My Family

My Family
Here we all are!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Offended or Uncomfortable - Both

Jacob is studying civil rights leaders in history right now.  Now, for some reason, Jacob is the only black child in the class - I'm not sure there are even brown skinned students in his class, so he stands out.  I asked him how he felt about the discussions and he said, "I'm offended".  I asked him what he meant by that and he said everyone always looks at me.  We discussed that offended might not be the exact feeling he was having - uncomfortable perhaps.

Today I looked up the definition of offended.  It said, "to cause displeasure, anger, resentment, or wounded feelings in".  Well, my bad, he very well could have been offended.  I'm sure he resents sticking out

Jacob prefers to blend and subjects that obviously set him apart from everyone else definitely makes him uncomfortable.  When we pulled up to his first soccer practice this year he talked about how he's always the only black kid on his soccer team and Ella piped up - "yeah, me too".  I'm really hoping that next year there is an infusion of some color into his grade level.  It's a bummer as Ella's class is quite diverse.

On the other hand, Ella wanted me to do her hair while we're on her 5th grade overnight trip next week.  Many of her friends are curious as to how her hair looks "down" which isn't exactly the word that reflects her hair undone.  I told her there would likely not be time.  So, instead we did an updo in which most of her hair is froed - is that a word?  I must admit I was glad to see that two of her friends, who are also African American, are in our room for the trip so when she puts her bonnet on to sleep in and oil her hair at least some of the kids won't be surprised.

I'm glad Ella is comfortable with "teaching" if you will.  She seems to understand the curiosity of some of her classmates and knows they are simply interested, especially in her hair.  Jacob, on the other hand, is uncomfortable and yes, Jacob you may be offended as well.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Go Callie Go

Our gal Callie has endured anxiety probably since she was about 4 or 5.  We first started noticing her hands flying to her ears when walking through a parking lot and a car would start it's engine.  Pretty soon she would just automatically have her hands on her ears when we walked through a parking lot.  Then she would just have her hands on her ears whenever we were anyplace she viewed as unpredictable.

It was suggested we try a therapy where she would wear headphones which would play varying sounds and the idea was she would become desensitized.  Seemed like a good idea - a $100 headphone idea by the way.  However, the first time it played a sound she didn't like - headphones flew across the room and that was the end of that therapy.

It became so bad sometimes that she became adept at opening things or picking things up with her elbows as he hands were covering her ears.  Someone suggested putting headphones with music on, but that was a no go as well.

Somewhere along the line we'd also tried various supplements and dietary changes.  All which seemed to help, but not to the extent that was needed.

One day all the kids went outside to play as did she, but the wind was blowing and she immediately flew into the house sobbing.  She wanted to play outside so much, but just couldn't handle the noise.  She slams all the windows open whenever she's inside - just in case there is a noise, any noise she can't handle.  Mark suggested she try his ear protector headphones and I thought no way will she wear those they'll just bug her.  She stuck them on and flew happily outside to play.

Needless to say we were thrilled and before long we didn't go anywhere without the earphones.  Then her sensitivity or anxiety to sounds started troubling her even with the earphones.  Among other things it added to an anxiety level that caused meltdowns as I've written about a few weeks ago.

Finally, it seemed time to look at medication as an aid to control the anxiety.  As I discussed the different med possibilities the medical provider said, "oh you probably know all about these."  No, I assured her, this was the first time that we have had to look to meds to help with a behavior or non-medical issue.  She seemed quite surprised.  In a way, that made me feel better as I knew for sure that we had tried many other ways to help Callie without resorting to pharmaceuticals.

She started on the med just last week and we saw immediate results in her sleep pattern.  She was a frequent middle of the night awakener - dancing away in her room, playing with her dolls etc.  Thankfully once her sister was able to move out and into her own room she would keep it down to a volume that we could sleep, or should I say doze, to.  We have had nearly a week of nights without those wake up calls and that alone seems a miracle to me.

Last night I decided to give it one more try at Special Olympics.  If she couldn't make it last night she would be done for the season for sure as the area meet is this Sat.  I was all over her and we repeated our SO mantra, if you will, of I will stay cool, calm and collected and for crying out loud she sure did.  Only one time did I notice her pooking out her lower lip which can be a "tell" that she is about to blow, but she pulled it out.  By the way, it was because someone passed her on the track.  She is a bit competitive - believe me she didn't get that from us.

I doubt that we are ditching the earphones anytime soon, but I'm so good with that.  So off to the area meet we go this Sat. I'll be a bit anxious, if you will, till we make it through the day and it will take more than a week of relative calmness for me to get over where we've been, but we are definitely on the right track - sorry it had to be said.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Yesterday in yoga the teacher pointed out that genetics determines how much flexibility you have.  You can improve it with practice, but to a great degree you can only go as far as your genetics will allow.  Those are musical words to my completely inflexible body.  There's nothing more discouraging then seeing other yoga-mates bend themselves into pretzels while I'm still trying to forward fold without bending my knees.

Flexibility in life is a completely different subject.  With a family like ours, flexibility is essential.  However, it is a trait I learned with my first child and I would say it's a very important trait for any parent.

When you are able to be flexible you can enjoy those spontaneous moments when your child finds a butterfly and marvel in it's uniqueness or drop everything and just sit and read the book your child came running into the kitchen to bring to you.

I remember when I was a young mom and another mother said something to the effect, "you know when you just can't go to bed knowing there are dishes in the sink?"  No, I don't know anything about that - partially because I'm not a neatie I'm a messy, but also because the dishes are probably there because I chose to help my kids with a project or sit in their room and just talk and by the time I finished that, I was just too tired.  Guess what - the dishes were still there in the morning, and they eventually got done.

I'll be honest enough to say that after parenting as long as we have I really relish every new helpful skill my able body kids learn.  I'm thrilled that Ella can now assist in lifting Shannon and help Callie pour her juice.  The more capable hands the better in this house.  I also know every new skill she develops brings the day of her autonomy ever closer and I am not anxious for that.

So, although it's been said and said I'll say it again.  Find time today to enjoy the serendipitous moment that is sure to come your way.  If today is just too stressful and you're just too tired after a long week - don't worry about it.  Just like the dishes, they'll be more tomorrow.