wanted it to be a GM, and he wanted it to be blue.  He had just toured the GM plant with my parents during Super Bowl week and really loved it.  His favorite car that he saw was a cool blue color.

I don’t think Paul had any criteria to add.  And neither did Chloe.  Although if she had known it was an option, she would have asked for sliding doors with windows that open and a DVD player.

I was the only one who got what Iwanted.  Sorry, kids.  No cool, rotating seats.  No DVD player.  No GM.  And no blue color.

Paul bought the van while I was driving home from the conference.

We have really been enjoying it.  The interior is black and I see lots of vacuuming in my future as it shows every speck of dust.  Well, and every crumb, and every cement powder footprint, and every blade of grass, and every candy wrapper, and every piece of trash. . . .  you get the point.

I’m pretty sure the van already loves us and feels pretty broken in — with love, of course.

My Heart Rejoices . . . and My Heart Aches

Adoption.

I LOVE it!

I encourage everyone to do it.

I hope to do it again someday.

It is a beautiful thing.

Just saying the word stirs up a powerful emotion within me.

The experience of adoption is an instant friend-maker.  You find out a stranger has adopted, and you’re instant bosom buddies.

Celebrating Zachary’s tenth birthday this weekend was a reminder of how blessed I am to have him — how honored I feel to call him my son.  And how thankful I am for adoption.

I seriously love adoption.

But my heart is torn and my heart aches this week.  My heart rejoices . . . but my heart mourns.

It was a crazy week for us adoption-wise.  From one emotional extreme to the other for our friends this week.

I celebrated to the point of tears as a friend’s adoption was finalized this week!  Oh, I am so excited for the new beginning that adoption has given this child.  A child with significant disabilities who has experienced much neglect and abuse in his 7 years is now with a loving adoptive family who will give him the support and the love that he needs and deserves.  Forever.  It is beautiful.

I love adoption.

But a different friend this week is filled with a hurt so deep that I can’t even begin to understand.  This friend brought a baby boy into their home over 6 years ago, and for the last 6 years have loved and cared for this boy — their son.  Yet, their story is taking a horribly sad, cruel turn.  Because of a very confused and corrupt civil court system, their son is being removed from their home and is being returned to his birth father this week — after 6 years.  Of course, their story is long and complicated, but suffice it to say that their son is the victim here — being removed from the people he loves and knows as Mom, Dad, and sisters.  It seems criminal to me.  Shame on the courts for allowing it to happen.  How can something so beautiful and so God-ordained be so cruel and hurtful?  (I won’t go into the details of their story, but know that we are still hoping and praying for a miracle for them.)

My heart so aches for my friends.  It is such a desperate situation.

But my heart rejoices with my other friend for their adoption. . .

What a crazy mix of emotions . . . what a crazy difference in outcomes. . .

Lord, will you lead and guide?  Will you comfort and protect?  Will you cause Your will to happen?  Will you “change the hearts of kings” to rule for the hearts of children?  We are desperate for You, God.  We need you, and our children need you.

Thoughts

I apologize for the lack of posts for the last week.  I’m sorry.

The truth is, I’ve been a little wrapped up.  Wrapped up in surviving the last few weeks of a really, really tough school year for Zippy and Chloe.  It has been painful and brutal in many ways.  And we only have to do it for nine. more. days.

I am praying about and considering our options for next year for both kids.  I know some of you have been praying with us as we make our decisions.  Thanks so much for that and please keep it up for a couple of more weeks.  We have some decisions to make and some hoops to jump through and some balls to juggle in the next 2 weeks.  It makes me want to just fold myself in half and lie on the floor til it all passes.  But, of course, that’s not a viable option.

Zach and Chloe both have strep right now.  That’s a pain, but it explains why Chloe had a rough week at school, I guess.  It just adds more medicine to the daily routine for 10 days. . . .  And it’s a good excuse to keep her home from school — I love having her home today, actually.

We camped this past weekend with a big group of friends from church.  It was a nice time of escape.  Camping is always a lot of work for the grown-ups and a lot of fun for the kids.  We all come back exhausted and needing a few days to recover!  I took zero photos.  My apologies — but, as I’ve already said, I am in survival mode right now so if it doesn’t involve a major need like caloric intake, breathing, or the beating of our tickers, then chances are it will not get done right now.  😉  When I asked Chloe what her favorite thing about camping was, she said it was the doors of the shelters.  She loves to open and close and open and close and open and close doors.  It is not a healthy pastime — it is called perseveration, and we usually don’t allow her to do it  — but we let her do it all weekend long.  And it was her absolute favorite thing about the weekend.  Funny girl.

Zippy had a birthday over the weekend.  He’s 10.  Unbelievable.  The clock just won’t stop ticking, and the calendar pages just won’t stop flipping . . . .  We painted his room and purchased some new art for his room for his birthday.  He’s pleased as punch with it.  I will try to eventually take some photos to share with you — in fact, I should do it quickly while his room is in decent shape before he destroys it in a fit of rage again . . . .

I’m working on setting up summer tutoring and therapies for Chloe and Zachary.  It needs to get nailed down here pretty quickly.

And there you have it, folks.  An update of sorts.  And a formal apology for my absence lately.  Thanks for your patience and for your prayers.

Let’s talk again soon.  🙂

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to my precious Mama readers!  I hope you make some dear memories with your children!  Have a blessed day!

Paul and the kids surprised me with gifts yesterday.  I got ceramic creations that the boys made at school.  I got a great card and photo from Chloe and sweet cards from both boys.  And they surprised me with photos today!  I LOVE each one of the photos.  Photos are so amazing, aren’t they?  I love when photos hold such personality.  These photos are sweet, sweet!  If you enjoy them even a fraction of what I enjoyed them, then you will be blessed and will be wearing a smile!  LOVE THEM!

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A Good Read

Please, please, please go and read my friend Jennifer’s thoughts today.  Whew!  In a nutshell, it’s exactly my thoughts and my heart!  Taking the time to read the links she provides would be a great use of time — and just might work to convince you that you believe in inclusion for all students, too!  🙂

Jennifer and I have become good friends and share the joys and the struggles of loving a child with disabilities.  We also support each other in decisions we make regarding our children’s education.  Ours is a relationship I am hugely thankful for.  I know you will enjoy a stop at her blog.

I’m so struggling today with making decisions about next year for Chloe.  Jennifer’s post will fill you in the WHY I want her in general ed at her neighborhood school with her neighbors and her brothers.  But today I’m also weighing a bunch on the negative side of her attending that school another year.  I’ll fill you in completely soon . . . .  In the meantime, please pray that Paul and I will have wisdom in our decision for her.  Thank you.  Really, thank you!

Playing Surprise

Elliot was kind enough to video Chloe and me playing a game that she LOVES to play.  If she had her way, we’d play it morning and evening, weekdays and weekends, over and over and over.  She loves the “Shhhhhhing” and the secrecy of the game.  The suspense is sometimes too much for her — you can see her body tighten with excitement and expectancy.  She even covers her head while we play.  And she faithfully says and signs, “Thank you” every time.  It cracks me up.  She’s so sweet.  Enjoy!  (Hoping the sound quality is okay — we don’t talk very loudly while we play this game.)

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