Friday, May 7, 2010

Burping Frogs and a Cracked Heart

It's a dreary, chilly, rainy May morning. But that's ok. There's sunshine in my heart. Alright, I know that sounds corny, but here's why: a friend of mine from my on-line moms group is holding her brand new baby boy this morning, little Asa. A year ago this past April she was also holding a brand new baby boy, but he was born with anencephaly and lived for only 11 hours. Her sweet mother in law is also in our group and she has started writing with me on FaithWriters, so I am rejoicing with Pam, as well, today. It's a sunny morning after a year of cold rain.

I caught up on all my blog reading last week. I'm kind of grateful that my friends are not nearly so verbose as I am - makes it easier for me to stay on top of their blogs! I kind of have to feel for those who are so faithful to read mine because I know I write an awful lot. I was reading one friend's and she has commented that she thinks she's going through a mid-life crisis of sorts. But in catching up, I was struck with how deeply she thinks and writes. I knew that from before but it was a fresh realization. And then it made me uncomfortably aware of my own blog, which isn't very deep at all. It's mainly a diary, I guess - a recitation of my days. It might make for entertaining reading someday when my life is different, but it doesn't go that deep into the recesses of my mind. Maybe those recesses just aren't that deep! It's not that I don't think, but my ability to do so or to remember what I've thought about is short circuted by the minute to minute demands on my already over-taxed brain. Oh well. I am who I am.

And apparently what I am right now is the mother of a frog. That's right! Since Sam became mobile he has enjoyed jumping on my bed when I go to change his clothes (I always change him on my bed). He insists on standing at the head of the bed and catapulting himself over the length of it. For the past couple of weeks when doing so he's cried out, "Ribbit, ribbit!" And then he grins at me and announces, "Sam a frog!"

Oh, speaking of frogs: David detests those little squat reptiles. I think it's because we sometimes get them down in our fruit cellar and when I've sent him down there to retrieve something for me he's been startled more than once by a frog leaping out of his way. I don't blame him. They're kind of slimy. But he's taken his dislike to a whole new level. When I had Sam we got lots of cute little boy clothing and blankets and such with green froggies printed on them. David would always shudder and implore me not to use those things because of the frogs on them. Yesterday Will, sensitive big brother that he is, captured a frog in his hands, motioned David close, and then gleefully surprised him with a frog in the face. You could hear David's screams for blocks around. David came tearing into the house, his chest heaving and eyes wild with fear. Is this normal? I'm kind of at a loss, handling this level of fear. Frogs were what set him off yesterday but he is just as terrified of thunderstorms. Every single time a dark cloud passes by, David is convinced a tornado will soon be bearing down upon our house. I've tried to talk him about his fears, prayed with him, assured him of his safety, but nothing seems to alleviate this. I'm really hoping maturity takes care of it, but shouldn't that be kicking in about now? He'll be 11 in 3 weeks. It concerns me a little bit. Maybe it just means he'll be an exceedingly sensitive man someday - which means he's going to need a practical, sturdy, "no-nonsense" type of wife.

Sam burped loudly in church the other night. He's turning into a little pew monster. Paul says I just need to show him "who's in charge." Yeah, right. Sam actually acts like a little golden angel when Paul sits with us, but when it's just me he's suddenly chattering about everything, banging his toy cars together, mooshing his animal crackers into the upholstery, and burping. Will was sitting in the front row (we were in the back) with his friends and he told me he heard Sam. Great! I should add that after Sam let out his lusty belch, he looked at me, opened his eyes wide, and proclaimed loudly, "Sowwy, Mom!"

So my job right now is to keep him quiet and to keep him away from CPS' prying eyes. I realized the other day that poor Sam is covered in bruises from head to toe, it seems. He is so physical right now and is constantly running into things, banging into doorways and chairs, and getting all these minor hurts just constantly! And then last week he was a feast for some mosquitos and was covered in red bumps from bites for several days. I sure don't remember the other boys going through this, but they must have.

I read an amazing book Tuesday. It's a study book that was given to me last month at my sp. needs mothers' meeting. It's called "Special Strength for Special Parents" by Nina Fuller, the mother of 2 daughters with Downs Syndrome. The group is going through one lesson at a time, but I could not put the book down. I felt so lifted up as I read testimony after testimony of other mothers dealing with the pain, daily frustration, and special joys that come with having a child with different needs. I haven't realized how isolated I've been in dealing with Ben until just lately. It's like I live in two worlds. I have my normal life with friends and family and all the "normal" things that happen within that realm that everyone else deals with, too. But then I step into my other life and that one is filled with things like wiping my child's face after he eats - and having to lift up my arms to do it because this child is now taller than me. It has to do with the extreme frustration of dealing with his arguing and constant determination to prove himself right and get his own way. It's a world filled with words like IEP, waiver, OT, PT, transitory services, perverseration, psychiatrist. It's being reluctant to get together with friends, especially at other people's houses because I'm fairly certain my child won't behave in a normal way and I'll spend my time being embarrassed, apologizing, and chasing him. I'm not complaining, but just pointing out the isolation factor. And I suppose, too, that's true to an extent for anyone dealing with something atypical, whether it's an illness or any other type of negative circumstance. Unless a person has lived it, they can't really understand and so, that part of your life will remain only your's. And who says I don't get deep on here?!

Sunday night, Matt and Jenny slipped into church. Ben asked me where their baby (Rebekah) was. I reminded him that she's in the hospital because she's still sick. Then, from the pulpit Pastor said something about Rebekah needing physical therapy. Ben's eyes got wide and he whispered, "You mean their baby is a 'therapy kid?'" Ben has referred to all kids like himself for several years now as "therapy" kids -as in, kids who receive some sort of outside therapy. I nodded, and Ben whispered again, "That means she's got something wrong with her - just like me!" My heart cracked because I've never wanted him to feel like there was something wrong with him. There have been times that we've had to prohibit him from doing something and it was simply because he was either physically or mentally unable to handle it. We've had to gently explain it in those terms and he's been pretty good about accepting it. But I never, ever, wanted him to think there is something wrong with him. Somewhere along the line, we've failed in expressing to him that he is perfect in God's eyes, and exactly the boy He intended him to be.

And then, just a couple of nights ago, Ben was talking about something - I don't remember what - but he finished a sentence with, "because I'm different." My heart cracked even wider. This is what hurts me the most. I can handle all the other stuff, even the horrible behaviors that push me to the brink. But knowing that my child realizes he is "different" from the rest - oh, the pain of that is hard to even express. This is what I feared most when he was little. I either wanted him to recover so well that his differences would be barely discernable or I wanted him to be so severely disabled that he would never know. To be caught between both worlds seems cruel.

But at the same time, God knows. He has allowed Ben to progress to precisely this point, knowing that Ben would reach an age where he would understand that he isn't like others. So, while it hurts me as Ben's mother, it's really the same thing it has been since the morning of Nov. 17, 1996 - simply trusting Him. Well, there's nothing "simple" about it, really. It continues to be a choice.

I didn't mean to get so morose. Maybe the gloominess outside is affecting me more than I thought. On to some good/interesting news: I've been asked to edit a book. My friend Kathy wrote a book of 12 children's stories that is in the pubishing process. It's been through the regular editing process at the publisher's but she's been asked to do some editing on her own to make sure everything reads as it should. So she sent me a copy, asking me to take a look at it. I think I feel honored! I'm hoping to tackle that tomorrow.

And tomorrow will be a better day. The meteorologists are promising a sunny (although cool) day, I don't have to spend my Sat. cooking Sunday's meal because Sunday is Mothers' Day and I don't cook on Mothers' Day! And I don't have to go anywhere, so I can spend the day accomplishing tasks on my "red" to-do list. And I get to sleep in! So, I cannot complain.

Early this evening the boys and I are going to head to town to do some banking and then make a quick Walmart run. There is a graduation open house at church for one of our (homeschooled) seniors. We'll be there for awhile and then leave Will there. He is spending the night with his friend and then tomorrow, along with his youth group, he'll be at Adventureland all day long. He said something about going to see a movie called "Iron Man" tonight. I don't know anything about it - I assume it's ok to view - ??? I think I rely on his own good judgment too often. One of these days that's going to get the both of us in trouble.

Well, Sam has injured himself for about the 47th time this morning. This time he was attempting to stand on his head with his legs braced against the utility closet doors. I think his life would have been a bit easier, had he been born a girl! Guess I need to go kiss some owies!

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