I get a little worried sometimes when I think about Olivia and how our relationship will look in the future.  She’s already pushing all of my buttons on a daily hourly basis.  What will she be like as a teenager? 

I had mentioned to one of our therapists last night that I couldn’t even remember what a “typical” 3-year-old should act like.  She told me that Liv was pretty “normal,” but extremely head strong compared to all of the other 3’s she knows.  And she’s smart.  Really smart.  Liv will have to start taking breaks from Christian’s therapy sessions because she answers Christian’s questions for him.  (And we think he has slowed at answering questions because he knows that Liv will answer for him if he waits.  Two too smart kids! 😉 )  And Liv is just so imaginative and creative and entertaining…

…but she also has a side that is overly anxious (nervous) in public.  She’s afraid of storytime (even if I stay there right by her).  She’s scared to be around “new” people in “new” places.  Somedays, she gets SO nervous that the color drains right out of her face and she looks like she will pass out.  (Wow!  I sure hope that she adjusts to 4K alright next year!)

Liv has times where she plays Christian’s therapist and advocate — reminding Christian that he needs to use his words or reminding me (or others) that Christian doesn’t like certain songs or sayings, etc.  Yet, at other times, she provokes him to anger taking his beloved letter blocks or his Leapfrog Texter, and then she wonders why he hits her…  (although, one REALLY awesome thing came out of that this week — Liv bumped his letter blocks, and Christian instead of just screaming and hitting like normal, first said, “I sad” 😦  How GREAT is that!?!  Communication at its finest!!! 🙂 )

One other thing that I am starting to realize is that I think Liv is lonely.  We don’t have a lot of close friends in the area.  She doesn’t get to play with other children much.  She talks about her cousins all the time and asked if one of them (a girl cousin just 8-months older) could move into her room.  And she tries to engage in play with Christian, but he doesn’t play the way she wants or needs.  I wish that I could alleviate her loneliness for her.

I’m also learning that her personality, which seems SO DIFFERENT than mine, is actually a lot closer than I realized.  As a child, I always felt that I was doing everything wrong.  Constantly.  That no matter how hard I tried, my efforts would never be good enough.  For anyone.  I still struggle with those feelings yet to this day.  I don’t want Olivia to carry that same burden, but in some ways, I can see it creeping up in her already.  She is overly apologetic about certain accidents she has around the house.  She hides things when she thinks that Brian or I will be upset.  It breaks my heart to see that possibility in her.  I am working to try and fix that before it becomes the lifetime struggle that I have with an inability to measure up to standards set by others (or even myself).

And, Liv, she’s just and old, wise 3-year-old.  She has great empathy.  She is super silly.  She will be setting the fashion trends as a doctor, veterinarian, fire fighter, postal worker, teacher, princess some day.  She has major heart.  And I love her, more than I could have imagined possible.

I started contemplating school next year for Olivia.  She’ll be 4 by next school year and could go to a preschool or 4K program.  I think this would be a HUGE benefit for her.  Especially working on socialization outside of our home, as she is extremely shy in public.  She is also very bright — she has been learning alongside Christian as he has therapy.  She knows her letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc.  I think school would be an awesome place for her for 3 hours/day.

I mentioned this to Brian the other day.  He asked me if I’d be OK with her gone during the day.  Seriously?!?  Did he really ask me that question?!?  We’re talking about 3 hours — only three hours — I have been dreaming about what I could do with 3 hours by myself every day for a couple of years now!  I could exercise, shop, exercise, read, exercise, shower, exercise, clean, exercise, write, etc. without being interrupted every couple of minutes with a demand for attention, to get this, to hold that, to change this, etc.  Ah, what a much needed respite in my day. I think it could be a cure for the burned-out feeling that I have been experiencing so much lately.

I love Liv.  I just think it would be good for the both of us to have a break from each other, starting with small chunks of time.  As we both seem to know how to push each other’s buttons…

Tomorrow morning is Brian’s surgery.  Hernia surgery.  Outpatient surgery.  “No big deal.”  But, really, any time a loved one of mine goes completely under for any kind of surgery, I get a little nervous.

I was there for Christian’s tooth extraction surgery when they were broken off and infected.  (When he came to, he wrestle three nurses to get the IV out of his arm, and he was only 2!  They asked me to come back and hold it in for them.  He is a surprisingly strong little man!!!) 

I was there when Olivia was put under when she had her renal reflux problem taken care of.  She was only 18 months old, but pulled through with flying colors. 🙂

Now, it’s my turn to wait for Brian.  My husband.  My love.  My partner.  As he goes under.  I have to say that my anxiety has gotten the best of me.  I’m pretty nervous.  I have already had a nightmare about it.  But I try to keep reminding myself that I am not in control of these things.  God is.

I will pray that He guides the hands of the surgeons as they repair his hernia.  I will pray that He guides the anesthesiologist as he provides the medication needed.  I will pray that He brings my husband through this surgery safely.  I will also pray that His will is done, whatever that may be.

If you are so inclined, please say a prayer for my husband and all involved in his surgery tomorrow morning.  I will be so very grateful!  Oh, please also pray for the grandparents/therapists who will be watching/working with the kids tomorrow, as we will be gone before they get up, making their “routine” very unusual for the day.

Last night, I woke at 3:30am and could NOT get back to sleep.  The more I tried to sleep, the more I couldn’t, so I decided to just get up, catch up on the news, read the ads, and chill on the couch.  I was hoping to be lulled back to sleep by the quiet of the house and the boredom of the news repeating every 1/2-hour.  It didn’t work.

I think that Christian’s anxiety over the coming break from routine is making me anxious — making me wonder if we will battle more and/or different issues than what we had last Christmas break.  We have a HUGE snowstorm predicted to slam into the state on Christmas Eve into Day which makes me wonder how our sleep will be affected because of the drastic change in weather.  Brian has a minor surgery, yet still surgery, coming up and I wonder how much pain he will be in afterwards and how much help he will need and how I will be able to balance his needs with the needs of both of the kids (as Christian’s break will still be going on)…

(The one part of his surgery day that I am really looking forward to is the 4-7 hours that I will have to spend at the hospital where I am in charge of absolutely no one else!  I will not be interrupted by a hundred questions a minute every minute for an hour.  I will not have to wipe anyone’s behind or nose (unless it’s my own).  I will not have to listen to the endless tantrum of a toddler bent on wearing a bathing suit (only) out in the snow.  …  Those hours will be a tiny sliver of the respite that I SO DESPARATELY need!!!  I am SO looking forward to that!  🙂 )

Anyway, I guess my mind is just racing.  Filled with SO much uncertainly at the moment.  Having a hard time focusing on the celebration of Christmas that is at hand.  I’m exhausted.  On the verge of tears.  Spent.  Having a hard time holding myself together.

Thankful, so very thankful, that I’m not the one in control of this crazy thing call life. 

Dear Lord, help me cast all of my anxieties on you…

The eagerly awaited “Holiday Program” happened at our local PAC last night.  I have excitedly, yet hesitantly been waiting for its arrival.  I had NO idea how it was going to go.  I think that’s what has made the wait SO hard.

I prepped Christian with a social story for a couple of weeks.  Made arrangements to have a therapist meet us there to help him wait with his class.  They have had multiple rehearsals at school and a final dress rehearsal at the PAC yesterday morning…

…I was filled with anticipation all day as I waited to pick him up from school.  Did it go great?  Was he scared?  Did he flip out with the massive size of the PAC?  My mind raced and wondered.  I had to stop myself from running into the school to pick him up, but he.Did.GREAT!!!  He LOVED the stage!  He loved it SO much that while he was waiting for the other classes to finish their rehearsal, he wanted to go back up on stage and be the center of attention.  😉  Wow!  Seriously?!?  I was beyond excited!!!  🙂

We got to the PAC roughly 15-minutes before showtime.  CS, Christian’s therapist, met us in the lobby.  There were hundreds of people milling around.  Christian was excited to see CS, but wanted me to come with him, too.  Sigh.  He dropped to the ground.  CS picked him up and headed to the area where Christian was supposed to meet his class.  (As I prayed that he would be able to calm down.)

I had a hard time waiting for his group (the first ones) to come on stage.  I was nervous for him and had a hard time sitting still.  How could ten minutes feel like they were a couple of hours?!?  Finally, the house lights flicked.  Everyone scrambled for their seats.  The kindergarteners started filing out to the stage.  Oh, there’s Christian’s 3 friends. Oh, there’s Christian.  Oh, there he goes backstage…

…My heart sank.  He was scared.  I could tell.  Yet I continued to hold onto the hope (and prayed) that maybe once his class started singing, he would want to join in.  After each song, I waited and wondered if he would appear from behind the black curtains.  He didn’t.  At the end of the third song (with one more to go), I left the auditorium to go to the “meeting spot” and see if I could find my boy.

After a couple minutes of waiting, he walked in with his teacher, tears still streaming down his face.  She told me that anytime they had gotten to the doors that lead to the backstage area, he would sob, “No church!?!”  Oh, my boy.  He was even shaking a little bit.  I scooped him in a huge hug and found a table where we could sit down and he could eat his banana.  Phew.  He started calming down.

His teacher and I were talking about all of the things that we could have done to make this more successful for him… meeting her at school (where Christian is used to separating from me) and riding over with her; having me sit behind him on stage (to be his comfort); having CS be at rehearsal in the morning and working on separating then, too; etc. …who knows, though, whether or not these would have been effective either.

Oh well, maybe we’ll get it figured out before next year, right?!?

Also, next year, I think I’ll sneak into dress rehearsal in the morning and take video footage just in-case the nighttime performance in front of hundreds of people doesn’t work out again.  😉

On Thursday, Christian was graced with his very own “Big, Fancy Bed.” 🙂

I’ll set the stage for this post by telling you that Christian has not slept in his own room for about 2 months.  The first month, he wanted to sleep in bed with Brian.  (Brian & I had decided that if he’d actually sleep we didn’t really care where it happened.  Yes, we have been that sleep-deprived.)  So I had been sleeping on the couch or with Olivia in her bed.

After a month of this sleeping arrangement working pretty well, Christian decided that he wanted to sleep in Olivia’s bed.  Well, Olivia decided that she wanted to sleep with Daddy in “Mommy & Daddy’s bed.”  Fine.  So, musical beds we go, and everyone slept OK.  Christian woke up that first morning in Olivia’s full-sized bed and exclaimed, “Oh, my big, fancy bed!!!”  Too cute!  But Brian and I got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, if we could find Christian his very own “big, fancy bed,” he would sleep in his room again.

Brian had mentioned this “big, fancy bed” story to his parents and they mentioned that they had a full-sized bed that they were considering getting rid of.  Hmm…really?!?  Excellent.  🙂 

The big change happened on Thursday.  Christian’s twin-bed moved downstairs to become a pseudo-daybed (which I was thinking could also serve as a bed for anyone who needs to be up with him in the middle of the night with his weird winter sleep habits).  The full-bed moved into Christian’s room.

Christian was a little upset when he first got home.  (Yeah, I didn’t know exactly when this was going to happen, so I hadn’t prepped him with a social story.  Oops!)  He was running around saying, “Sleep?  Sleep?” very nervously.  But then Grandma brought over some super comfy flannel Santa sheets, and Olivia convinced Christian to jump on his new bed a few times and then it was OK.  😉

Well, until bed, then he got a bit nervous again, so I slept in the “new bed”, too.  He seems pretty happy about the bed now.  (Especially since he found a spot on the footboard where he can balance his letter blocks.  😉 ) 

So, with “Big, Fancy Beds” in both kids’ rooms now, I’m hoping that we can gravitate everyone back to their original sleeping places.  (One can hope, right?!?)

I had fallen into the abyss of a sinus infection.  Between the infection itself and the medications that I was on to fight it, I was exhausted and in a haze, unable to think clearly or formulate a coherent thought.  My computer time in the last week has been spent checking email, on Facebook, and playing Latte Land at CafeMom (very addicting — thanks, KK, for getting me hooked).  All of these computer venues don’t require me to be able to think outside of my foggy realm.  I have kicked up wordpress a few times, meaning to write something and then just end up staring blankly at the screen.  Anyway, today I will attempt to play catch-up and post about the last week…

  • Last Friday — went to doctor and was diagnosed with a pretty bad sinus infection. 
  • Saturday — Olivia and I went to the Farmer’s Market to pick up some sweet corn and ended up bringing home a bouquet of flowers, too.  Christian went on a field trip with Brian to Menard’s (but refused to use the bathroom with him — boy, was he ever doing the “potty dance” by the time they got home!).  Brian went fishing with his Dad in the evening while the kids and I kicked it at home and I worked on “cleaning” the house.
  • Sunday — We went to church and had a family gathering (my side) at our house for lunch.  It was a lovely day.  Beautiful weather.  My grandmother was even able to come along.  My brothers and their families were here.  Olivia LOVED playing with her cousins.  (My sister couldn’t make it as her family lives way down in the Southwest.)  Anyway, it was lovely.  I just had to make sure that I didn’t sit down for too long as I was really ready to just curl up and take a nap.
  • Monday (Labor Day) — Christian had 2 hours of therapy in the morning.  When Brian got home for lunch, we headed over to the big city park where a group was sponsoring free kiddie rides in the afternoon.  We got tickets to ride the little train.  Christian was pretty nervous, but once we got going he was OK.  (He did bury his head in my armpit for awhile, though.)  After the ride we played on the playground for a bit and then Brian had to get back for the evening milking. 
  • Tuesday — was back to school.  Christian wasn’t overly happy about that until I got him on the bus.  Then he was fine.  Olivia and I spent the morning trying to make some chocolate chip cookies for Christian.  Christian’s therapy schedule changed at the last minute in the afternoon, so our new therapist, CS, was on his own for the first time.  He did great.  🙂  Christian, however, took one look at the cookies that I slaved over and attempted to crumble it up.  Sigh.
  • Wednesday — Olivia had story time at the library.  She’s old enough now that she could attend by myself, but she hid on my lap the whole time instead.  (She is so loud and overbearing at home, but the minute we step out in public (or are around people she doesn’t know), she will not say a word.)  I sent a cookie to school with Christian and he also crumbled it there — how can he tell the difference so easily???  I will give the rest to Olivia.  Christian was totally avoiding his therapists — running away anytime they sat down next to him.  I caught my nail-biter, Olivia, chewing her toenails.  (Wow!  What flexibility, but eww!)  My hubby wrote a song for me based on one of my favorite Bible verses — Matthew 7:25.  Yay for my wonderful husband!  🙂
  • Thursday — Olivia and I grocery shopped in the morning and searched for a yummy cake.  Christian had his first shift with his former respite worker, now therapist, PS, after not seeing her for 3 months.  (She helps her parents during the summer who live in another state.)  It took Christian the whole 2-hour shift to start warming back up to her.  (He spent most of the time avoiding her today.)  Christian then immediately jumped into therapy with CS & PW, which seemed to go very well.  I ran into town while they were here to grab supper.  Burritos for me & Brian, McDonald’s for the kids.  Yum!  Delicious cake for dessert (with Brian’s parents).  It was a very nice day.  I have been very blessed, although I don’t feel any older than I did yesterday.  😉

I guess that catches me up.  I’m still feeling very tired.  Some of that is still from the infection, the meds, and the fact that Christian spent 3+ hours up in the night (and being another year older).  Perhaps a nap will be in order today.  😉  Christian’s therapy team has a meeting here this afternoon, so I am curious to hear what will be discussed especially after the big, frustrating news we were informed of early this week.  Perhaps a trip to a coffee shop will be in order today, too.  🙂