Sunday, July 28, 2013

to SB with love

You died six years ago today, but as Edna St. Vincent Murray wrote, "...I am not resigned."

I miss the way you felt when I held you in my arms. I miss your curly hair. I miss your smell. I miss you being a daily part of our family, the little big sister. You would have turned eight this month. I wish you could have been healed here, but I do not wish you back from heaven. I think of the day that we will be together again. 


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Introvert Mom Tips

(random ideas from the book MotherStyles)

1) If you have an extravert child, outsource their need for people and activities

2) Don't forget to teach social graces (an extravert strength)

3) Have a list of prepared phrases for responding to requests:
     "Rather than _____ (teach SS, watch 10 kids all day), could I ______ (decorate, write something for the newsletter, etc)?"

I have long suspected that Raccoon is an extravert, and little Miss Robin seems to be heading that way as well; she loves people. So I may be the only introvert in my core family, which is why I am collecting survival tips!

Monday, July 22, 2013


I read this as "Anatomy of a Tantrum" (subtitle) "Induced Meltdown," as if she'd provoked the behavior in question in order to study it, which seemed to me like a great way of preventing future recurrences. She's actually talking about a type of meltdown, namely a tantrum-induced one. I found both ideas helpful.

With Raccoon, my three warning signs are whining (what I heard another parent call the whine-fuss-flop), fixating, and escalating frustration. In full-blown meltdown, he is not able to receive assistance, be soothed, nor be distracted from his goal. But I've never actually mapped out the path he takes and where the point of no return is. I feel like this is something basic that I should have figured out long ago but have overlooked until just now. 

What I would really like to know how to fix/avoid/solve/derail/overcome/improve or change are the "nothing is right" moments (can be hours, days, weeks...) These are the times that no matter how hard I try, nothing feels, tastes, smells, or looks right. Even if I follow his specifications exactly, or do something the way we've always done it, it's "not right." These are the days that eating and clothing are particularly challenging. Today was one of those days.

Despite that, I did have a moment of triumph today. Introducing new things on a "nothing is right" day will lead to rejection and failure for all involved, no matter how appealing the original idea or intention. Everything is too much. A Goldilocks day. My father however, is new to all of this and spent the afternoon happily building Raccoon another tree swing (attempt number two after yesterday's epic failure - the swing had pitch on it, was too wobbly, etc. etc. etc. So Grampa took it down, then the wailing started "I want to swing!"). Raccoon loves to swing. My dad knows this and wanted to surprise Raccoon. He really is a good Grampa. Undaunted, today he once again told Raccoon to come see the swing.

I can already see it starting, the whine-fuss-flop just like yesterday. Second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse. But today I whisked him away, told him matter-of-factly that the swing was too dangerous, and I was not going to allow him to use it. I could see him perk up: ah, a challenge. My son loves nothing better. "I'll be careful, Mama," he protested, "I want to swing." So we negotiated a deal - he could swing as long as he didn't whine.

And swing he did. It took him quite a bit of effort. He slid off the board seat few times, but he got back on. "Look, Mama, I'm practicing!" may just be the most heartwarming words I've ever heard.

Friday, July 19, 2013


I complicate my life with rules that don't matter. 

#1    I must read the whole book.
#2    A list has to have at least three things on it.

Today, I decided to break them.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pondering: Luminance

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; 
male and female he created them. - Genesis 1:27

The image can never be "brighter" than the source. - Wikipedia

Maria Mitchell said, "Every formula which expresses a law of nature is a hymn of praise to God."

Friday, July 12, 2013

Evaluation: Making the Choice

We have chosen to have Raccoon evaluated. We've known for awhile that he's quirky - which is okay with us - but at times I see it affecting his ability to enjoy his life, which is not okay. It was not an easy choice, but it has been made and I go to the initial appointment next week. I was teetering between do it or not, but what pushed me into the yes camp was the experiences of several other moms. They wrote of wishing they had pursued an evaluation when their child was 3 or 4, instead of learning at 7 or 8 that there had been a problem all along. Another mom also encouraged me not to fear him getting a label, but to view it as a way to get access to helpful services.

So with the decision came 11 pages of paperwork that I had to complete. When I first looked at the forms, it seemed overwhelming. Do you remember when your child first responded to his/her name? Me... not so much. I do remember the first time he said his own name. It also seemed invasive: What are your sleeping arrangements? How do you discipline your child? My mommy guilt kicked in and I wondered if I was a better mom, would I still be filling out that form.

I realized that I'd received a secret message of my own from my family of origin, "Asking for help is a form of failure. You should be able to figure everything out on your own." I'm sure my parents never intended to pass this along, but I burdened myself with it at some point. After some heart-to-hearts with Jesus, I rephrased it into, "It's okay to ask for help." This was incredibly freeing. I don't have to have all the answers.

But I still let the forms sit there unfilled.

There was something else holding me back. I felt like the forms were a test and some of my answers were going to be wrong. I felt that I must have done something wrong, obviously, since I am in this predicament of not knowing how to help my child. "Ah," I imagine the doctor saying, "You co-sleep. That's the problem right there. If only you'd made a different choice, he'd be fine. See what you've done?" There it was, the feeling that somehow I did this to him, made him angry and anxious and scared of people. Is this all my fault?

I put the forms away. Maybe we would not have him evaluated after all.

Over the next few weeks (yes, I had the forms that long), I looked back at some of the parenting choices I've made and I had another revelation. Raccoon is not the first child I've parented, so I have more perspective about the things that really matter to me. I co-slept with SB too, and I don't regret any of those nights that I held her close. But I also don't judge those who have made different choices. Where everyone sleeps isn't a measure of more or less love.

Concerning Raccoon, I accept the choices I've made and my family's story, flaws and all. I've made plenty of mistakes with him, but I do know that there has been love every moment. If the tester has questions, I don't mind. I'm not afraid anymore of being myself and embracing the failures as well.

The forms are in the mail.

Illustration by me

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Future Photographer

"The ones who won't smile for the camera will be the ones behind it taking the best pictures in a couple of years..."  - mamaV (a comment on this post)

Raccoon does not like to have his picture taken. I finally gave up trying to take smiling face shots and have settled for countless shots of the back of his head. The other day he grabbed my camera and took it around the house.

There were many blurry shots of the carpet, but I also found these:

A Self-Portrait

My Sister


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Moment for Pondering: Anxiety

I was clicking around on some Asperger's articles and came across this statement by an Aspie, "I wasn't anxious; I was overloaded and over-stimulated."

I frequently think of or describe my son as anxious, but perhaps I am wrong. As my mom said, he is not fearful, he's actually quite a daredevil if there aren't crowds of people around. It's just situations with too much noise and people that seem to make him feel insecure.

Speaking of anxiety though, we are doing more allergy testing today and I am feeling anxious enough for the both of us. With his sensory hypersensitivity, skin pricks and a bare back is no fun. Pray for us.

P.S. Results: no new allergies showed up and Raccoon is apparently no longer allergic to milk. We suspected as much with the amounts of ice cream he's been consuming lately, but it's nice to have it officially confirmed. He was a champ and held off on the meltdown until we got home. All in all, a success.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Pondering: Scripturient

Definition: "Possessing a violent desire to write." (found on brain pickings)

What would that look like in a sentence? I wonder.

Get out of my way, I'm scripturient!

I was seized by a scripturient urge.

It was my year of scripturience.

Illustration by me

Thursday, July 4, 2013

On Hold

Today was the first 4th of July that I've spent in the U.S. with my family in a long time. We did fireworks, a picnic in the park, a tuba/clarinet/trombone concert... the whole works. It was good.

Things are going to be on hold around here for a bit because my husband started a new job. I'm holding down the home fort and with two littles, that's about all I can do at this point.

I hope to be back soon.