Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Long overdue update... because I'd rather blog than clean bathrooms.

It's been a long time since I've posted an update. Life just keeps clipping along and I've just been running to try to keep up with it. A lot has happened since I last updated so here goes....

The mundane... we are working on finishing the basement. It's sucking up an insane amount of time, energy and money and it's taking over most of my house. I'm looking forward to this project being done. I originally thought it would be a place I could send the kids down to but it's turning into more of an adult space. Shawn's office will be down there along with a home theater area. I think I'll be hiding down there!

The exciting... we are now less than a month away from our Disney trip! We've literally been planning for this for HALF of Jabe and Dexter's life so it's so exciting that it's almost here. It's time for me to get back into trip planning mode so I can be sure that the train ride there isn't a disaster. I think I've got enough activities planned to keep us entertained. Sleeping on the train could be interesting though.

The frustrating... my anxiety. Most people are aware that I have both general anxiety and panic disorders. Until the last few months, it's been pretty much under control. Lately though, it's been out of whack and I've been having full on panic attacks again. It sucks. I've been working with my doctor to get things back to livable and my medication adjustment seems to be helping quite a bit. It's not where I want it, but it's getting better. Mental health issues suck. Don't let things go unchecked people! You deserve to be happy!

And the kids... Parker has made HUGE, MONUMENTAL, GINORMOUS progress in being organized. ADD means he has to work a lot harder than most people do to stay organized and on top of everything. With the help of his teacher, regular rewards and a TON of effort on his part, he's filled out his planner every day for more than a month and all homework has been turned in on time. (All homework that was getting turned in late wasn't for lack of being done... he just doesn't always get around to turning it in.) I'm proud beyond words.

Regan is also doing extremely well! I attended her IEP meeting for speech last week and it's very possible that next year will be her last year of speech. That's huge considering where she started. She's also scoring well above average in most areas including reading and writing. That's incredible! Her language delays didn't delay her in those areas, which commonly happens. Her intelligence, kindness and motivation awes me.

Jabe is finishing out the year strong and we've found that he really enjoys and excels in math. He's always been good at puzzles so it's not a huge surprise but it's fun to see our crazy, energetic, extremely social child have more of Daddy's traits than just his looks. Most of the time his personality reflects more of me than Shawn. It's cool to see more of Shawn come out in him.

And Dexter... a lot has happened with Dex since I last wrote. We started having more outbursts with him, both at school and at home. He becomes frustrated and overstimulated and completely shuts down. He becomes frustrated and sad when he doesn't understand what's expected of him or can't understand what is being taught. When this happens he refuses to cooperate, sobs, struggles to get even breaths, can't communicate and shakes. Honestly, it looks very similar to a panic attack. It's scary, heart breaking and leaves you feeling helpless. We've made a lot of progress with help from his psychologist an amazing team at school. The principal, vice principal, his kindergarden teacher, the school psychologist, school counselor, the special ed director and the speech therapist have worked together to help come up with strategies to help avoid these situations and to resolve them when they do come up. After extensive testing, he has qualified for Special Ed services through the state.  I'm amazed and thankful beyond words to have such a caring group of people to work with. I don't fight for Dex to have his needs met. I work WITH them. I don't fear sending him to school. I don't worry that they will give up on him or that I'm being judged. His teacher loves him for who he is and moving on to first grade will be hard for me.

But a number of things are being done to make this transition easier. His 1st grade teacher has been sitting in on the most recent meetings. She's already working to pull him in to her class occasionally to start that transition. Dex will also be able to go in during the summer before school starts to see the class and spend some time with his new teacher before other students are there as group settings are a struggle for him. Dex qualified for summer school (3 mornings a week) so he will continue working on the skills he's worked so hard to build up so he won't lose them. Next year when school starts, he will continue with speech and the biggest change of all, he will have a para assigned to his classroom a minimum of 2 hours a day but most days, they will be able to have someone in there for the entire day! This is huge! There will be 3-4 people that will spend time in the class regularly. (Two are people he already knows and works with so the relationship has already been established.) This will allow him to have someone to be available to him for one on one when he doesn't understand what's being taught. (Writing is particularly hard as is reading since he doesn't read as much as he easily memorizes words. That makes sounding things out harder.) It also means that there will be people at the school that build steady, trusting relationships with so when outbursts do occur, I won't have to be called in to calm him down. (Or more accurately, I won't be called in to bring the dog in to calm him down.) It should also decrease the outbursts because he will have more help and less frustration.

This year, for Dex, was a year of great changes... of learning and coping. He's changed considerably from where he was when he started. It was for me too but I feel like I still have a long way to go. I still struggle to understand how he thinks. I now understand that his meltdowns always happen for a reason (something happens that for him is unreasonable, unfair or that he can't understand) but I still often struggle to understand what it is at the time we are going through it. I still don't always know how to communicate to him the reasoning or explanation for why we can't always let him do things his way. I don't always understand how his brain works so finding the proper teaching methods is still a work in progress. And if I'm being truthful, I still am struggling with the fact that Dexter needs to be parented in a way that is uncomfortable for me. I'm the parent. I'm in control, I am the boss. Don't listen and there are consequences. But that doesn't work with Dex. He doesn't inherently respect my (or anyone's) authority. Exerting my power over him means nothing. That's tough for me. He needs to feel control over his world and there are things with him that just aren't worth pushing because it's not in his best interest. It's hard for me though because things that I perceive as rude or wrong should be corrected. He pushes me to rethink my rightness (is that a word?) and consider that right for me isn't right for him and therefor, maybe what I think is fact is actually just my opinion. I know that the world isn't black and white but he shows me just how many shades of gray there really are.