Thursday, November 24, 2011

Come on, people! Be Thankful!

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving." ~H.U. Westermayer
It's that time of year again, and I'm ready to make my post out to let ya'll know for what I am most grateful.

First and foremost, I'm thankful for my life. It's not perfect, far from it, in my opinion, but since when is perfection a requirement for finding happiness in your life? Since never, that's when!

Second, I'm grateful to be a member of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This church has given me so much to be thankful for: the knowledge of a loving Savior who suffered and died for me; the knowledge of a loving Father in Heaven who is aware of me and my needs. This church has also given me friends in strange places and a reason to get up on Sunday mornings. It has given me a modern-day Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, whose wise counsel has given my life meaning and direction at times when I felt most lost. All in all, the Church is so much in my life, that it is part of who I am. I can't have life without it.

"We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that 'gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.'" ~ Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

From our engagement photos. We were so young... and thin.
Thirdly, and this is a no-brainer. I'm so grateful for my family! My husband is amazingly loving and supportive and gives me so much grief ... uh... I mean, love and reason to be happy with life. He puts up with my tears and holds me when I'm falling apart, which, I'm an emotional being, so that happens a lot! He has seen me at my highest high and my lowest low and I am so grateful for his continued love in my life.

About 9 months pregnant with Daniel.
My kids are obviously on this list as well. I can't believe how fast the time has flown. They were so little not so long ago. I'm glad I have been able to enjoy all the little moments with them along the way. That's what life is all about, isn't it?
Post breast-fed coma. Love that!
I wouldn't change my life for the world! These kids, my husband, my knowledge of who I am and what I can accomplish... this is what gives my life meaning. 

Certain times of the year, it's just necessary to reflect on the things that are most important in life, the things that make us grateful to be who we are. I hope you enjoyed my abbreviated, blog-worthy version. Now make your own! There's really nothing that will make you so happy as being grateful for what you have!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Afternoon meltdowns... What now?

Since starting preschool, D has been experiencing increased anxiety and meltdowns in the afternoon. Preschool is a busy, stimulating and work-filled environment, so it isn't really a surprise to me. What is surprising is that none of our tried and true methods for calming his over-stimulated nerves are working, in fact they are making things worse.

Here I am, every morning, fighting his tears and trying to pretend that I'm not sad too. He is having preschool anxiety and so am I, and I have no idea what to do about it. 

Right now, I feel like this school is the best place for him to be. He needs the social practice with adults and with kids his own age. He needs the practice with writing, colors, his letters, and everything else cognitive related. He also needs the occupational therapy and speech therapy which he is hopefully going to be approved to get as well. Right now he is less than 50% understandable to most strangers. Not like that's so horrible. Some kids don't even really speak and they're his age or older. There are a few I have seen in this situation, so I'm not really making a comparison to other kids.

I'm just saying, he could be better and he needs this school to help him get there. As much as he loves me and loves to be at home, we were about to kill each other. He needs variety and room to move and things to be constantly changing and stimulating him in exciting ways. Even if I was Super-Mom and had a magical Mary Poppins-style bag with endless games and things in it to keep him occupied, I still would not be able to meet all of his needs here at home. That's why he needs the school.  

On a side note: How awesome would that bag be to have?! And I would also like to be able to snap my fingers and clean everything up when we were through.

I know he enjoys school because he tells me all about it when I pick him up in the afternoon. I bring him a "special treat" as a reward for being such a brave boy and going to school when he didn't want to. It's usually a package of fruit snacks or a juice box, but it's just enough. He tells me all about his fun day at school and I feel pretty good about it. 

Then we get home ... and our afternoon takes a turn for the screaming, crying, sobbing, epic meltdown of yesteryear. Oh yes, hello Captain Freakout. I thought we'd seen the last of you.

This brings up a few questions: If D is doing so well at school, why is he having such a hard time 1) leaving in the morning? and 2) regulating once he is home? What am I supposed to do about this? How can our family possibly function with D so upset that he is literally crying, screaming and throwing an all-out fit for nearly 3 hours every day after school.?

The answer is eluding me. I keep thinking it's somehow just lurking in a corner and all I have to do is look at something from a different angle or just keep trying until I find the solution, but how much longer can the rest of us survive these hours of terror? What am I supposed to do?

I took a video of only 17 minutes of one of these meltdowns where for the majority of the time he was in obvious high-irritation from sensory overload. That's only a fraction of the entire length of that meltdown... the full thing lasted over an hour.

He responds well to some things sometimes, but then the next time you try that thing, it's literally like torture. He actually cries at you and screams like he's in pain and is saying "Owie! Owie! That hurts!" 

This isn't really a cry for advice, although if someone holds the magic key, then please, by all means, share! D has only responded well to changes in our afternoon routine of staying home for some "relax time." He has spent time in his own, or mine and Daddy's room, alone, where he cries, screams and otherwise throws his fit, but at least he's away from the family and whatever stimulation is bothering him most, namely everything!

What I wouldn't give to know exactly how I can help him! It is beyond frustrating. At times it's heartbreaking. I'm his mother and I should be able to know what he needs and know what to do for him. But this time, Mommy can't just make things right with a sticky bandage and a kiss. It's hard not to feel a little guilty.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Aha! Eureka! Blog-it now, post it later!

So, I'm probably the only one who just figured this out, but did you know you can schedule your posts? *GASP*!!!

That's right! You can write a blog post in advance of when you want it to appear on your blog and automatically schedule the date and time you want it to show up! I am so excited about this that I've already written three posts, not including this one, and scheduled them to release later this week! Maybe I'm just suffering from extreme lack of sleep, or maybe this is just the fact that I'm easily excited about simple things, but this knowledge has pretty much changed my life!

Up to now, I have only written blog posts intermittently because of a pressing schedule and a busy life with small children at home. With D starting preschool, I thought I'd have more time for blogging, but, as it turns out, I'm not that great at time management. I want to make the most of the time I have, whenever I happen to have it.

Aside from writing the posts in a word processing program and saving it for later, I couldn't think of a way to pre-write posts. I tried the pre-writing thing and I ended up losing the files or accidentally deleting them. With the blog scheduler, I can write more posts when I'm in the mood and that means more for everyone to read! Whether or not you like it, well that's up to you! But for me, this is like a breath of fresh air! It's like someone just opened a window when the house is hot and stuffy. Yay! Just for fun, I will schedule this post for later today.

If you don't schedule your posts yet, you should try it out and see if it takes a load off... it did for me! Now my blog is back to what it was supposed to be - an outlet for my emotions, thoughts and creativity. Woot!

Call me Mommy

There are special moments that really make me proud to be a mother. One such moment happened while putting my Little D to sleep. Let me lay it out for you.
D and I lay down together on his bed. We get tucked in and sing songs. Sometimes we tell each other stories "Once upon a time, a little boy named... D!" or sometimes it's "named Monster!" Since Halloween, D can't really pull himself off of costumes, Halloween parties and monsters. We keep this nighttime routine the same, or as similar as we can. D doesn't deal with change very well. It takes him a while to adjust to something new in his life, like Preschool, but that's a story for another post.
D about a year ago. Love this boy.
So most nights, D and I argue a little. He's tired. He refuses naps, even at school and by the time bedtime rolls around we're already in near-constant meltdown mode. Not a fun mode to be in. But there are nights, like the particular night I'm going to tell you about next, when he is simply put, angelic. Nights like this I can only think how wonderful it is to be a mother, especially to be a mother to my sensational boy. He really is amazing. He knows just what to  say when I'm getting stressed out, "Ok, Mommy, take a deep breath ... now, hold yourself ... and Relaaaaaxxx." He knows what to say when I'm feeling sad, "It's alright to be sad, Mommy. It's okay to be sad sometimes." He gives kisses and hugs and loves to sit on my lap and tell me stories about the monster who loves to eat chocolate. 
How did I get this lucky? This blessed? I am so grateful for my little boy. Now, enjoy the short story of one bright moment that has made me feel so proud to be a mommy.
We often sing songs while getting D to sleep, and I decided to sing him this one: "I love you Daniel, oh yes I do. I don't love anyone, as much as you. When you're not near me, I'm blue, Oh Daniel I love you." He then said to me. "Oh Mommy, Kank you. That song make me soOOOOoooo happy." Then he decided to sing the song back to me: "I love you Mommy, love you Mommy. Make me red and pink, Love you Mommy." 
He then proceeded to tell me "that song so perfect Mommy. I love you."
Call me crazy, but there is nothing so sweet as that kind of payout. Being a Mommy is full-time year-round, no-days-off hard work, but when you consider the chunk payouts of love, is there really any reason not to be a mother? I submit that there is NOT! Being a mother is the best job on earth. Really!! I think I'll have 6 more! ... hmmm ... well. Maybe we'll just see how things go. I always try to take life one day at a time... I guess I have to take it one child at a time too. Call me crazy for wanting more, or for only wanted a few more.... let's face it. If I really have 6 more, I'll probably go crazy before the first one leaves the house! Whatever you call me, I hope that someone in this world still calls me "Mommy."
He played so hard. He fell asleep in the middle of his toys.