family — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

family



                               

Sorry I disappeared for a couple of posts there. We were traveling on the days that I was supposed to post, and although I had great intentions of writing something ahead of time…well, you understand.

We took care of my mother-in-law for a couple of weeks. It was easier in some ways, and harder in others. I see her declining ever so slightly. The good news is she is too confused to fight with us as much as she used to. The bad news is, she is very confused. First she was visiting at our house and she kept thinking that her things were missing because her brain was spending some portion of time telling her she was at her house. One suitcase full of clothes was not satisfying her idea of how much stuff she should have. Then when we took her back home and spent several days there she kept making reference to our house and “When were we taking her home?” I am grateful for the (more) pleasant time we had with her. I want my children to have good memories of her. These care-giving weeks just deplete my energy that much further.

Summer is hard anyway. The child is reverting to some very tough behaviors and I keep slipping in my attempts to address them, which doesn’t help. She is tired of being with her siblings, and in general missing the structure that school provides and I can’t. School is only a month away which seems both close and oh, so, far away.

The one highlight so far is that our family went to Legoland for a bit of a respite during our visit with Grandma. It was our first trip to a major theme park, and I admit I was nervous. I was particularly concerned that our boy might wander off and get lost. We practiced three skills related to that before we left. Every time we were out in public I had the kids practice “staying together” which was perhaps the most important thing. We also practiced standing still and calling to our family using our last name (‘cuz there are lots of mommies at Legoland). Lastly I had them practice asking for help from a safe person – an employee or mommy. The actual visit went really well. No one got lost, though there was plenty of opportunity, so I was glad for our skill practice. There were only a couple of long waits and only one of those was what I would call frustrating. I liked the fact that most of the rides there require the rider to actively participate – pedaling, pulling ropes, turning knobs, pumping, steering, etc. Most exciting was that one of the longer waiting areas had a Lego play area in the middle where the kids could go build things while someone stood in line to hold their place. The child was initially hesitant to go in, but when she did she actually “made friends” with a couple of the girls that were in there. They worked together to build a huge tower of Legos, and then knock it down. The girls she met were a little younger than she is, but I was so encouraged that her social skills were up to connecting with strangers and playing cooperatively. Those are the moments that really keep me going.

I hope your Summer is filling up with good memories. What’s your favorite memory so far?

a Lego model of the Millenium Falcon

The Millenium Falcon in Legos…and now I suppose I must introduce my children to Star Wars. They had no idea what this was all about.



                               

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Interdependence

Nope. Not a typo. I know it is the Fourth of July. Happy Independence Day, everyone, and special thanks to our troops and veterans!

Grandma (my dear Mother-In-Law) is coming to visit us today, which means we’ll soon be having fireworks of our own. Everyone aged four to eighty-four in our house will be claiming “independence.”

I can do it myself! I don’t need your help! I’m in charge!

fireworks over a bright cityscape

fireworks by bayasaa via flickr

I think I’m starting to see that this isn’t really true for any of us, however. Even the most strong-willed and able-bodied among us need a little help now and then.

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Fixing the Unfixable

Apparently I have given the child the impression that this is what I am capable of. It was quite false of me to give her the impression that I can fix everything, and I am paying for it big time.

After lots and lots of temper-driven exchanges (and we both have hot tempers…sigh.) I stepped back and recognized the trend. Something will happen that I can’t fix:

  • She can’t go to the birthday party because she was sick the day before.
  • Her siblings are invited to something and she is not.
  • Plans are unexpectedly changed in a way that I have no control over.
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It’s the Little Things

My girls are suddenly into having pretty fingernails. They want me to use nail polish and make their fingers “fancy.” The four year old is particularly hooked on anything fancy and, in spite of her tomboy spirit the eight year old wants anything her sister gets – especially Mom’s undivided attention as I apply the polish.

Now when was the last time I took the time to make myself fancy? Let’s see…

  • I haven’t had a haircut in over a year.
  • Showers are still a rare and special treat.
  • Last time I had a real pedicure was almost two years ago.
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Patience Pays Off

Last week as I was writing about how hard it was to sit and wait for a pupa to get on with it and transform already, the little bugger was probably quietly doing just that. The next morning my husband picked up the bug house that the pupa had been inhabiting and I told him I was wondering if it was still alive. Knowing what he does about all things insect-like, my husband took it over to a bright sunny window and after inspecting it closely said, “The shell looks empty.”

“Empty? It couldn’t be…I just looked at it yesterday!”

He took the lid off the bug house and almost jumped out of his skin when he saw a large dark colored moth hiding upside down on the lid.

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Waiting…

Our green and brown caterpillar guests on their preferred leaves

Caterpillar stage

 

Remember this little guy? Well, about a month ago it finally pupated (is that a word?) and transformed into this…

pupa stage

Our caterpillar guest transformed, but...

Apologies that the photo isn’t better. I’ve been trying not to disturb it too much, since I suppose metamorphosis requires a lot of energy. I have to admit I’m having a hard time waiting, though. The caterpillar was at least fun to watch. This stage is like watching paint dry. I have to remind myself to check on the pupa every day (or so) to see if anything is happening. So far it just looks for all the world like an acorn that’s lost its hat.

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Ready for Summer?

idyllic Summer in the tropics

I could be ready if Summer looked like this around here

I’m not.

Friends keep telling me how excited they are for Summer. School’s out – no more drop off, no more pick up, no more lunches to pack, no more homework. I do like all of those things. Really, I do. What I’m not ready for are the long (really long) days with three busy kids who expect me to be chief activities director. I haven’t signed them up for any classes yet. I keep saying I need to get a calendar out and start marking possible road trip dates…so why don’t I just get it over with and do it?

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Scary Memories

I was sifting through my pile of papers this evening in preparation for our IEP meeting next week. It’s been a while since I’ve really taken the time to go through everything and get organized. We’ve had a relatively easy stretch for the last year or so, and I admit I have let things slide quite a bit. Well, we had a little reality check last week when the child had an hour long meltdown with a babysitter present. Time to gear up again.

I think I know why I deferred looking at all of these forms and reports. Reading through all of the paperwork brings back memories of the really scary times parenting this child.

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Mommy Boost

Dear mom you are the best cook in the world you cook good things to eat Love

My early Mother's Day present from the child

 

I feel like I haven’t been doing that great a job for the child lately. She has regressed a bit in her behavior at home, and my reaction has not been what I want it to be. Instead of figuring out a way to support her better I’ve been regressing myself…back to my old ways of getting frustrated and losing my temper. I need to get a grip, and soon.

 

The other day we were hanging out in our home office while the twins took an oh so increasingly rare nap.

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Then and Now

My twins rediscovered a set of pictures from their big sister’s babyhood. These are pictures taken during her first 18 months or so – that blissful time of her childhood when we didn’t quite realize what we were up against. As I was putting the pictures away again one of them hit me right between the eyes. It is the classic picture of a new mom right after giving birth, disheveled, tired, and oh so happy, holding the baby as if they’ll never let go. In the picture I am seriously in need of a comb, the hospital gown is barely adequate, and I am smiling as if I just won the lottery.

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