Monday, March 21, 2011

Long Week Ahead....Maybe a Very Good Thing!

I have been dreading this week. Since we home educate Addie and Ainslee, we take breaks with their lessons whenever we need them or want them, sometimes doing extra work some days to get caught up or get ahead for some planned time off. Garrett attends a special needs pre-k provided by a cooperative school between two counties here. However, he only goes Monday through Thursday and only mornings. When he is at preschool, we work really hard to get the girls' lesssons completed without the noise and disruption of Brother around. When he is home, it is chaos to try to get any work done. He is in the middle of the universe and lets everyone know it!! The girls have the hardest time focusing with the noise and his needy nature. So we cram school in when he is away, but this week........SPRING BREAK!!!!! Most parents would be excited about this, but I wasn't, honestly!!! My thought was NO BUS COMING TO THE HOUSE TO GET GARRETT for my sanity time!!! My time with my girls.....our peace and quiet.......our "normal" time. But nooooooooo, for some reason these schools let kids out for a WHOLE WEEK, or for us, four of his days of a week. I know it's a good thing to have a school reason we homeschool is so we can have good time off!! But PLEASE!!!?!?!?!?!? I was so dreading the week. On top of the week with Garrett home, Grouchy is out of town, so it's me vs. the whole deal......and I dreaded that in a huge way except I thought it might be best since Grouchy won't have to take up slack of extra time with Garrett home. I know this may sound callous or unloving. People will always judge, but I have learned to be very cautions judging, and try not to at all, because I have not walked in others' shoes. It is soooooo true!!! And yes, I am the MOST guilty of judging in this life. I was so wrong. I am so sorry. I think this lesson is learned over and over each day for me!

Last week's neuro-psych appointment opened my eyes even more to my son's world. He cannot help much of this frustration he feels nor the way he expresses it. Our responses to his behavior have been those of a parent responding to a typical, normal child, not this child. Most of my corrections and reactions have been uncalculated, poorly thought-out, and just plain wrong. I am rewiring myself to be constantly even-tempered with everything. He does not need to see people raising voices at him or anyone. He does not need to see the ever-present frustration in my eyes, the giving-up, helpless emotion I carry around like a 50 pound sack of horse feed every day. He needs to only see us positive, energetic and as good examples. Yesterday and the days before, I have prayed about this. And those days were better while we were together. Even when I wanted to absolutely lose my mind over his behavior, I kept my cool on the outside, completely, and I think I am already seeing some changes. Even when he is misbehaving, we have had to rewire to say things in a positive way. So instead of Garrett hearing, "No, we don't say POOP 5 million times each day," we now need to say, "Garrett, big boys use big boy words!" or, "Let's talk about another word. How about airplane?!" And yes, this is a real conversation we have had about 50 times in the past 24 hours. He has heard so much negative in his life. Soooooo many corrections. And yes, it would seem that this positive talk would be the right thing for any child, you would have to live a 24 hour period with us to see how it has seemed nothing was ever going to help us help Garrett mature and act the slightest bit peaceful and near normal.

I have seen changes. I feel the change in me, (although it is soooooooo hard!!!) and I am seeing it in Garrett here and there a little. So while I was dreading this week, I now see that this week of more Garrett time may be a good thing. It is work, no lie, and it isn't the least bit quiet around our house. Shoot, I know quiet isn't something I should expect with a household of three kiddos, but just normal volume for this number of people would be peaceful! As I try to hold myself together more and plan my responses better, I am also trying to teach my girls to do the same. Hearing their frustration come out aimed at Garrett makes me replay so many of my mistakes parenting him. It's like it is a big facade. I can be incredibly frustrated at a behavior or phrase or outburst and need to blow my top or just walk away, but I have to can with it....but NOT LET IT SHOW. SOOOOO not me!! I am usually an open book, pretty transparent, sometimes brutally honest, but not in any way with this little guy. So here we are, Monday of spring break. The dread is gone. He is doing okay. The girls have their planners all filled out by me to show them the school work they have to get done this week. We are a little behind and they both wanted to do day camps at the YMCA next week while Caldwell schools are out, and Grouchy and I thought they should. BUT to get to do that, they need to get two weeks of school done between last Saturday and this coming Sunday. They are so on task. Garrett is trying hard to get us all off course, but the girls persist, I distract him, they take turns entertaining him here and there, and all is well.

I think this week may be good for us all. I will get a sitter some for certain things we try to do and hopefully for a full day so the girls and I can go see a movie, maybe shop and just take a break. We miss Grouchy terribly, but I am hoping that I can help Garrett make some positive changes that Grouchy will notice and that will give him more hope when he sees Garrett again.

Wow, that was a long post seeing how I really wanted to say I have re-thought this week and we might survive!!
Oh, it is raining here weird. It's desert here, but it has been raining (drizzling compared to south Louisiana rain!!!) for days until yesterday when it was dry but felt like a hurricane with the wind. It was nuts. We played a game of "Run Over the Tumbleweeds" on the way to a 4H event yesterday. I had to pull tumbleweed pieces out of my Yukon's grill last night!! But it was fun. Garrett went to the LDS church with one of his sweet sitters, Ali, yesterday afternoon so I could take the girls to the 4H event. We also grabbed dinner at a quick Mexican place another 4H family took us to, and we made a WalMart run.

I think part of the relief and positive energy I am feeling is the admission that I cannot do everything. I feel relieved we have hired part-time care to help with Garrett in the evenings. The neuro-psychologist says it isn't babysitting, but respite care, or care for someone to give them relief time away from a person...or that's the Cliff's Notes version of the definition. So we don't have a baby, but we have someone who requires everything we have and who we need to sometimes leave behind for our sanity and his.

Wednesday we see the nephrologist for Garrett's repeated protein in his urine. Praying the urine sample we turned in Friday makes it through testing fast enough to be usable for Wednesday. Funny the things I pray about now!!

Spring has sprung!! Wheat is turning green here and the snow on the mountains is melting. Cows are giving us glimpses of the sweetest, tiniest calves, and the sheep are lambing and we are loving seeing all of the new life!! The geese are flying over so low and in such huge numbers it sounds like police sirens sometimes!! Our friends from church say the rafting season will swing into gear in a month or so, and we can't wait for them to take us out on white water! We hope to ski a couple more times before the ski season ends April 11. Now off to order Ainslee a more advanced phonics book, sign the girls up for kayak lessons and summer program, and then look for the rest of the doctors we need here.

Blessings and enjoy Spring!!

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