Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Monday, December 30, 2013
We're driving home from school and Elijah starts sobbing. I have no idea why. I have no way to get the information from him, no way to crawl inside of his brain to scoop out the information that I want to know - that I so desperately need to know. And even worse is the knowledge of this simple fact: In spite of years of therapy, Elijah's communication skills are still quite limited and he has no way to let me know what he's thinking.
Elijah sobs and we get home and he cries some more. I bring the boys inside and I help Elijah get off his boots and hat and mittens. I help Oliver too. Our winter clothes sit laying in piles as I try to contain my two boys who both need me so much. Elijah is still crying and pulling at my hand while Oliver repeats his "mom-mom" refrain while pulling on my leg.
All I want to do is take off my stupid boots.
I turn on Elijah's music and that satisfies him some, but he's still not happy and I don't know why. I'm not happy either.
It's not long before I'm sobbing too; the heartbreak is just too much. I can't handle his sadness, his tears. The possible reasons for his unhappiness scroll through my mind like rolling credits...did something bad happen at school? Does he hate coming home? Does he want a different song? Is his brother bothering him? Is he not feeling well? Does he want to watch TV? The pressure weighs down on me, squeezing my heart in a vise. I love him so much it hurts.
Posted by Lisa at 2:29 PM
Friday, December 13, 2013
As I pulled up to the window, the cashier - an older grandfatherly gentleman - started to make small-talk.
"How are you enjoying this spring weather?" he said, joking about the temps in the teens.
We talked bout how it feels warm today, compared to the negatives we have been experiencing. We laughed about how it's all relative. I complained about having to bundle up my two boys in the cold.
"Oh, how old are they?" he asked.
"I have a six-year-old and a one and a half year old," I told him and he went to retrieve my coffee.
"Oh, so you did it like I did," he said, handing me my warm cup. "My kids are about five years apart."
And then he added, "Less squabbling that way."
And I smiled and nodded and said, "yep" and drove away.
Except, I have no idea what he's talking about. Yes, my kids are almost five years apart, but they aren't really five years apart. They're apart in years, but they're close in development. They're twins and they're a million years apart at the same time. It's complicated.
Yes, Elijah is the big brother, but in some ways he's the little brother. There are things that Oliver started to do at a few months old that Elijah still can't do. And yet, Elijah IS the big brother in every sense of the word - bigger in size and in maturity. He gets annoyed at his little brother as any big brother does.
There isn't less squabbling. There is a lot of pushing and hitting - mostly from Elijah to his little brother. Much of my time with our boys is spent trying to keep them safe from each other. There is a lot of squabbling.
So, sometimes I feel like an impostor. It isn't written on my forehead that I have a child with special needs. People don't automatically know that my parenting life is a little different. My cashier didn't know that I didn't necessarily want to wait five years before having our second child. And, really, it doesn't matter. But, sometimes in situations like a drive-thru where I don't have the time or the energy to explain my situation, I can feel a little bit like an impostor.
I'm not an impostor, though. I'm just me. A wife to Andy and a mom to two incredible boys.
Posted by Lisa at 5:04 PM
Monday, December 2, 2013
Posted by Lisa at 10:05 PM
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Elijah was in a self-contained special-ed classroom for the past three years, but in kindergarten he's in a regular classroom. He does have a special education teacher and classroom too, but he's in the main classroom as much a possible.
This idea of mainstreaming was both exhilarating and terrifying to me. Would the other "typical" kids accept Elijah? Would they be nice? Is this even going to work? I get reports on what Elijah does at school, but I've often wondered... how are the other kids reacting to him? Is he accepted? Do they like him?
Every day when I get home from picking Elijah up from school, I eagerly open his backpack to read his daily report. Sometimes there's little tidbits such as: "Elijah read with a classmate today" or "Elijah played Candyland with a friend." I tingle with excitement at these notes. A friend.
|"I like Elijah"|
|Translation: "I love Elijah and my whole class! Elijah from Elsie"|
|Close-up of Elijah. I love the details of his glasses and his high-top shoes with long laces.|
|Translation: "I love you because you are my favorite. Do you like blue, do you?"|
|Close-up of the drawing - Elijah and Elsie with hearts|
Posted by Lisa at 9:59 PM
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
And potty training? He's still being a rock star. He went 7 times on day two, no accidents. Day three (today) he went 7 times again with two accidents when we left the house. He really is getting this thing! Still shouting on that rooftop!
|When I told him to "give me a smile." :)|
Posted by Lisa at 11:42 PM
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Elijah peed on the toilet six times today.
Six times, you guys. And no accidents (other than the wet diaper he woke up with this morning). That's a lot.
Oh, I used to say to myself I'd never post about potty usage. But that, my friends, has been thrown out the window. This is a hard-won victory for Elijah. This is a long time coming. This is a battle we've been waging for a while now. I am on the roof shouting for joy, praising God, doing a little jig. Can you hear us? We're been on the rooftop all day.
He's getting it! He's getting it! He's getting it! It's like something clicked for Elijah today.
I think Elijah has realized how awesome it is to use the bathroom (and how great it is that he gets to wash his hands every single time he goes, a huge reinforcer for him). And we can only hope that this continues tomorrow and the day after and so on...
|Happy about washing his hands|
Posted by Lisa at 11:05 PM
Thursday, July 11, 2013
My hair was twisted onto the top of my head and I was wearing the most beautiful dress I had ever owned. I paced around the basement of the historic theater waiting and ready. It was only minutes until I would walk down the aisle and I couldn't wait.
|Moments before walking down the aisle...|
|Mr. and Mrs!|
Nine years later, remembering those thoughts in the last moments of my single life, I'm filled with joy and sadness. We didn't know what our future held and it's different than I'd imagined. Harder, yes, but also more wonderful too.
The last nine years with Andy by my side have been amazing. When I think back to our wedding, I smile. It will always be one of my favorite days ever. We had so much fun!
|Us on the Fourth of July|
It's fun to look back, but looking ahead is even better.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
The boys and I made a little video while Daddy was working. These kids crack me up.
Posted by Lisa at 11:56 PM
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Posted by Lisa at 10:41 AM
Monday, May 13, 2013
Posted by Lisa at 11:05 PM
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
The other day, I pulled out some letters I'd written long ago when Elijah was probably two-years-old. The letters were carefully drawn on 8 1/2 by 11 inch card stock, the lines straight and curved and drawn in black permanent marker. Upper case on one side and lowercase on the other, I'd placed all 26 letters into sheet protecters.
When I saw the letters sitting forgotten in the drawer, I cried.
I remembered writing them out and then subsequently trying to teach Elijah the alphabet. I'd sit down with toddler Elijah, excited to teach him and he wouldn't look. He'd stay with me for mere seconds and then struggle to get away to go do something else.
You tried to teach him his letters and failed, the letters said to me.
The weight of that failure suffocates me in that moment, the forgotten letters taunting me. "Have I done enough?" I will ask myself. The word will repeat often in my head. Enough. Enough. Enough. Have I done enough? Am I doing enough?
I will think of all the times I could've worked on Elijah's self-feeding, but didn't. The times I sat silent instead of talking to him. The times I could have shoved carefully written letters in his face. The times I could have done more.
The older Elijah gets the more I realize that is simply impossible to have done enough. Nothing will be enough. Nothing we do will make his brain injury disappear, as hard as we try to help him overcome his challenges. I'm not superwoman. I'm not God. I can't heal a hurt brain.
For the past almost three years, Elijah has done approximately 25-30 hours of ABA therapy a week. He has school. He also does extra occupational and speech therapy. We just started music therapy. We're looking into doing hippotherapy with him (the therapeutic use of horses). It's a full-time schedule. It is more than enough.
And then I wonder if we are doing enough of the right thing. Perhaps we should be doing something else. Enough. Too much? Enough. We can only do so much; it's never enough.
And so, as the years pass, the more I realize that we need to live our lives. It's okay that I let ABA therapists do the bulk of therapy. I'm very involved in his therapy and what it looks like of course, but it's okay to just be mom sometimes. It's okay.
We love Elijah fiercely. We work with him when we can. We keep him busy learning in therapy. We rough house and throw him on the couch. We run outside. We kiss and hug (when he'll let us). We feed him and continue to encourage him to feed himself. We dance. We try our best. We accept Elijah for who he is. And it is enough. It is.
Posted by Lisa at 10:26 AM
Thursday, January 31, 2013
|Getting the fork to his mouth|
|Great lip closure on his fork!|
|Lips closed and chewing|
|Oh, and little brother is learning to eat too!|
Posted by Lisa at 10:10 PM