The New Normal

The New Normal

Social media is great for seeing things that can be uplifting, if you are paying attention. Sometimes people share things that just lift you up or you can relate to.  In this case it was a video that someone shared. A video of a mother expressing her thoughts in regards to hopes and dreams that change when you have an autistic child. My child does not have autism. I don’t know what he has. Nobody does, but I could relate to this mother. I knew exactly what she was talking about. I recognized her pain and her struggles that she spoke about.

My son is almost twelve. When he was an infant I remember telling myself that I needed to make sure that I made life as normal as possible and to not give up going places as a family. We haven’t, but it is really hard and I am close to it.    A few years later and I thought about how my purpose in life is to just make sure he is happy.  Through the years there have been efforts to help him and teach him. Those efforts haven’t stopped but there was a moment where the concentration shifted.  Where an understanding of who he was had to take place otherwise I would be wasting energy trying to make him be something he could not be. He was simply happy and I needed to accept that he was extremely happy in his own world, in his own body. Who was I to put pressure on him, that he did not understand, to perform the way society accepts? Would it be easier if he were potty trained? Of course. Wouldn’t I love that?! However, he is not capable of that function.

Accelting my son the way he is and making my goal be to just make sure he is happy and comfortable is often met with a few blank stares. People often wonder if I am giving up instead of trying to make him normal. It is not giving up, it is more of accepting what is and living life with our new normal instead of fighting it and trying to force the a normal that will not be. This is life.

This life with my son is hard. It is also joyful. I see miracles. I see love. I feel love and growth. There are times people compliment me on my strength. I thank them. I do not always see what they see, partly because I know I could still do better.  There are times I remind people that I have two choices: to do or not to do. I chose a long time ago to do what I have to do. I am grateful I chose that route.

Each day requires energy, sacrifice, patience and love. Each day feels monotonous. The same messes to pick up, diapers to change, a life to tend to. I wouldn’t trade it though. I cannot imagine life any differently, because this is my normal.

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Learning

I often feel like I hav much to learn as a parent. Every day seems to come with failed experiments. Ones in which I thought would work and yet they did not go as planned. Often though, my days still have successes. That is just a part of life. Learning and growing are a part of it.

I have been a little missing in action on this here blog thing of mine. There have been many learning moments in the last several weeks. Some days I feel as though I am succeeding and some days I go to bed wondering how I am going to make it through another day. We are all alive though.

Successful days for me include being able to keep on top of my son. Last week I was able to finally pack away all of the winter coats, gloves and boots. It felt so good. In its place were two containers that held shoes. I knew I was in trouble when my son almost immediately dumped them out so he could place the containers on the table. Really?! How could I have possibly expected my son, who likes to dump, not to dump out the shoes? Was I really expected order? I gave up! Okay, not really. I resolved to find a solution.

Several stores later I ended up at Shopko looking at their furniture. I  stopped at my favorite piece that was on sale. It looked so nice, but I was too poor.  I could not justify the expense when I could purchase another item slightly cheaper, although not as easy on the eyes.

Several minutes later I was home going through a box of furniture pieces. My kids were on top of it, and me, the whole time. They were excited thinking there was a new play toy for them. I was excited to have found a solution to my problem.

Everything went well until the second to last step. Normally I pay close attention to the directions and what side I am using but in the process of beginning the step and getting the kids out of my way I didn’t realize my mistake. Forty tiny little annoying nails later and I realized I had nailed the back onto the front. As gracefully as I could I removed those nails, and the back remained in one piece, albeit a little mangled. Eventually it was done. The doors covered up my the holes left over from my mistake. I felt accomplished. One more problem solved, and many more will come as the days go on.

Every day will bring challenges to each parent. There will be times we succeed and times we fail, and each day we hopefully get another chance to try again.

I’ve got this/I don’t got this

I’ve got this/I don’t got this

Last week I managed to come down with a nasty bug. I am not sure what it was. It was nasty. After a few miserable days I was beginning to feel only slightly better-just enough that if any of my kids got sick I would be well enough to take care of them.

It was good timing. Early Saturday morning my four year old became very ill, several times over. After I realized this was not a one time deal I set up a soft bed for her outside the bathroom and cuddled with her a bit before heading back to bed. That morning she lay on my lap along side her sister.  I thought to myself, “I’ve got this.” My confidence was high. I knew I could do that day, even though I didn’t turn out to have as much energy as I had hoped.

To get through the day I went to the store in my miserable state and purchased medicine, popsicles, ice, a little thing of soda, a Pedialite alternative and anything else I could think of that would help upset stomachs and fevers. Afterward I picked up three movies from Redbox and I was set. Set for a day on the couch with sick kids.

By the end of the day I was exhausted. I had already had several days without sleep and my sickness was seeming to get the better of me. But I had two kids well, one better and one on the mend. That night, however….

Let me tell you, if you ever tell yourself that you have got it just take a step back and remember that you may not always have it. That night my special needs son got a fever.  Great! But before I knew how bad I had to first change his diaper because he had leaked. That meant another sheet and two blankets to wash on top of the blankets from the night before. I figured at that rate I will never have an end to laundry. Oh wait, it never needs already.

Before I changed him though I had to get some bedding from the back laundry room. I did not want to wake anyone so I put the light on my phone and managed my way through the dark. Before I made it back my glasses fell off. No biggie, they had been doing that for weeks because they were broken and I was waiting for my new pair to come in. Two days prior a second screw had come out. When I picked these up off the floor the lens was out and another screw missing. Great!

It wasn’t that the screw meant much to me but that screw falling out was the end. I burst into tears. Literally. And really?! No shame though. I was sick, tired and worried about my kids. And I could not see very well.

In my blinded state, and still in the dark, I located the fever reducing medicine, the syringe to administer it, the diaper and wipes along with the thermometer. Oh yeah, I had my son’s dry clothes too.  So, I managed to make the bed and change my son’s diaper. But I couldn’t find his clothes. I knew I had just had them. Whatever! I went to grab new ones, when I returned I promptly found the other clothes. Of course! So I grabbed those, the medicine and the thermometer. I wanted to have them nearby. I got him dressed. I gave him the medicine. But where was he thermometer? Really?! Really?! By that point I was feeling quite incompetent. I figured if there was an audience they would probably be laughing because I couldn’t keep track of anything. After a quick search I found it and took his temperature. Way too high for comfort. So, I sat with my phone questioning if I should call the doctor and doing research online to see if I was crazy or not.

It turns out I am not crazy. My son’s fever was down by morning and he is fine. My new glasses came in a day later and my children are all on the mend if not well.

But I think about that night, not so long ago. I didn’t feel like I had it. I did. Somehow that one little screw was the last little thing to make the big things seem like too much. We all get those. We all have those little things that seem to break us and bring us to tears or to our knees. We survive though, even if we think we will not. We hang in there and keep going even when we do not see an end. I keep going. I do not give myself another option. Anyone can do the same. Is it hard? Sure. Will you cry? Probably and possibly-that is okay. You’ve got this.  I’ve got this. We’ve got this.

When it all comes crashing down

Last Friday one of my daughters received the flu shot.  Three kids down and one more to go, include me too.  A few days later she showed some mild cold symptoms but what was a cold for her has turned into the flu for the ones yet to receive the shot. (Note to self: next year everyone gets it at the same time). The last three days I have felt horrible. Being really sick and a single parent is way hard. Just sayin’. You can barely move but you still have to feed children and change diapers. You still have to put them to bed.  I do not even recall the last time I was this sick, let alone even getting the flu.

The first day of my illness started out pretty mild. I wasn’t fully sick yet and began some major projects in the house. These projects started because the night before my oldest had put weight on a high shelf which later that evening came crashing down. So, day one of sickness, and knowing how bad it was going to get yet, I started my projects.  After the first one I noticed I was a bit tired. So I stopped to play with my girls. All the while my son was in his room. All of a sudden a penetrating smell came from his room. I know that smell. It means his has taken his diaper off.  It has quite a while since he has done this. But I have never seen that much mess.  All over the blankets, the walls, his hands and the television he reached by standing on his bed. Needless to say it was a poopy mess.

I can honestly say that when I have a poopy day it really is. And it is nothing like when a baby or small toddler comes out of their diaper.

Since I was already cleaning up I figured I would do my next task. As soon as it was mostly done I was obviously without anymore energy. Two days later one blanket is still sitting wet in the washer (I’ve washed it twiced) and my energy is slowly returning. I had just enough to clean my living room.

On the poopy day my oldest mentioned how i had to admit it kind of was funny.  Yeah, it was so bad all you could do was either cry or laugh. It is my life. This is my life. Everybody has bad days, sick days and poopy days. Why? Because that is a part of life. It is not always the way it appears in magazines, on television, or even in many mommy blogs. This is why I keep it real, but spare you some of the pictures, because we need reminding that it is okay to have the not so perfect days.

Neglectful Parenting

The news and social media has been a buzz with a public service announcement or warning for parents via a video of a dresser falling on a child.  The parents shared their story to remind parents to be safe and what could happen. For the most part all of the comments I have read in regards to the video are pretty positive toward the parents but one stuck out to me. One comment that summed up the pressure parents feel and which actually hurts our children more than anything.

Sure there were comments putting down the parents and saying how they should not have kids unless they can watch them all of the time. However, it was the comment  about how the parents were neglectful because it took them around 2 1/2 minutes to get to their children’s bedroom and render aid.  It does not matter how long it really took, it is this kind of attitude that ruins people. Okay, not ruin, but it does not help. Here was somebody accusing others of being neglectful because of 2 1/2 minutes.  Did this person know how big the house was? Did they know where the parents were in the house or what they were doing when it happened?  What really made them neglectful parents? If 2 1/2 minutes away from my children makes me neglectful, especially when they scream then I ought to join those others parents through the publish shaming them receive.

What happens if my child get hurt while I am in the bathroom? Oh wait, I cannot do that unless they are in there with me because I cannot possibly let them out of my sight or I am neglectful. No more taking a shower alone, letting my kids play in their bedroom without me. I cannot let them go outside or do anything alone because if they get hurt then it is my fault and I am neglectful because it may take a minute or two before I can come to their aide. The thing is, society has it all wrong. It is not neglectful. I do present the idea that it is more neglectful to not allow them out of your sight.

Never allowing children out of your sight neglects their need for independence from you. Of course this is just observation and opinion, so I will not go into detail but I will give you the opportunity to think about it yourself.

There are many ways to neglect children, but it probably does not include many things so easy to dismiss as such.

Parenting is never easy and it especially is not easy when the whole world judges you and has some voice (directly or indirectly). There will be accidents, there will be preventable a and there will be times that you feel like a complete failure, but those things are not what makes you a neglectful parent. You look at what you do provide, who they are, what time you do give, and what you teach and then decide what kind of parent you really are then make improvements where need to be.

Minecraft Mom

Christmas break has done me in. It is now the beginning of 2017, just a few hours in, and I just want to cry. So, while trying to get my youngest back to sleep I realized how much being a single parent is like playing the game Minecraft. You got that right. I did say that.

My daughter begged me to get the game and I have to admit, in my reluctance, I did get it and we have enjoyed playing it together.  So how does it relate to parenthood? I will explain-otherwise this would be a pointless thing to mention.

I spend my days doing many things. Taking care of kids and repeating many of the same things over and over again. In Minecraft you repeat many thing. Things get broken and you have to rebuild or make new things. It is just the regular mundane things.

Then there are the zombies and other creatures. If you are not prepared for them they will kill you in the game. Well, as a parent those monsters come at you in many forms including, but not limited to, child temper tantrums, financial crises, and anything that could possibly wear you down. In the game if you do not go to the sleep the nights seem to take forever. Same in real life.

In life we gain experience through tasks amd other things. The same goes for the game. Extra experience points for the harder things, such as killing zombies. If you die in the game you lose your experience points. I tell you what, being a parent is no different. When things go wrong you feel like all the experience you ever had, and what you learned, gets thrown out the window. You feel like you are starting over. Sometimes your “hearts” have just taken a good beating and it takes awhile to gain your energy back.

In Minecraft there are baby zombies. I swear the person who developed that part of the game had a two year old who was fully into the terrible twos.

For some reason when you play the game you keep going back for more. Not doesn’t matter how often you die either. It is like you do not mind the challenge. There seems to e enjoyment.  Maybe it is the challenge of finding the end and all those end pearls-do not ask me about those a I still do not understand them. Well, the same goes for parenthood. I keep going no matter how hard I have been it-just hoping my efforts pay off.

I am sure I could make more comparisons but I am beat. I have half a little heart left of however many I get per “life” and so I leave it there or here or wherever it ought to be to end this thought of mine.

Snow

Snow

I have two children who ride buses. I am the first one on my street to start shoveling snow. I must otherwise I cannot get my son on the bus. By the time the second bus arrived I had shoveled a second time. Two shoveling trips before noon meant we got plenty of snow for fun.

Snow also means towels all over my floor to soak up all the melted snow  that gets tracked in on boots and the wheelchair. Not to mention whatever comes in on the winter clothes which pile up at the doorway.

After helping three of my children into all their snow gear and then back out again after they came back inside I contemplated on my mother. How in the world she did this with so many children I do not know. I respect her efforts.  I am sure it was probably very tiring to go through this process many times a day with her children during the winter months.

This is what makes memories though. Playing in the snow, eating it too, hot chocolate, snow angels, shoveling and all thing associated with fun in the snow.