To others, what Christian accomplished this morning might seem minor, but I can promise you that it was/is a HUGE deal.

Christian doesn’t have school today, but Olivia does so Christian had to accompany me to drop her off this morning.

I had decided a couple of days ago that I would try Friday morning chapel with Christian while there. Sitting in the church proper. (Something that we haven’t attempted in years because of meltdowns that occurred just even walking through the door.)

We arrived early, before any of the students entered, just to adjust to the space. (And forgoing a big dramatic scene just in case this idea didn’t fly.) Christian tested the acoustics. (They are fantastic.) He decided that it was too much to sit in the pews, so we grabbed a row of usher seats along the back wall. (The seats are the same as what we sit on weekly in the Child Training Room.) Christian got comfortable and Pixar found a spot on the floor and we waited patiently for the school students to file in.

I was having a hard time thinking of a way to explain to Christian why we were sitting in church and waiting. What were we waiting for? He had no concept of “chapel”. Hmm… It was Christian who finally said, “And Nick and Jr will have devotion.” Yes, Christian. We are staying here for a devotion. His reply, “OK.” 🙂

I can’t say that we were completely undistracting during chapel. I mean, we had a dog. In church. That doesn’t happen everyday. And I tried my best to keep the shouts of “Jeopardy” “Alex Trebec” “Executive Producer: Josh Selig” etc. under control, but they did slip out on occasion.

Through it all, I thought that Christian did great job. He happily put an offering in the basket. He prayed The Lord’s Prayer with the rest of us. He moved his body to the hymns as we sang. He did not meltdown, cry, kick, or scream. He seemed truly happy to be there. I was/am SO proud of him and am thanking the Lord for yet another humble reminder of how important it is to make sure that all of our kids hear the Word no matter how difficult it can seem to make that happen.

Last week, Christian used his words to ask for “church.”  We were thrilled!  Ecstatic!  We rejoiced!

However, every day this week, right as his therapy sessions are finishing and we are sitting down to dinner he asks for “Car!  Church!”  Most days, I tell him that I need to finish my supper and by the time that I’m done he has moved on to other things.

Last night he asked again with tears streaming down his face.  “Car!  Church!”  Then he was demanding.  Then he started hitting.  “Car!!!  Church!!!”  Sigh.  It was breaking my heart. 

Part of the problem is that we don’t live near our church.  Our pastors don’t live next to the church.  It’s a lot of work on everyone’s part if we go up there and need someone else to come over and open up the doors for us every time.  Sigh. 

I’m also starting to wonder about the need to actually be at church.  While I hate to doubt my son’s want to be at God’s House, I’m also aware that he is quite smart.  Asking to go to church gets him out of the house, a ride in the car, Mom to himself, the church library stocked full of books,  serenity…  Perhaps these are the things that he is really looking for and not so much church itself.

So, last night after supper, while the tears still streamed down his face and he was throwing some weak punches in my direction, we broke out The Beginner’s Bible and read a story, said the Lord’s Prayer, and sang the Doxology.  He was pretty upset, but maybe this can become our new “church” routine for the evenings right after supper.  And maybe we can give him some space away from a (sometimes) bossy sister and lots of demands — giving him the peace that I’m suspecting he needs.

We’ll see how this works…

It is about 6:45pm.  Brian and I are finally sitting down to eat supper (the kids had eaten before), Christian’s therapist is starting his notes about the day, and the kids are downstairs watching Fraggle Rock.  All of the sudden, Christian marches up to the kitchen, tears in his eyes, walks over by me and says something that I totally don’t understand.  I look at Brian.  He shrugs.  I look at CS.  He shakes his head.  I ask Christian to repeat himself.  He does, but I’m still not sure what he said…but it sounded like “church.”

“Church???” I ask Christian.  “Yes.” he says.

“Church?” I ask again.  Thinking, “Really???”  Again, he replies, “Yes.”

And my mind starts racing.  My child, who doesn’t ask for much without many prompts, is now asking for church.  Do I get up and take him, even though my husband just recently got home and we just started eating???  We ask Christian a few more times about “church” and he insists every time that this is his wish.

So, I wolf down my supper, convince Christian to get more dressed, find my phone, grab the phonebook, and head out the door.  It is 7pm on a Thursday night. 

My mind races as we make our 17 minute drive northward — I’m hoping that someone will be there working late.  If I have to call a pastor to open the building, which one will I call?  What will I do with Christian once we get there?  Will Christian even want to go in?  What will Christian want to do?  Why does he want to be at church now?  Etc.

We pull in the parking lot and find it empty.  I was glad to have grabbed the phonebook.  I ask Christian if he wants to go in.  He says, “In.  Yes.” pointing to the building.  OK.  I call up the pastor with children who are away from home.  No one answers.

I ask Christian again if he really wants to go in.  “In.  Yes.” he says.  Reluctantly, I call the pastor who has three small children at home and a wife who is ready to have another any day.  He says that he’ll be there in five minutes.

I spend the next five minutes preparing myself for whatever might happen when Pastor K. arrives.  (Thanks so much for coming over, Pastor!!!)  He opens the door, makes sure that there isn’t anything else that we need, and leaves us there to do what we need to do.  Believe me, I am curious.

First thing Christian does is to run to the “Child Training Room” where we always sit during church.  Then he stands there peering through the windows into the sanctuary.  And stands there.  I’m not sure what to do, so I ask him if he wants to pray.  He folds his hands and sits down on the pew.

I start, “Thank you, Jesus.”  Christian continues, “We love you, Jesus.  Amen.”  Then I say The Lord’s Prayer and Christian joins in on the “Amen.”  Not knowing what to do next, I start singing whatever comes to mind, “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow,”  “What a Friend We Have In Jesus,” and “Holy, Holy, Holy.”  During the last one, Christian lets out an ear-piercing screech that he sustains for at least 20 seconds while he holds his hands over his ears. 

I stop and just watch him.

When he is done screeching, he starts his “Christian dance” and his “happy screaming.”  This goes on for what feels like an hour, but is probably just a couple of minutes.  I just sit and watch.  Perhaps this is Christian’s way to Shout to God with cries of joy (Ps 47:1).

When he is finished, he runs out of the room to find a Bible in the library and pages through it.  And like that, he is done and ready to go.  We hop in the car and make our way back home.

I like to question why Christian does what he does, but tonight it doesn’t really matter.  For whatever reason, Christian needed to be at church.  I was glad that I was the one who was able to take him to his Father’s House.

Sunday mornings are difficult. 

Brian is off milking the cows, so I am left to get the kids dressed and cleaned, snacks prepared, myself dressed, breakfast made, supplies gathered — all in the car and out the door in time for Sunday School and then church.  For whatever reason, Sunday mornings are always the ones when the kids fight me about getting dressed and/or what they are going to wear.  What they are going to eat.  Whether or not they will stay dressed long enough to get into the car.  Etc.  By the time that I actually start driving to church, I am burned out.

I hear a whisper in my ear, “Is it REALLY worth it???”

And once we get there, it is a fight getting out of the car (like which door will be used as an exit).  We are usually a little late, no matter how early I try to get our Sunday morning routine started, so the classes have already started.  My escape artist likes to take a detour and run right through the middle of the adult Bible class.  (I try to shrug it off and not be too embarrassed, but sometimes it’s hard to fight the redness that creeps up my face.)  We barge right into the Sunday school class and my runner does a lap around the room, distracting the rest of the class.  And he just happens to be SUPER sensory, so his “happy yodeling” is EXTRA loud and there isn’t much I can do to control the volume of his stimming.  And I try to take a deep breath and calm my frazzled nerves.

I hear a whisper in my ear, “Are you SURE it’s REALLY worth it???”

Once Sunday school is over, I struggle to get both kids from the classroom to the church, stopping for drinks along the way, trying not to knock people over with my large “purse” that I’m dragging along, attempting to coax a “wet noodle” off the floor who really wants to play in the dark gym, chasing after one child running to the videos in the church library while the other runs toward the bags of colored pencils and children’s bulletins for the service — and I try not to lose it or shed a tear.

I hear a whisper in my ear,  “THIS is worth it?  Really???”

The three of us finally make it into the “child training room” where we spend the service and I break out a snack.  One child complains because I didn’t bring the right thing, the other one is climbing all over me and messing up the only “hairstyle” that I could pull off for the morning.  I fight to stay sane and pull myself back together. 

I hear that whisper again, “OK, this is worth it???”

Brian is finally able to join us.  The pastor has given us an advanced copy of the sermon, so I can read with him as my lap becomes a claim to stake.  And I hear about the gloriousness of heaven.  And I hear two little voices participating in “The Lord’s Prayer” and singing the “Alleluias” in the final hymn.

When that little voice returns, I answer it — “This IS SO worth it!”

Sigh.  Where to start?!?  It’s been awhile since I sat down to write and ponder what’s been going on in our lives, so, I guess, this post will be a bit of a hodgepodge as these last couple of weeks have just rushed on by…

Well, last week was Christian’s spring break.  It was a struggle.  From a former-teacher’s standpoint, I understand the NEED for a spring break.  From Christian’s standpoint, I wish there was NEVER a break from school.  Our routine get SO messed up that it’s hard to get anything done.  It’s hard for Christian to stay dressed.  It’s hard to keep the peace between siblings.  It’s hard to keep my patience and sanity.  It’s hard to find something to do that pleases both kids.  It’s hard to keep up with the toileting issues that always rear their ugly heads anytime a major routine change happens, such as a LONG break from school.  Sigh.  We did manage to move a few of Christian’s therapy shifts earlier to help eat up some of the length of his days.  The kids and I went to visit my parents 45-minutes away and made animals at Build-A-Bear Workshop for their early birthday gifts from Grandma and Grandpa.  Christian was a little overwhelmed with all of the choices at the store, so I started making executive decisions for him, which turned out fine in the end.  (Especially when we got home and I realized that he wasn’t playing with his animal because I had put jammies on it.  Come on, Mama, animals don’t wear jammies!  I took them off the dog and then Christian LOVED his puppy!! 🙂 )  Liv got really shy there.  She refused to interact with the ladies in the store, but she knew what she wanted and found a Hello Kitty and dressed it in Hello Kitty jammies.  Yeah, she LOVED it!  🙂  Liv then stayed at Grandma & Grandpa’s overnight.  Her first night EVER away from us.  She did great!  She did so well in fact that she didn’t want to come home the next day.  😉  Who can blame her???  She had TWO WHOLE people’s undivided attention!  She certainly doesn’t get that around here.  Liv is looking forward to the next time that she gets to do that!  🙂  Oh, and the weather last week was BEAUTIFUL!  I couldn’t have ordered better weather.  It was warm.  It was sunny.  We were able to spend time outside.  🙂  (I just had to keep an eye on my little nudist.  He’d run out there with his clothes on and a minute later he’d be running laps in the yard TOTALLY in the buff, losing his clothes somewhere under the slide all while the neighbors were outside eating their supper.  Sigh.)  Christian started refusing to use his words towards the end of the week making it extremely hard to communicate effectively.  One of Brian’s grandmas broke her leg and ended up needing surgery.  (It went OK.  She is still recovering at the hospital.)  We had an Easter egg hunt with the kids in our living room on Saturday (since we were going to be gone most of the day on Sunday).  They had a blast.  Then we celebrated Liv’s Golden Easter Birthday here on Saturday, too.  She was excited!  🙂  Gifts, pizza, some soda, cake, playing with Neighbor Girl…Liv was a happy girl.  On Sunday, we rushed out the door after Brian was done milking to get to church.  We got there a few minutes late and didn’t get to sit in our usual spot.  Sigh.  Christian did OK, but struggled after 20 minutes.  And as pretty as Easter lilies are, they make me nauseated and headachy as I am very allergic to them.  We ended up leaving the service as communion started as wrestling Christian was getting harder and he was starting to “wet-noodle.”  We wanted to get out before he started his angry screams with hitting.  So, back on the road to my parents for the day.  I brought C’s jammies as I figured was better to have him wearing the jammies than streaking around all day in his underwear (or less).  I was happy that I thought of that before we left the house.  Liv enjoyed playing with her cousins, and celebrating Easter, and being the “Birthday Princess Flower Girl” for the day.  I enjoyed seeing my family and chatting a bit.  And it was nice to have some extra help in the backyard when everyone went out.  I stood on one end of the yard while the other end was guarded by other family members.  Thank you!  We only lost C once when he stealthily snuck through the house without making a sound.  Thankfully I found him hiding in the back of one of the cars in the garage inside of running down the street!  😉  After awhile, C wanted to snuggle with me in the dark, quiet basement, so I obliged.  We fell asleep just before supper, so when Brian woke me we decided to just let Christian sleep since he was tired enough to be napping and couldn’t eat anything that the rest of us were having for supper anyway.  Well, perhaps that was a mistake on my part.  I woke him a 1/2-hour later and then couldn’t get him to settle down once we got back home.  One day I’ll learn my lesson.  😉  I was a little nervous on Monday morning about getting back INTO our routine.  C wrestled me a bit getting into his clothes, but as soon as we pulled into the parking lot at school, he giggled.  He smiled.  He did his happy dance and then ran and galloped while “happy singing” all the way up to the school doors!  Amazing!  He was SO happy to be back!  🙂  (And I couldn’t have been happier for him, either.)  Therapy went well on Monday afternoon.  All back to routine!  🙂  Liv spent most of the day playing-up her Diva attitude while I attempted to pick-up the house and run errands.  Then she and Neighbor Girl played a LOT, which is wonderful, but they were also fighting and Neighbor Girl asks a LOT of questions.  More than Olivia does.  I didn’t know that was humanly possible.  And C went back to having accidents in the basement after his therapist left.  I was a bit frazzled.  (OK, that’s an understatment.)  I was ready to have everyone turn in for the night, so I could have some quiet solitude.  I basked in it before bed.  It was lovely. 🙂  Unfortunately, 1:30 rolled around with a wetting accident in one room, so I immediately started laundry.  2:30 started vomiting in the other, which continued for the next few hours.  5:30 came with a cry about the couch being peed on and then the vomiting started again.  Then I started not to feel so well.  Some of that just stemmed from major sleep-deprivation and having dealt with the middle of the night pukes.  I happily accepted Brian’s offer of taking Olivia to the store with him while he was home over his break.  Yes, I would rest with Christian.  And we did.  For 15 minutes.  Then I heard THAT sound.  Then I was covered in THAT stuff.  Eww…that didn’t help me feel any better.  😦  Poor C.  As I was getting myself out of my icky clothes, my phone rings.  C’s senior therapists.  Yes, we will cancel therapy today.  Thankfully, she was nice enough to come and stay with C for a couple of hours while ran to the store to buy additional carpet cleaning supplies.  I had used a week’s worth in 12 hours!  Oh, and she brought me Starbucks! 🙂  Thank you, AZ!  That really made my day!  🙂  Liv and Brian headed out to a Brewer game with some of his family after milking, which was fine with me.  I really just wanted to rest.  (And so did C.)  And that’s what we did.  I kept Christian home yesterday, too.  He just wasn’t himself yet.  I’m glad I made that decision even though that meant that I had to miss meeting up with a friend.  😦  (SM, I hope we can make it work out sometime soon!)  Liv was bored, but such is life some days, right?!?  But, today…Today Christian was back to his normal Christian-self.  He fought me getting dressed, (I mean, REALLY fought me!) but we finally managed to get out the door, and into the car, and then the kids fought ALL the way to school, BUT as soon as we pulled into the parking lot Christian was happy! 🙂  SO HAPPY!  🙂  And I was glad, as I wasn’t sure how it would go, but he dragged me up to the school building.  Happy screaming.  Happy running.  Happy jumping.  Sigh [of relief!]  I’m so excited that he was happy to be back!  🙂  And now, I should get back to my Liv, who has been hanging on my arm for the last 20-minutes…  😉

Christian LOVES his "Kipper" from Build-A-Bear now that the jammies are off! 🙂

Liv with her "Hello Kitty." Yep, that's what she named it! 😉

I’m sure you have all been waiting breathlessly by your computers to see what has happened in the wake of the gluten-FILLED toast incident on Saturday.

The BIGGEST change has been sleep, or lack there of.  Christian hasn’t been able to go to sleep before midnight the last two nights and keeps me up until after he falls asleep.  I am, literally, a walking zombie mom today.  (So tired that I was part of a bumper-bump in the parking lot at school this morning.  I was leaving while someone else was coming.  Our bumpers bumped.  No damage to either vehicle.  I’m thankful to say that the other driver just shrugged it off.  Whew.  I definitely didn’t run any extra errands this morning though.)  However, I am thankful that at least there is something on TV in the late evening — thank you Olympics!!!  😉

Sitting through church and Sunday school were an extra special challenge yesterday.  Christian volume knob was stuck at full-blast and I didn’t have enough snacks along to keep his mouth busy the entire time.  Sigh.  Oh, well.  What could I do?

Christian’s been sensory seeking a bit more than normal, too.  Crashing constantly.  Literally bouncing off of the walls and doors.  Running while shaking his head back and forth — therefore running into anything that happens to get in his way.  Manic laughing and screaming.  Climbing everything and everyone…

…but his teachers said that they didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary at school today.  I guess that’s a blessing, right?!?  He’s comfortable enough to leave the fall-out for home.  🙂

This post is a bit overdue, but I’m going to blame my tardiness on lack of sleep and the continuing recovery process of the sinus infection.  (That and Latte Land, but LL probably deserves a whole ‘nother post.)

Major Firsts…

  • Both kids attended Sunday School for the first time!  Yay!  They are in the same classroom.  That’s fine.  Olivia was very clingy, though, because I was in there acting as Christian’s “assistant” and Olivia gets SUPER shy anytime we are away from home and she is asked to interact with other people.  Sigh.  I’m hoping as the weeks progress that she will become a bit more independent (like she TOTALLY is at home).  It was also VERY clearly reinforced to me why every Sunday we sit in our church’s “Child Training Room.”  Sunday School had an opening devotion in the church proper.  Christian was COMPLETELY overwhelmed.  (My guess is the number of people, the openness of the sanctuary, the colors, the brightness, the acoustics, etc.)  After we wrestled through the devotion and settled into the classroom, he was fine.  I am EXTREMELY thankful that next week we will start directly in the classrooms.  Whew!
  • The kindergarteners (2 other besides C) in Christian’s special ed classroom started attending a “regular ed” kindergarten classroom for 45 minutes every morning as of Monday.  I’m happy to report that Christian did GREAT!!   He even then went with the K-class to music for another 1/2 hour!  🙂  I’m so excited for him!  I guess that Monday is also library day at school and Christian went and checked out a book.  More excitement from me as we have NOT been successful at the public library.  (Perhaps too big, too bright, too many people, and just too much going on???)  But I’m really excited about how well school is going so far!  🙂 🙂 🙂
  • Also after school while Christian was receiving therapy, he came up to the kitchen looking for food and while I was making his beloved toast, he said, “I tired.”  THE FIRST TIME EVER IN HIS LIFE THAT HE HAS SAID THAT!!!  Cartwheels around! 🙂  (Well, mental ones, anyway.  Not sure that I could pull off actual cartwheels anymore!) 😉
  • For almost THREE months now, Christian has refused to go to the bathroom with anyone but me.  (Yes, this even includes Brian.)  Thankfully, he broke that habit at school (with the help of a social story), but I am still the only one who has been able to take him at home (or out in public).  Since the social story seemed to help the transition at school, Sunday afternoon I sat down and tweaked the one that we had for home.  (That stated, “When I go potty at home then I am a big boy and MOMMY is happy.”)  So I changed the story to include Daddy, Grandparents (on both sides), and EVERY single one of his therapists with everyone’s pictures.  Monday night, he allowed Brian to be in the bathroom with him while I helped.  That’s a BIG step.  I was happy.  But then yesterday afternoon, he let his therapist, AB, take his hand, walk into the bathroom, and HE WENT FOR HER!!!  His senior therapist, AZ, and I were listening intently in the kitchen and were silent cheering as we hear the stream start!  HURRAY!  I was (mentally) doing the running man and cabbage patch!  SO EXCITED!!!  Christian was heavy rewarded with a cupcake!  SO, SO HAPPY!!!  I pray that it will transfer on to other people now as well!  🙂

So, this isn’t a first, but a funny Olivia-ism story…

I had an underwire on a bra break recently, so I got a new one.  Yesterday morning after getting dressed and getting everything prepared to take Olivia for a walk in the woods, she walks over, peeks up my shirt, and says, “Mommy, where’d you get that boobie-holder?  I never see THAT before.”  Sigh.  Out of the mouths of babes.  😉

And sleep, well, it had been going terrifically, but we have had 3 nights in the last week where sleep has been interrupted by 3-5 hours during the night.  I’m not 100% sure what’s causing this, but I do think it may be linked to intestinal issues.  With the sudden increase in meat eating after taking a 2-month hiatus from it, I think has slowed down his digestive track.  Missing the #2s a couple of days, would probably make my tummy ache, too, so that’s my best guess.  Hoping for a good poo today, so that we can get a whole-night’s sleep tonight!  😉