Yikes!

After much thinking and talking (and compromising (like who will be in charge of poo duty (that would be me!))), we have decided to pursue getting a service dog for Christian!  We have to lay our egos aside, step out in faith, and just DO this.  Having a service dog would be a HUGE benefit for Christian, but also be a big help for the rest of us as well.

But, first thing first — finishing the application.  I’m hoping to get it in the mail by the end of next week.  Then we need to be approved by the service dog organization’s board of directors.  If that all happens, we will be fundraising like crazy.  I’m new to fundraising, but I really believe that it can and will be done.  We have lots of people willing to help already and the paperwork is still swirling around on our computer.  😉 

I can just picture Christian with a service dog and just bonding.  That in and of itself would be a most amazing thing!  🙂

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I think Olivia has a friend.  A neighbor friend.  There is a girl who lives next door who is about six months older than Olivia.  She came and played with Olivia on Wednesday afternoon/evening.  🙂  They were both a bit sad when it was time to go home for the night.  😦

I think this will be GREAT for Olivia.  I hope that the two of them can play together a couple of times a week.  Olivia could really use a friend and it’s nice to have one SO close.  🙂

I also heard new friend ask Olivia, “Why is he[Christian] crying?”  Liv casually turned to her and said, “He’s not crying.  He’s happy!”  To Liv that was a good enough explanation because it was SO true.  I’m sure she’ll be peppered with many more questions about her brother in her lifetime and I hope she will always be able to answer in like fashion.  🙂

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 stood back and just watched my children the other day and really thought about their relationship.

Christian is the big brother.  He has taught Olivia the importance of not messing up a spelling.  Because of him, she has learned her letters, numbers, shapes, and colors.  She has learned that showers aren’t so bad (actually kind of fun!).  He has taught her how to successfully use the remotes.  (Sigh.)  He has taught her how to “happy scream,” climb, and run & crash into things.  🙂  And she just LOVES him.

Even though, age-wise, Christian is the “big” sibling, sometimes Olivia shoulders that roll.  She takes his hand and leads him when he wiggles away from everyone else.  She tells him to “Get Down!” when he is climbing something that she knows he shouldn’t.  She shows him how to do new therapy activities when he is too scared to try.  She can usually tell me what he is saying even when I can’t understand.  She makes him “use his words” even when he doesn’t want to.  She models how to use toys “appropriately” and takes the time to show him how.  She is his therapist.  His advocate.  His friend.  His family.  His sister.

I will remember the simplest words that she spoke to me at the end of a very long and loud day when she was just 2-years-old…  The two of us were sitting together on the couch as Christian was running laps and screaming through the living room of our small apartment.  I leaned over and said to her, “Boy, Christian sure is loud today, isn’t he?”  Without skipping a beat, she replied, “No Mama.  He just happy.”  That’s right, baby.  He IS happy.  🙂

Christian and I are now a unit.  He has decided this all on his own.  I am the only one he is willing to go to the bathroom with.  (He would rather have an accident than use the bathroom with someone else.  I’m thinking social story as he gets ready for a longer day at school!?!)  When he reads his name now, he says “Christian-mom” all in one breath.  When he types his name on the computer, he types “Christianmom” and gets mad if anyone tries to correct it (including me).  Apparently, we are a team, a force, an inseparable entity.  Sigh.  Should make for an interesting school transition.  (But I am honored that he thinks this highly of me!)

My Dear Sweet Olivia–

What a smiley little girl you are!  Your sweet smile is so irresistible that I just can’t help but smile back at you.  That smile of yours is often the highlight of my day! 🙂

You have figured out how to roll over this week.  You are growing up so fast!  Before I know it, you’ll be chasing your brother around the house.  🙂

Christian intrigues you.  You watch everything he does — waiting, I think, until you can do it, too!  I am excited for you to learn all of that, too, but then I think that the two of you will keep me busier than I ever thought possible.  🙂  That’s OK, though, perhaps then I will finally lose the rest of the “baby weight.”

I love you, sweet little bean!  I pray that is something that you will always know.

All my love, Mommy

My Dear Olivia–

You are one month old today.  Wow!  How time flies!  You are getting SO big — you even gained a whole pound in the last week!  🙂  You’re a big eater!  We spend a lot of time together.  You have some of the same gas/stomach problems that Christian had, so you need to be leaned up on my chest for a half hour every time you finish eating.  (And you eat every 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours!)  Christian is a little resentful of all of the time that I have to spend holding you, but is he warming up to you.  I know that he watches you, especially when he thinks that no one else is watching, and I know that you watch him when he gets close enough for you to see.  You are quite the miracle, my little one.  🙂  I love you so much.

You are waking now and sound like you need my help.

All my love,  Mommy