Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mass murders committed by the Hermans family.

(That title got your attention, huh?)

I'm crazy, I know. And one of the things that seems to prove that to people is my preference for winter over summer. I love the dark and cozy of it. I love my fireplace and hot chocolate. And Christmas... I love the anticipation building up to the day just as much, maybe more, than the day itself. Teaching my kids the joy of giving, celebrating with our church, making magic happen when people aren't expecting it. It's an emotional and humbling time for me. It's a chance for me to step back for a minute and realize that even with the struggles I have that I'm blessed beyond measure with everyone I have in my life. I love the quiet of the falling snow at night and the excited squeals of my kids the first time they get to play in it.

But sometimes, the beautiful moment that I have planned... like this one... aww... making sweet little snowman cookies...



the one that my four beautiful, clean, well dressed, well behaved stepford children turns out like this...



No, seriously. We made these almost a year ago and I still can't look at the picture without laughing so hard I tear up. These were to be a thing of beauty... puffy white heads, glistening frosting bodies with black rope scarves and piped on red and green faces. What happened was a gnarly troop of bloody looking zombie snowmen that went to battle and lost. The frosting coating the cookie body said to gently warm and pour over the cookies so it would cover it and look like snow... it dissolved into the cookie completely. And that was the HIGH point of this project. The rest of the decorating left our snowmen looking like R rated horror film rejects that my kids refused to even eat.

I think what even further proves my crazy is that this memory is even better than the one I was planning to make. I'll never look at this picture without seeing Parker laughing so hard that he couldn't even talk or the appalled look on Dex's face when I tried to tell him he could eat it. I think, in my head, I have all these aspirations to have perfect memories for my kids. Things like this remind me that it's not about having perfect memories, but having good ones.

On that note, I'm off to see what other precious memories we can slaughter this year. Bring it on Pinterest!!!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Update on yesterday's post...

Today is a new day and although I had to spend my morning at the dentist, I have a smile on my face as my kiddos fly through the front door after school... Dex leading the way, of course.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A heartbroken Mom...

Tonight I'm struggling. My heart is hurting and I'm feeling like a bad mom.

I'm a firm believer in praising in public and correcting privately. I want to build my kids up and focus on their strengths, especially to others. But tonight I'm sitting here filling out forms and picking out every single last struggle and awkward trait Dexter has. I have to read it. Acknowledge it. RATE it on a scale for how severe/how often it happens. And then I get to write up a summary of how these things negatively impact his life so I can go turn it in to strangers who will read the worst my son has to offer this world.

NEVER in my life have I focused so deeply on the struggles and oddities of my baby. I'm telling a panel of strangers about every. last. thing. How the wrong color bowl upsets him, how he needs to be the one to open the front door, how he doesn't like eye contact and often times looks through people as if they aren't there because he doesn't want to deal with them, how he gets fixated on a particular activity and moving on to the next can be hard, how he doesn't like to be touched by strangers ever and even Shawn and I don't impose it on him if he doesn't want it.

This is so hard. I love him just the way he is. I like that I know he wants the blue bowl. I don't even mind asking if he wants a hug and a kiss good night. (And most of the time he says yes and I feel like a million bucks because somehow, I'm one of the lucky ones that he's let in.) Why can't they ask me about how his personality has a magic to it too? He loves animals and can feed the peacocks at the zoo out of his hand. He appreciates little things like having his own notebook to color in and smelly colored pencils to write with. He will sit contently next to me for hours while I blog or clip coupons.

I know this is necessary. And I firmly believe this is the right choice. He needs an IEP (Individualized Learning Program) so the accommodations he needs to be successful at school can be put in place. He needs a diagnosis for this to happen. But it hurts. I don't want to be forced to look at Dexie this way, to evaluate it so thoroughly. I have as many imperfections as he does. Maybe more. I'd rather put those under a microscope for everyone to analyze.

So why am I blogging about this? Well... blogging helps me sort it all out. But if that was it, I could write it all down and delete it. Mostly, I will post this, because after all of these questions and surveys, I still love him fiercely and am so proud of him! He sees the world in a way that most don't and things that we don't think about are hard for him. People violate his space and mess up his routine on a daily basis. And he keeps going. He loves school and learning. He faces his fears. Pretty amazing.

And I post it for all the other parents out there who have kids who don't fit the mold of perfection that the world pushes for. I don't love Dex INSPITE of his struggles. I love Dex. Period. Everyone should be able to love their kids that way, without condition. I'm so blessed to have the support of my friends and family who don't look down on him or pity Shawn and I. We need no pity. We are blessed to have him.

Ok... God, give me the strenght to finish these awful questionnaires. I need this to be over.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A new (and difficult) chapter.

I've been really busy lately and blogging has kind of taken a back seat to organizing jobs, kids school stuff, company and the general business of life but I wanted to post a quick update.

Sometimes, as a parent, life is about watching your children grow and flourish. And it's easy. Sometimes, it's about seeing where your kids struggle and helping them overcome or cope. And it's not. We are finding ourselves walking an interesting line with Dex. I think he may flourish and have to cope at the same time with the same thing.

Today, we took him to the doctor to check his hearing as he's failed a few hearing tests at school. After working a bit with him we were able to find a good way for him to understand the test and what he needed to do and he passed. No hearing problems. That's good. But we are also starting the process to have him evaluated for Autism.

There is still so much to be learned about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and even more than I have to learn. However, this is something that Shawn and I have discussed for a couple of years with Dex. There are a number of factors that make us feel that at least having an evaluation is warranted but I struggle with it (I'm sure there are future blogs here)... Not because I don't want to admit that he could fall on the spectrum. Label or no label, he is who he is. Like all of my kids, I love him and I'll celebrate his strengths and be there through his struggles. If we do the evaluation and it's decided he's not, he will still have the same struggles he has now and we will still be there to work through them. And if he does we will still have thousands of strengths to take joy in.

What I struggle with is the stigma that goes with the label. I don't want the label to define who he is to other people. I don't want people to make assumptions. I don't want the label to hold him back. On the other side of this, though, I don't want not having the label to hold him back either. For example, in preschool, he was tested on his letters. That day, something pushed his buttons wrong and he couldn't get over it and was unable to cooperate and he tested knowing 4 of his letters. Even his teacher knew that assessment was ridiculously off. (He knows them all.) In preschool this isn't a big deal. As he gets older, that changes. He will fail even when he knows the material. He will be seen as being defiant. He will be disciplined in ways that will escalate problems rather than making them better. If he has the label, people will understand that taking a different approach with him can almost 100% of the time prevent any behavior problems at all. (Kindergarden has been fine and he's had no behavioral or discipline issues. I can thank having a teacher who has been sensitive to his issues for that.)

So, we feel it's time to seek out an evaluation. We have an appointment on the 15th to start the process. No matter what the outcome, he's the same person. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm not scared about what the results will give us. What if he is? Or maybe it's worse if he isn't. I don't know. But whatever this chapter holds, we're starting it. I love Dexter with everything I have and I'm truly proud to be his mother. I'm going in ready to learn and open to whatever the results my be. Here we go, Dexter. I'm ready.