Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Getting what i wanted... kind of

So, a year ago, i saw some red flags in my son, obsessively pursued the nauseatingly abundant resources on the subjects of childhood disorders, disabilities, and syndromes, and have exhausted myself and others with my relentless determination to NAME the THING that is WRONG with MY CHILD. Are you hearing me?? I wanted that darned thing CALLED OUT. Out in the open. Titled. Exposed. After all, i reasoned, i can't fight something if i don't know what i'm up against. Right?

Well, finally, after months of researching, labeling, contemplating, re-labeling, and trying things from various angles, i got that coveted appointment with the pediatric neurologist. I marched in there, armed with all the things that were amiss in my child, determined that i be taken seriously. And i was. He was inquisitive, patient, and painstakingly thorough. My son walked, ran, trotted, bent, twisted, and counted for the good doctor. He closed his eyes and operated his arms and hands. He tolerated the doctor's touches and prods. He answered the questions honestly and openly.

At the end of the evaluation (a full 45 minutes, folks!), the doctor says my son has low serotonin levels causing mild OCD. Come again? OCD? That was NOT one of the things i 'diagnosed' my child with over these past 11 months! Well, apparently, God will give you what you asked for... just not exactly how you think you'll get it. I thought i'd get a diagnosis that would send us to therapy. I didn't. I thought the answer would 'make it all make sense' right away. It didn't. I thought naming the problem would be the Ah-Ha! moment i wanted it to be. It wasn't.

But in my further research (yes, the doctor indicated there was little to be done beyond medication, so i am reading, reading, reading!{Read: obsessing}), i have learned that this diagnosis does make sense. It is the answer i am looking for. And it is supplying that Ah-Ha! moment i was looking for. I can tell you this much: OCD in children is very different than what you (or i) always thought. And now that i know, i am doing things a bit differently. And my son is already showing signs of thriving!! Yay! Go, God!!

I wanted an answer.
I wanted some direction.
I wanted some tools.
They aren't proving to be that easy, but i am getting there - with the help of God, the Creator of my precious child, we will persevere. And we will have a success story on the other side of this mountain!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Can We Talk?

Remember Joan Rivers saying, "Can we talk?" in that smoker's, accented voice? I think about that sometimes when i wonder if my kids know they can talk to me about anything. As a kid, i remember knowing when i screwed up, but never really getting positive feedback. Sadly, i seem to have adopted that parenting style myself.

I struggle with a critical nature, and that must make it tough for my kids to share their innermost struggles or feelings. I have been focusing on it more, and trying to retrain myself. My 11-year-old and i are fighting our way through this right now: i'm trying to learn patience, watch my tone, and encourage her as much as i criticize; and she's trying to find her way (as well as tolerate me). :)

Recently, my son and i have been dialoging quite a bit about his behavioral concerns. I have tried bringing up my concerns and asking him questions whenever we have time alone. Tonight, i found how much progress we have made when the other kids were sleeping and Daddy was out and he opened up the communication lines about his behavior: how it makes him feel, during and after, and why he thinks that is, as well as some ideas he has for what his problems might be. For an eight-year-old, he had some mature insights.

It was a beautiful thing, though, to hear his heart, to know he thinks about these things and wants to share them with me, and especially that he was confident that he could come to me to ask for my help. It also cemented why it is so important to have quality alone time, even for just a few minutes, with each child every day. It is far too easy to let the day get away from us and not make that effort, but nothing worth having is ever easy, right? And the beaten-down path is never really the one we want. 

So, i'm going to struggle up the less-traveled path, machete in hand, making my way through the obstacles, and building relationships with my children above all else. Outta be quite the adventure! :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Finding the Balance

It would be so easy to set up a 'school' at home and follow a schedule so that all educational pursuits would be completed before we play... except it isn't.

It would be so simple to have a room in which everything 'home school' lived and all our home schooling took place in that room and it would be organized and schooling-friendly... except it didn't work.

It would be totally marvelous to have all my children reading everyday and learning so much from books that they develop into lifelong learners and passionate readers... except they don't learn best that way.

Like most things in life, when i peer over the fence into someone else's life, i find myself longing for pieces that work for them to work so wonderfully for me. But it isn't that simple.

When i keep a perfect school schedule, my house is a wreck, the laundry piles up, and dinner is a combination of convenience and junk.

When i keep a tidy house, the schooling gets behind and the kids get ignored.

So, when i strive for balance, it looks a little more like this: a bit of school, followed by a bit of housework and play, followed by some routine time together and meals, followed by a bit of school and time with friends, then a home-cooked meal with the family and time outside before reading and bedtime.

Is it the perfect way? No, of course not. There is lots that can be tweaked. But is it the way that is working RIGHT NOW to give us some balance? Yup. And right now? Balance is more important than academics OR organization!

Find YOUR Just-Right-For-Right-Now Balance.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Saving and Serving! Woohoo!

Yesterday after church, my son (who is not what you'd call 'enthusiastic' about church) informed me that he needed to bring in some shoes to donate to the kids in Japan. He said he wanted to bring the most shoes so he could win the movie tickets the church is raffling off for the kids who participate in the shoe drive. 

I immediately thought of my favorite Super Shoe Savings tip: Rack Room Shoes' CLEARANCE aisle!! They typically have shoes back there for $3-$5 a pair, and i knew i could "RACK" up (pun intended). PLUS, i had a coupon for 20% OFF a $60 purchase, so i decided i needed to get $60 worth of shoes before we even went. 

Tonight, i ran through there with the eldest after meeting Daddy for dinner, and we set out to "RACK" up! OH!! THE FUN!! We had the cashier AND the manager caught up in our enthusiasm by the time we got to $60! (by the way, the Clearance Aisle items are good for the BOGO 50% Sale, peeps!!)

Altogether, we purchased 20 pairs of shoes, never paid more than $4 for a pair (and only one was that high) and got one pair for $0.80 - we got clearance shoes + BOGO 50% OFF + 20% off each pair and we spent $50 WITH TAX.

I couldn't wait to share my sale-stackin' coupon-clippin' shoe-shoppin' EXTRAVAGANZA with my readers. THAT, folks, is Saving WHILE Serving. GOD is GOOD.

[Thank You, Jesus, for the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful experience. You could have done this without me, but to share it with me and let me share it with my daughter is a priceless experience, and not likely one we'll forget. Praise and Glory to God!]