Friday, October 25, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Together

linking up from

The hubby and I were just talking last night about the state of affairs of our family.
This Thanksgiving and Christmas, for a variety of different reasons, we are unable to be with our extended families.  It's "just us."  There is an element of sadness to that, but we were reflecting on how far we have come this past year as a family, just the four of us, together.

We have together figured out what it's like to be a family with an Exceptional Child.
We have together forged our way in a new neighborhood and made plentiful good friends.
We have together established a church home where we all feel loved and able to love others well.
We have together relied on Christ alone to get us through various financial and emotional hardships.
And of course He has come through every time.
Together we walk to school on Friday mornings.
Together we snuggle in bed in the mornings (who knew a king sized bed could feel so small!  There were 4 in the bed and the mommy said...get off my pillow!!)

I love my sweet family.  I wouldn't trade them for the world.  And I'm so happy God put us together to do this life. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


It's been a very eventful few weeks and I wanted to share so I don't forget.

Jackson said a self-initiated "Thank you for playing cards with me," yesterday.  Progress!

Speaking of cards, he learned how to play "War" in kindergarten and we've been playing; I never thought the day would come when I could play cards with my kids, I'm so excited!  And he's doing such a good job taking turns, stopping the game to eat dinner, sleep, etc (that game drags on and on, people), and handling when I "win" his cards.  Way to go, buddy!

The kids have been sleeping in their own beds until 5 a.m., which is a blessing, but between 5-6 a.m. Savannah whines and cries over random things...
--"Put your hand on me!"
--"Snuggle me harder!"
--"My covers are messed up!"
--"Where's my blankie?"
--"Where's my babie?"
--"I want breakfast!"

Finally, at 6a.m. when my alarm goes off, she sits straight up in bed and is completely happy, saying, "Breakfast time!"  And then I laugh at her.  But not before then; before 6 a.m. I'm pretty annoyed, ha!

This morning, JW asked her to rub his back as a way to distract her from her crying, and she said, "I can't because there are tears on them!"  Haha. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Whole New World...

One year ago today I started my new job here in North Carolina.  And our family began the three month journey towards a new diagnosis for my first born son.  The move was so tumultuous for him that his behavior spun out of control, and certain things that I had blamed on poor parenting or him just "being a boy," could not be explained away anymore.  It became very clear to our new community that there was something not right about Jackson.  I had no idea what it might be...I thought there might be some Sensory Processing Disorder traits, so I bought three books and started reading.  We started OT which definitely helped a little.  We took him to a doctor who suggested ADHD.  We tried meds, which made him go CRAZY, so we turned off that road.  Someone mentioned Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and I just had thoughts of kids torturing animals (thanks to my psychology training in med school), and I didn't think that quite fit.  JW and I prayed and prayed that we would figure this out.  That someone would point us in the right direction.  Because of his behavior problems in Sunday School, our Sunday School director suggested a play group called "Let's Be Friends," a meeting of typically and atypically developing kids to get together in a safe space to work on social skills.  That sounded like a good idea, especially since he was kicked out/nicely asked to take a break from preschool until we could figure out what was going on.  It was there that the leader of the play group started asking me questions about Jackson.  I was hoping she would be able to help lead me in the right direction.  She got me an appointment for an IEP (Individualized Education Program) evaluation through the public school, and we waited a month for the appointment.  In the meantime, as I was at home processing one night, the list of questions that the nice lady had asked me clicked.  She was asking me the screening criteria for autism!!  I freaked.  I had never considered that diagnosis.  Jackson had never had any problems with speech, so I didn't even think about it.  I went to my favorite place...Google!  I typed in "diagnosis of" and wouldn't you know, it auto-filled "aspergers syndrome."  Weird.  So I read through the criteria and thought it kind of fit.  I got used to the words of autism, autism spectrum, asperger's.  We had the IEP eval.  We had to come back the next day for a longer eval specifically for autism.  Of course.  One month later, we sat in the same room to hear the results.  They first said "developmental delay."  That sounds so benign.  I can live with that.  Get him some therapies, he'll be good to go.  Then they moved on to, "And he tested positive for autism as well."  Like it was no big deal.  It wasn't a surprise, but I was still hoping it wasn't true.  I didn't FEEL like being a mom to a special needs kid.  I just wanted to be REGULAR.  I cried.  The people handed me Kleenex.  I decided to move on.  At least I had a NAME for what was going on.  I had a TOPIC to search for and books to read about.  I WASN'T a bad mom, and Jackson WASN'T a bad kid.  So it was actually great news!

9 months later, we've done OT, speech therapy, special education, TEACCH services (the local autism center in Chapel Hill), and even a parenting class.  Jackson is attending regular kindergarten this year and thriving.  I wouldn't say that his success is due to all of the therapies or picture schedules.  I think it's mostly because JW and I have adjusted to the "new normal."  We are more relaxed.  We know how to reach Jackson in a way that he will understand.  We know how to manage his environment to  make it a safe and calm place to live instead of a place filled with sensory overload.  I have to yell less.  And love more. 

I am so proud to be the mom of a special needs kid.  It has strengthened my faith and my marriage.  And I am so proud of my little boy.  God has big plans for him, and though they may not be my plans, they are AWESOME.

If you are visiting from Kelly's Korner, thank you!