Saturday, May 28, 2016

New

It's been 3 weeks since I last wrote, and I don't really even want to sit down and write today. Saturday morning on a holiday weekend, but Aquaman, Greystoke and I spent out morning running errands all over town, and we are glad to be home. The Dude spent the night with Noni and Papa, and will be home soon.
Greystoke is napping.
Aquaman is playing trains, which he rediscovered yesterday, and I am happy to see he has not outgrown. I remember so many hours that he spent, starting just a little older than Greystoke, on the ground making the trains roll around the track.
It wasn't until he was 4 or so that he would allow me to turn them on and let them run...he was terrified of them when he was younger. Even now, he mostly prefers to push them...talking softly to himself.
He very patiently taught Greystoke how to do it yesterday, but Greystoke only has a few minutes of patience for leaving them on the track, and Aquaman has much less than a few minutes' patience for that kind of behavior.
But we are 4 days into summer, and it is going so well.
To be sure, Aquaman has had his moments, but it is nothing like during the school year when he is wound up so tight that the smallest thing will make him snap and dissolve into a downward spiral.
His last report card showed that he is now reading at a 6th grade level, even though he still proclaims that he hates to read.
We are taking the summer off of all writing or forced school work other than 20 minutes of mandatory quiet looking at books per day. He doesn't even have to read them. He always does.
He still hates it.
It hurts his eyes and his head and makes him feel restless and sick to his stomach.

But now that he has not blown up so tight that he is about to pop, his sweet side is coming out more and more. He is patient with Greystoke and The Dude.
At the park yesterday they played an imaginative firefighter game (he was the chief of course) with his brothers for almost an hour without any major incidents. He even invited another small boy to join them, and talked very kindly and patiently to him.
All of these things might not be anything to shout praises about with most 7 year old boys, but for him they are major accomplishments.
He saw his new pediatrician, cried and had to be held down for his exam because he did not know her and claimed that the otoscope hurt, and she immediately referred us for occupational therapy for sensory processing disorder and for a full psychological assessment. So the past weeks have been chasing around trying to find a way to get it covered because it will take months to make the schools do it, and I don't want to wait for them anymore.
Medical insurance doesn't want to cover what they consider to be educational testing. So we've spun a lot of wheels, but hopefully will get it done somehow this summer.
He was placed on a 6 week waiting list for OT, but they called last week due to a cancellation, and hopefully he will be evaluated next week.
JT and I finished 3 weeks of parenting classes with Aquaman's counselor, who is also a pastor, and I found these so encouraging. I've learned how to control what I can control (circumstances and not people), and not take the uncontrollable personally. I've learned to accept that though Aquaman is a normal and very bright boy, he has some special needs and therefore needs some special patience. I truly believe he will reach his potential, and that it will be more beautiful for the childhood struggles of it.
The Dude officially graduated from preschool. He passed his kindergarten readiness assessment with flying colors. I won't exactly say he is excited about starting kindergarten, because Aquaman has kind of terrified him of school, but I think there is a fair chance he is going to love it....at least until 1st grade...
Right before the last week of school, he took a flying leap off of his bunk bed in the middle of the night because he had a nightmare about snakes, and injured his foot. It swelled up quite enormously and he wouldn't walk on it, so we spent all day chasing around with xrays and pediatrician visits.
Turns out it was just some sort of soft tissue damage, thank you God, and though it took him a week to walk on it again, and he is still limping, we will not have to endure a month of summer heat in a cast without swimming or going to the beach.
He was so sweet and cheerful and patient, even dragging himself around on the floor like Tiny Tim.
He is abundantly full of energy and affection. Yesterday on his tablet, he painstakingly spelled "love mama" and gave it to me.
He is obsessed with numbers and spends every moment he can get his hands on a calculator making up his own math problems.
He makes a new friend pretty much everywhere he goes....
unless he is with Aquaman and then he sometimes has to give other kids the cold shoulder in solidarity with his brother.
And what can I say about Greystoke these days? I had totally forgotten the joys of a 2 year old. I know we will hit the terrible twos in a few months, but for now they are truly terrific. My quietest little man now pretty much never stops talking. He substitutes y for l (me YIKE pickles!) and t for c (I'm toming, mama!" and d for th (dat MINE bike!) )and I could sit and listen to him talk for hours. The rest of the hours I could spend just staring at him as he runs to and fro. Or gives me an enormous toothy grin. Or scowls and growls at me when I try to get him to perform. Even his grumpy side is completely adorable.
He loves numbers too, and counting, but hasn't quite gotten the hang of it yet...
"one, two, fwee, shix, sheven, eet, nan, ten, eweven, twelve, shixteen, senteen, eighteen, nanteen, eighteen, nanteen, eighteen!"
So pleased with himself.
I'm completely exhausted from nursing him all night, but have decided night weaning can't possibly take place until we come back from vacation. I was planning to do around his birthday but then we all got sick, and then there were last days of school and the last day of my old job and now first days of my new one and I can't fathom learning new things on even less sleep than I am getting now.
But the kicker is that I want our vacation to be as easy as possible, and having a toddler who sleeps in your bed is definitely the easiest way to travel.
There have been so many changes in our lives all at once that it is really hard to process, and it doesn't help that there never seems to be a moment to sit still and process it all. I haven't spent as much time praying and reading my Bible as I should these past couple of weeks. It's hard because when you're tired it makes it extra difficult to tune out distractions, and yet when your tired is usually when life is most distracting. But God hasn't moved.
And at night when the house is finally quiet for a few minutes before Aquaman wakes up with a nightmare, or The Dude injures his foot, or the toddler wants to snuggle, and the worries and fears and anxieties of life start to bombard me, I start with any book I can think of in the Bible and try to remember one verse from it.
It's amazing how God brings you just the ones you need. And it reminds me to read. So often we don't pick it up because we're almost too overwhelmed for more instructions.
But it's not just instructions there, there's all the comfort and reminders and peace to which we should be running.
How godliness with contentment is great gain.
How deep calls to deep in the roar of God's creation.
How children are a heritage of the Lord, and His reward.
I know it looking at them.
My new job is going really well, and I am so excited to dive deeper into it. I love the opportunity to learn new things and reach out to new people and love with whatever skills that God has given me. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to do that within the flexible parameters I have been given.
And now other change, and other new opportunities are looming in the horizon as well, and I am excited to see how these will pan out.
It will be a summer of great growth and change and adventure and opportunity.
God is making so many things new in our lives. Which is funny, because that is exactly what the theme of the sermons have been at our church for the past month.
I mean, it's not really funny at all, because God always knows the things of which we need to be reminded.
"Forget the former things, do not dwell upon the past. Behold I am doing a new thing, will you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19






Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Rescued

It has been such an amazing week.

We're sick. My cold is still here. I almost completely lost my voice, and I haven't slept in a while and night weaning has been postponed. The Dude's temp was almost 103 last night, and then Greystoke started to feel hot. He's finally getting it. And now we pray his ears stay clear through it. Aquaman has been the toughest, though he is the one who has prayed to be sick for months now. His highest temp was less than 100 but he spent his whole day at school on Monday feeling like he was going to pass out, but never told anyone. He was better yesterday, but I assured him over and over today that if he doesn't feel well he can ask to go to the clinic. He is such a guy of integrity. Because he hates school so much, he is very hesitant to try to get out of it.

The Dude stayed home from school today. We went to the doctor just to be sure, but she thought it was viral. Flu and strep were negative.

 He is happy to be snuggled up watching Caillou, and I am happy for an excuse to sit down next to him and write on this rainy thunderstorm day. It's going to rain all day. I love the rain. Because tomorrow it will be sunny again, it almost always is.

Aquaman has had his ups and downs. After a very rough night on Monday, probably partly because he wasn't feeling great, JT and I made the decision that he will not be doing any more of the school work that he has not completed at school at home for the rest of the year. He freaks out. It's too much. He is 7 years old and he is about to explode from stress, and something has got to give. So last night we threw away his unfinished work in the trash can. Aquaman worried for about 3 minutes and then he smiled and said "ok!" He promised to continue working as hard as he can at school and when he comes home he will do his reading and that is it for the rest of the year.
I am relieved too. And last night he was night and day different than the night before.

Last week he threw a rager after school and later in the counselor's office. I had to hold him down to keep him from attacking his little brothers and throwing things across the room. He scratched my arms and broke the skin while I held him. It was terrifying, because he has not been that extreme before in public, in a place where it is impossible for me to isolate him and calm him down while also caring for the other 2. But it was also in some ways a relief for the counselor to see how he can get after school. He felt that some of the contributing problem is low blood sugar after school, He said because he is so thin, has such a high metabolism, and is so active he needs to eat at least every 2 hours. So since then I have been throwing food at him as he walks out the door from school. I think maybe it helps a little.
He also brought up stimulants again.
But I am just not ready to go that route. I really don't know if he even has ADHD. And I also still think so much of this has to do with the incredible stress he has perceived himself to be under this school year.

I had the chance to sit down and pray for him for almost an hour on Sunday night. And while I was praying, God gave me this verse:

"This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chronicles 20:15

It was such a great reminder to me. Aquaman is my child, but more than that now he is God's child. God cares more for him even than I do, and He's got him in his hands even when it doesn't seem like Aquaman is listening or even cares. I don't have to do this myself. I need to do whatever I can, but I need to remember that this is not my battle, even and especially when it looks too vast for me. It is God's. What a relief!

JT also reminded me months ago of this verse, and I keep coming back to it:
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12

It is so easy to forget sometimes that Aquaman is not the adversary here. The struggle for power over his life comes somewhat from his flesh, but mostly from powers that I can't even see. Which brings me back to the relief of 2 Chronicles 20:15. And also the amazing encouragement and conviction I have been receiving from Coastline Church lately about prayer. Prayer is powerful. "The effective prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much." Not all that we want. But much. The battle is the Lord's. All he asks us to do is keep marching forward.


JT has been coming home right after work every day this week, and it has been so amazing. We sit down and eat dinner at our new hand me down table and it is great to feel like a family again.

It is incredible how much less unnerving Aquaman's tantrums are when JT is there with me and I am not taking it all on myself. And on Sunday when he lost his mind over unknown craziness, I took the younger 2 to the beach and JT took Aquaman to work out. Just what we all needed. We were meant to be a family.

Which brings me to the most incredible part of my week.
On Saturday a member of my extended family whom I have been working for very part time for the past several years called me up and asked if I would like to work more for her. I knew immediately that it was the answer to the prayers I had been praying, but agreed to pray about it and get back with her. Yesterday I met up with her and told her I was definitely interested. I am seriously so excited. I have really enjoyed the work that I have done with her so far, and I will basically be doing the same sort of work that I have done at CMS, minus the clinics: care coordination for her clients. She is so supportive, and my position will be so flexible and I will be able to work from home at times, which if nothing else is going to save me almost 2 hours in commuting time.

Things at CMS have been so sad. Everyone has looked to be on the verge of tears. Everyone knows that the end of an era has come. CMS served its purpose in its time, but its time seems to be over, at least in the way it has been. Which is very sad, and I don't know if I have even come to terms with the fact that 10 years of a part of my life will be over.

But yesterday I gave my 2 weeks notice. Since I will only be there a few more days and am covering clinics during those days, I already started cleaning out my office, which I have been in for 7 years. I thought I would be more sad, but it's too amazing.

I cried all the way from work to pick up Aquaman from gymnastics. I don't remember the last time I cried that much, except maybe when K lost her babies. But before that, it had been a long time. And this time they were not sad tears at all. They were happy tears, like I haven't cried since I lay in the hospital holding Greystoke all night just over 2 years ago.

I cried because I felt so amazingly loved. I know that God loves me. I believe that God loves me when times are hard and confusing, and that he walks through all the valleys with me. I believe that none of that compares to the glory that we will see someday in heaven. I know that this world here is not our home, and that nothing is ever perfect here.

I have been so grateful for my husband, whom I love with all my heart, and my 3 boys....those 2 feisty redheads and the sweetest white blond baby. I am thankful for our home, even though sometimes it gets small, and the car that somehow fits us all even though it's hard to buckle everyone in.
I am so amazingly thankful that God has saved me from my sins, and that I am not a slave to them anymore, I have been set free. All of those things, they are enough. They are more than enough.

But yesterday, I left like God reached down and picked me up and set me up high on a rock, and said "you're mine, and I have something wonderful for you."
It's not because I deserve it, none of this is, it is just because He loves me. Oh, how He loves me.
We don't always feel loved, even when we know we are. But sometimes He reaches down and reminds us that He sees our hearts, that when we delight in Him, those desires can come true.

"He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me."
Psalm 18: 16-19