My Family

My Family
Here we all are!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Too Much of a Good Thing

When our Callie arrived 9 1/2 yrs. ago she had severe attachment issues.  One was that she hold up her hands to be picked up and within about 30 seconds was pushing away.  It was up then down up then down over and over again.  It was exhausting, but slowly and surely she spent more time being held and received touching in a soothing way rather than an uncomfortable feeling she resisted.

She never became much of a snuggler and the times she would actually sit in my lap or close by me were pretty rare.  This is why one of the behaviors we're currently dealing with is a bittersweet problem.  She is working on personal space.  She doesn't have great boundaries and her closeness and sometimes inappropriate touch makes many people uncomfortable.  Lack of boundaries is another consequence of attachment issues as are a lack of social skills.

Tolerating touch was something we worked long and hard on with Callie and now we find ourselves trying to teach her the difference between who she can touch, how she can touch and when she can touch.  Trying to explain to other typical kids in middle school, let alone adults,  she doesn't mean anything when she taps them on the chest besides - hey pay attention to me - is difficult.

As so often happens with Callie, it's a good "problem" to have.   It's a lot like when speech pathologists  exaggerate a sound knowing that once the person has it, they can back down on the exaggeration. Similarly we will continuing teaching Callie when and how to touch others.  It's a bit of the "too much of a good thing" problem, but considering the alternative that she might have never allowed touch and always been defensive towards any physical affection - I choose to deal with this.

Friday, February 8, 2013

When I'm Good and Ready

Callie seems to have overcome yet another obsession.  She had a rollercoaster book she's carried around for probably a good 6+ months.  We found a replacement online, but every time I thought I'd ordered it, I really hadn't.  I think it was God's way of pushing all of us to let it go.

Today, Callie came home and went straight to the trash compactor and put the ragged few last pages into the compactor.  She was good and ready.  I may hold my breathe when bedtime comes tonight and she doesn't have her beloved book to prop up as she has every night for the past umpteen nights, but I am pretty confident that she is ready.  She hasn't gone back to look for it yet.  I may get her a new Barbie doll just to distract her at bedtime, the Barbies sleep with her too.  That seems a small price to pay for that bacteria laden book to be permanently retired.

Callie has been decisive about the end of several obsessions or behaviors.  We often found ourselves saying, "Huh - have you noticed how Callie doesn't ______ anymore?"  Squirt lotion all over, flood the bathroom, write on walls, freak out when the blender is turned on, eat so much she vomits - and a host of other past behaviors.

It's the hope that "this too will past" that keeps us going some days.  Most of her behaviors seem to come and go, which is comforting when we're facing one that is particularly disturbing.  Right now, she is obsessed with kissing.  First she wanted other people to kiss and would put couples together and demand they kiss.  Now, she wants to kiss - anyone who happens to be around when she has the urge.  She is an indiscriminate kisser - any age, any gender, anytime.  Most people find it amusing, but when she corners someone or goes in for a kiss from a younger more vulnerable child, that's not so cool.

Someday, God willing, we'll one day look back and say, "Huh, remember when she used to try to kiss everybody in sight?"

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Take a Pause

A few weeks ago Jacob's school began it's third quarter.  The teachers asked the kids to write two goals for the rest of third grade.  The examples given had to do with passing reading levels etc.

This is what Jacob wrote - exactly.

1.  Do not Get Posis in a week.
2.  Do not tock ot uf trn.

Just a reminder - Jacob has learning disabilities.  He has worked long and hard to get close to grade level in reading.  Writing is painfully difficult for him.  

The first goal states that he doesn't want to get any pauses in a week.  This is the classroom's version of time outs.  When they aren't paying attention or are disruptive, they take a pause.

The second goal says that he doesn't want to talk out of turn.  That's pretty self-explanatory.  The teacher's comment was, "Both achievable goals".  

I have really mixed feelings about these goals.  On the one hand I'm glad that Jacob wants to get along in school and doesn't like when his behavior doesn't reflect the kind, gentle young man he strives to be.  On the other, it bothers me that behavior and not academic achievement is not the first thing that comes to his mind.

Jacob gets very frustrated with himself when he isn't able to reach these goals, but from what we've seen, it's not because he doesn't want to.  Sometimes he just can't.  This doesn't mean he can't or won't at a later date, but sometimes - it's just not possible in that moment.

Personally, I know I would be a much better person if I took a pause before spouting off my mouth or judging someone else harshly.  We surely have high expectations for children - sometimes much higher than what we as adults expect from ourselves.

Everybody just take a pause today.  The world would be a much nicer, kinder, gentler place if we just followed that piece of advice.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Movie Set House

A few years ago while Mark was working on a new bathroom Jonathan commented that our house was like a movie set.  We just keep moving walls around to make new rooms to suit the needs of our family for that particular time and we are at it again.

 When we first moved in, 21 years ago,  we had 7 kids and this house had 3 official and two unofficial bedrooms.  So, we divided the basement into two bedrooms and we were set - for awhile.  Later on we sectioned off the end of our family room and made it into a bedroom for the Jacob and Christian.  Our master bedroom was split into a bathroom for Shannie and a bedroom for Ella.  We also had a half bath which we took out and made into an alcove with  desk and computer.  Right now we have 6 official bedrooms, only the boys are sharing for now and we're ready to have our basement back as a rec room or whatever they're calling that type of space now.  

The picture on the left shows the wall that's being removed.  The picture below is painted on the wall that was Jonathan's room with "Pokinatcha Punx" - which we let Jonathan paint cause we're just that awesome as parents - from the band MXPX which he loved at the time.  It was forever called the Pokinatcha kid room.  It ended up being a graveyard for no longer useful items.  Now, it's being cleaned out and we'll see exactly how it turns out.

In honor of the first day of African American History month I quote Mary McLeod Bethune,  "I never stop to plan. I take things step by step."  This works best when remodel projects happen around here.  We never know exactly what the end project will look like - it's the beauty and the curse of this old house.