Saturday, March 31, 2012

Realizing that I am a special needs mom

I have been spending time with extended family lately, and have been getting "the look" and even a few of "the talks." You know, the ones that say, "You clearly aren't disciplining your child enough." I've been trying to stay calm with Raccoon who has been particularly difficult due to all the changes and illnesses, and with my family who is watching in apparent disapproval, or disbelief, I'm not sure. So I mumble trite things to my relatives like, "Gotta love those terrible twos."

They have no idea what my life is like, or what goes on in my home every day. Yes, I have made certain choices. I'm in the trenches folks, and I have to pick my battles (very few) just to stay alive day-to-day. Why do I only have a few? Because Raccoon will win if I don't conserve every last drop of energy for our few confrontations. Strong-willed? Puh-lease, that doesn't even begin to describe my treasured and wonderfully bright son. Even my husband cannot watch Raccoon for more than an hour on a good day.  But he is fragile too and I do not want to break his spirit.

The one good thing is that all the open-mouth stares have pushed me from "I am parenting a difficult (albeit wonderful and loved) child" to "I am a special needs parent." I think I'm going to have to come up with a Ryan Gosling meme for this one.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Things I Needed to Hear Today

My Bible reading for today (thanks to my new Bible Gateway app) was Judges 1-3 and Luke 4:1-30. It may seem like a chance pairing, but those exact two passages were, oddly enough, exactly what I needed to hear today. I have felt a question rising in my heart these last few days... Is it worth it? There are some issues I am slogging through in my personal life that just don't seem to be getting any better, and I feel like I've been dealings with them for a long time now. So I wonder, will things ever improve, and if they don't, is it worth it?

I haven't been doing my devotions much since we are travelling, but I knew I had to read tonight because these questions were going to eat me up until I got an answer. I needed some truth to strengthen my faltering will, and I got it, custom-made for me. You see, Judges 1-3 talks of Caleb, his brother Othniel, and Caleb's daughter. Just before I got pregnant with Raccoon, I read a book called Caleb's Quest, which is all about making God-given dreams come true. I was at a point in my life three years ago where I was seeing the end of all my hopes and dreams. This book was instrumental in giving me the courage to continue and the faith to believe that in time, God would give me a new dream. Luke 4 is when Jesus reads from Isaiah 61 in his home-town synagogue. Both of these passages are my promises of hope from the Lord for my future. For Him to give them to me again tonight as I was feeling discouraged and ready to give up - the very same ones he had given me before in my darkest times - touched me deeply.

It was like a personal note from God saying, "I have not forgotten you. I hear you crying out to me and I will deliver you. Jesus knew his sacrifices, big and small, were worth it. When he was alone, misunderstood, forgotten, forsaken, in pain. He passed through all of those things. But in the end, it was worth it for him. And yes, it will be worth it for you, too. Stand firm. Continue. There are good plans awaiting you. Be faithful. Don't give up. Hang on, you're almost there. I will never leave you. I will never forget you. No matter how many time you mess up and lack faith, I'll be there when you call. I hear you. I care."

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Moment of Silence

This month has been a doozy for me in terms of death. My grandmother passed away, along with two long time friends, one an elderly gentleman and the other - one of my role-models since high school - in late mid-life. God called these three of his saints home within a few weeks of each other. I just wanted to observe a moment of respect for them and their lives here on my blog.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Stubborn Child

I've seen this blog post mentioned in several different places, and especially liked this:

"Remember, the things that might aggravate you about your child today, might be the very things when matured that make them great for God’s kingdom tomorrow."

Why do I chose to confront Raccoon over very few things? Because I know he'll win. I need a strategic plan if I'm going to triumph. Apparently I should have studied to be a general in order to manage my troop of one. I have a strong will, but his is... impressive. If I wasn't his mother, I would probably laugh and wish all those who stand in his way good luck. But I am his mother and have been given the task of shaping this monster-will into a man of discipline and faith who loves God, all without breaking his spirit in the process. I'm glad the Lord felt that I was up to the task, because most days I just feel lost and wonder where to begin. Pray, pray, pray - that is my leading strategy for now.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Which superpower would I like best?


Do heroes with super-strength ever feel tired? That is one of my predominant struggles lately, poor sleep which leads to overeating to perk myself up, which leads to weight gain, and lower self-esteem. But I wouldn't want to worry about squishing Raccoon when I give him hugs. On to the next option.

Super-speed... I'm liking the thought of this one. House cleaning done in a few minutes. Check. Errands done? Check. Quick field trips and save on airfare? I'm in. I'm trying to think of a downside but don't immediately see one. But perhaps there is a better option.

Downloadable new skills, like Trinity from the Matrix. Plug me in and insta-chef or pilot or knitting or kung-fu. Could definitely be handy.

But no, I think I'll stick with super-speed. More time... perhaps the desire of all mothers. I had a thought today as I watched Raccoon unpack our tool shed and meticulously lay out all his "treasures" on our back patio: the 0-5 years are perhaps the most frustrating for parents, but at the same time, experts agree that those are the most important years during which the foundations for life are built. So tomorrow when I'm cleaning up the gazillionth mess and reading Raccoon's favorite book for the umpteenth time, I'll remind myself that these are the years that matter, super-speed or not.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Becoming Bold

I have a lot of thoughts chasing each other around my head, yet I rarely express them to anyone besides my husband, and now my son. But I am becoming bolder, speaking up - speaking out. I have to say, after years of being a quiet little mouse, this feels good!

I still hum and haw over what I write to others, wondering how it will be taken, but ultimately I've been hitting enter, send, submit, or whatever much more often, instead of just letting it go. I have been through a lot in the last few years, so if it can help someone, or open up a new point of view, I like that. It makes me feel like I might be a few feet closer to the other side, closer to wherever it is I'm going.

Friday, March 2, 2012

What If We...

I liked the video posted by Christina Fonseca under the blog entry, "Together, We CAN do more."

My two favorites were:
What if we wished without limits?
What if we made an effort to share our histories?

My husband and I have recently been talking about what we would do if we suddenly came into money. A pleasant daydream at least. We decided that we would divide the money half/half for each of us to do as we pleased. He is very practical, and I lately have been leaning more towards that, feeling that it is the "right" way to go. I thought of hypothetically investing in land or a house so we'd have some collateral in our old age. But if I really wished without limits, what I truly want to do is travel. When Raccoon is older... 5 or 10 or 15 maybe... I want to see Europe and Africa and Asia. I would like to travel with my mom and my son (if he's still into museums at that point, if not then he can stay home with his grandfather and Dad for a camping trip or something). That is my wish without limits.

Making an effort to share our histories... there was something I recently wanted to share with someone, but I didn't. Fear of opening up, of not being understood, of being vulnerable, that it wasn't the right time or we'd be interrupted... all these things kept my mouth shut. Ironically, what I wanted to express but didn't was the wish that someone had spoken up to me earlier in my life about some issues I was facing. Perhaps it was fear that also kept them quiet. I wanted to encourage my friend not to be afraid to speak up, but there I was, keeping quiet myself. In honor of this thought - "what if we..." - I decided to commit to saying what it was I wanted to say, either in person or with an e-mail. Soon.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Travelling with Tots

"Making a list is an act of hope, and a form of dreaming as well as planning." The Savvy Source

10 days to go. This list shows my hope that Raccoon will have a good time flying (8 hours). Maybe he'll think that the airports (4.5 hours) are malls, which he loves. I am praying that he will surprise us, and that I'll surprise myself with my creativity, ingenuity, and patience to get through what promises to be a very long day with a very active toddler. I will be adding to this list over the next few days, but here is the start:

From the waiting games list on the Savvy Source:

*Let Raccoon take pictures with the digital camera
*Say “I’m going to the beach and going to bring my _____" (he fills in the blank)
*What am I drawing?
*Shoebox with felt underneath lid and figures inside
*I spy…
*Fill in the blank “Once upon a time there was a little ______. The little _____ liked to _______.”
*Post-it notes
*Whose name is it? (I write and he guesses)
*I say oink, what am I?

Sensory Ideas (to get the wiggles out)

*Run cars on his arms and back,
*Drawing or writing numbers on his back and hands, etc.
*A blanket swing - 2 adults take the corners of the blanket and swing the kid
*Wheelbarrow walks
*Sensory balloons (fill uninflated balloons with beans, rice, flour, etc) from the blog Creative Learning Fun
*cornstarch and water (it's messy, so maybe in small amounts in a plastic container)

From my friends or me:

*wrapped items
*new toys
*books (hide his favorites from now until the trip)
*special snacks
*masking tape
*dioramas (I like these from Scholastic, we put the figures on popsicle sticks to use as a stage w/puppets)
*buckle, zipper, clasp, snap, button strip (homemade)
*new movies for mini-DVD player or computer

From a Parent Network:
*lock & key
*a wallet just for him full of old (real) cards
*mesh bag with several safety pins to hook on seat in front of you for storing crayons, toys, etc.