And the Secret Word is….

I haven’t posted in a while.  I don’t know if you’ve been missing reading my blog, but I’ve been missing writing it.  I think the condition of my heart is directly related to how often I blog.

The lack of posts, means my heart has been preoccupied.  Preoccupied with Christmas and New Years and sickness and writing for other assignments.  But most recently it’s been preoccupied with the secret word of the day:  Diagnosis.  You all know what to do when you hear the secret word, right?!  SCREAM REAL LOUD!!!  

When my baby was having constant tummy trouble I went to doctor after doctor, having test after test, and trial after trial to figure out what it may be.  We couldn’t live without the diagnosis.  A definitive one never came.  Asher was negative for parasites and allergies and Celiac’s.  We took him off of food after food to no avail until finally by trial and error we took him off of both soy and milk and that seemed to help.  Most of the time.

On the other hand, earlier last week Isaac’s teacher sent an email to tell us that she’s concerned that Isaac is having a hard time focusing in class.  He is easily distracted by any outside noises or his classmates.  In the same day, she’ll find him staring off into space, unable to complete his work and then an hour later he has so much energy he can’t sit still and bursts out with screams of excitement when nothing particularly exciting is going on.

I asked to meet with her after school that day.  I knew exactly what she was talking about.  We see that behavior all the time at home and I am just helpless as to how to parent him.  Mrs. Larsen suggested that we talk to the pediatrician.  She said she’d talk to the school counselor about doing some observations.  We made a plan to form a care team for him and move him to a desk away from distractions.

I called the pediatrician and spoke with a nurse who suggested we take him to a psychologist to test him for ADD.  I wasn’t convinced we needed a diagnosis quite yet.  I spent the last few days online, researching symptoms of ADD and looking for any answers other than medication.

I went ahead and set up the appointment with the psychologist for last Thursday.  Then I called the pediatrician again.  I wanted to talk to Isaac’s doctor, not just a nurse.  I told her all of the symptoms and how I was feeling.  I don’t want to medicate my son.  I’ve been in the education field long enough to know the side affects of the medicines that curb ADD symptoms: suicidal thoughts, depression, sleeplessness, loss of appetite/weightloss.  My skinny Randall clone can’t afford to lose any weight.

The pediatrician made me feel better about the whole thing.  She said we don’t need a diagnosis at this point.  If Isaac’s school work isn’t suffering and he’s not a huge disruption to the class we’ll just keep an eye out on him and see how it goes.  She was very patient with all of my questions and agreed with my instinct to try everything (diet changes and focus practice) before medication.

We went ahead and kept the appointment with the psychologist.  I wanted to talk with a professional to get advice about how to parent my kid! There’s so much more to talk about than just a diagnosis and medication that may address the symptoms.

Randall was worried that if we went to the psychologist, we’d get a diagnosis that will follow Isaac around for the rest of his life.  Will educators look at him and have lower expectations of him because those three letters are attached to his name?  I don’t know.

I’m not worried about him being labeled ADD if he has ADD.  If he needs different expectations and more help in school, then we need to do what it takes to get him that help.

I think what I discovered this week is that I needed the suggestion of a diagnosis, at least, to change my expectations of my kid.  I expect perfection because that is what was expected of me.  I had straight As in school because Bs were unacceptable to me, not necessarily my parents.  I expect my kids to be able to control themselves, because I learned how to control my behavior.  I’ve expected Isaac to be like me because I am me… and quite frankly I don’t know how not to be. I’ve never expected Isaac to be Isaac.  And that’s exactly what he needs for now.  Diagnosis or not.

Mrs. Larsen said that many kids with focus issues can’t stand the pressure of the school work by third or fourth grade.  I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there… Or maybe we’ll just stand in front of it and watch it waver and consider more diet changes and decide not to cross it again…

One of those days.

I haven’t posted anything in a while.  I’m sorry about that.

I don’t know if anyone is sitting around waiting for my blogs, but there is a direct correlation between my writing and the condition of my heart.  If I can’t find the time to write for myself, then my heart is being preoccupied as well.

My boys will be home from school in two minutes.

I’ve just about had it up to “here” this week.

God, I’m at that point again where I don’t even have words to ask for your help.  Give me clarity of mind, peace of heart, and wisdom as I finish out this week.

And here’s the bus…

Just want to Help.

All I want in this life is to change the world.  Is that too much to ask?

I mean, isn’t that what we all want?  To feel like our life mattered?  To feel like we made a difference; an impact in our little world?

When I graduated high school, I had no idea what life held for me.  I didn’t know what I wanted to study or do.  I didn’t plan on getting married young and having kids before a career.  All I knew was that God had made me for a purpose and I was going to change the world.  Or at least MY world.  I thought maybe I’d be a teacher and inspire a future president.  I thought I would do something big or inspire someone in a big way.

Then I went to college and started the relationship with the man I’d soon marry.  I still wanted to do huge things in this world, but this season, I had to focus on me first.  I focused on my love for Randall and I focused on learning and growing myself.  After I graduated, I still felt so lost in which direction to take my future.

I had dozens of interviews, but I didn’t get the job I had planned on.  I had no idea what to do next.  I remember calling my dad, longing for him to just tell me what to do, but knowing that I couldn’t really ask that of him.  By then, I was an adult and I was married, and my dad couldn’t just tell me what to do, as much as I wanted him to.

A few short months later, I read the positive pregnancy test and my world turned upside down.  What had been focused on me, was now focused on someone else.  I quickly became focused on raising my family and two beautiful boys.  I had that all planned out.  I was going to love these boys into perfection.  When they demonstrated their own thoughts and rebelled against mine, I was in complete shock.

It took many years for me to get over the fact that there was no way for me to MAKE my kids the people I wanted them to be.  I could only do my best, and pray that they would make wise choices and become world changers themselves.

And I’ll be praying that prayer until the day I die, but the time has come now, again, for me to focus on something else.  The boys are both in school now and the majority of their day someone else is in charge.   I have seven hours a day to myself, to do with it what I want.

Here’s what I want:  To do something big; to make a difference!  But how?  I sit at home and wonder if God is proud of how I’ve been living my life.

It occurs to me that I am making my mark in small ways.  I am hugely influencing my kids every day.  They are taking in every word I say and that scares the…                   that really scares me!  Maybe I don’t want to make THAT much of a difference in people’s lives.  I will surely screw them up!

I sit and think about the encouraging words I’ve offered to friends and acquaintances and I think about the encouraging words I could have offered, and I know that we are all making a difference in our own little world.

Last night, the boys helped me with dinner.  They had been begging me to make mac ‘n cheese for weeks and last night was a good night to make a quick, kid friendly dinner.  I was doing five things at once and when the water started boiling, I asked Asher to open the box, pour in the pasta and start stirring.  Isaac got jealous and wanted to help too.  “It’s no fair, Asher gets to pour AND stir?” he whined.

“Isaac, you get to pour in the “cheese” from the packet!” I encouraged him.  And that satisfied him.  When the pasta was drained, he ripped the top off of the paper packet and poured the contents over the pasta and was quite happy with himself.  And honestly, I was happy for the help!

I stepped back today and thought about the little things I’m involved in and the organizations I support.   I’ve done little things, (very small things!) like run to raise money for Living Water International.  I’ve chosen one boy in Peru to sponsor (with the money Randall’s hard work earns).  I’ve supported a church that is making huge waves in our community and God is blessing us with his tangible presence each and every weekend.

A couple of weekends ago, our pastor talked about who we are as a church and where we are going in our future.  He showed a video (time stamp 47:02 of this link) of last summer’s baptism celebration and I thought to myself:  Oh my God.  That is beautiful.  I know a lot of faces in that video and some of those people know who I am. I don’t think I influenced them one bit in their decision to take this step in faith toward a God who is moving inside of their very hearts.  But God is doing some huge things all around me.  And I get to be witness of it.  I get to watch history being made in my very own backyard and I am honored to be even a fraction of a part of it.  It occurred to me that maybe small things are big things to God.

People are making a difference.  People in India are drinking clean water today and children are getting food and education in Peru.  And thousands of people every year are taking steps toward a great and holy God.  I’m happy to watch it happen around me.  God is moving and lives are being changed and I’m going to keep on taking my small steps to encourage these big changes.

Thank you God, for letting me be a part of the story you are writing with your people.  Thank you for letting me shine a little light in this big world.  I bet I’m like Isaac to you: thrilled to be dumping a package of orange cheese powder in a pot, but I’m doing it with you and it feels amazing.  I think you’re possibly crazy to let us be your advocates.  It has often proved to be bad idea to let flawed humans represent you, but I want to do my best.  I want to make you proud.  Please show me the small ways I can continue to help you.  If it’s in your will, show me the big ways I can be your child and represent you to others (please let it be in your will).  You know my heart and you know that I don’t want to be famous.  It’s never been about popularity, but about serving my purpose on this earth and paying you back for the abundance you’ve lavished on me.  Like an innocent child, I just want to help.

 

“Saxy”

I think it’s well known, now, that I don’t want to be an over-protective parent.

I can handle the occasional trip to the hospital, but I do not want to take any risks when it comes to my boys’ innocence.  I take that seriously.

A few months ago, we had an incident with a neighbor boy who told my boys to go try out a certain sexual act.  I was mortified and heartbroken that that innocence was robbed from my boys.  I was even more concerned how this seven year old  became aware of this information in the first place.  I feared abuse gave him the knowledge of that activitiy.  But I also considered the mere relay of information as abuse to my kids.

Another neighbor talked to this boy’s mom and she didn’t seem concerned with the situation.

When Asher told me what this boy told him, I did not have the appropriate response.  According to all the parenting articles I’ve read, when your kid says a bad word or does something inappropriate to get your attention, you’re supposed to ignore them, or have a very mild reaction and just tell them, “That’s inappropriate, don’t say that again.”

So when Isaac and Asher came inside from playing and Asher blurted out, “Guess what ‘So-and-So’ told me to do…” My first response was:

“GASP!  WHAT?  He said WHAT?”  (think Schwartz’s mom on the phone in The Christmas Story)  I made Asher repeat himself and Isaac concurred, yes, that’s what the kid said.

I got my wits about me and calmly responded, “Well, that is a very inappropriate thing to say.  I hope I never hear you repeat that to anyone else,” and then went about fixing dinner.

I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t want to draw any attention to the phrase they just repeated to me.  I wanted them to forget it completely and never mention it again.  But I also needed to go back to them and to thank them for coming and telling me; to tell them that they can always tell me the things they hear on the playground.  I also needed to remind them about how to keep their bodies safe and what is appropriate behavior when it comes to their body.  So, we came back to that conversation before bedtime that night.

I prayed for a long time that my boys would completely forget the words they were told.  And the neighbor boy moved away just a couple of weeks later, so I don’t fear that more information or inappropriate situations will come from that boy. But the whole thing really upset me, and I pray with all my heart that my boys were not changed from that experience.

I decided that day that our boys would be home schooled and they’d never leave the house again.

But we can’t protect our kids from these situations forever.

Sex is everywhere they go, everything they see, and hear in public.  You can’t drive down the street without seeing billboards.  You can’t flip through the radio stations without hearing an inappropriate song.

 

This six year old boy was suspended for telling a girl, “I’m sexy and I know it.” He was just repeating a song he’d heard.  My boys sing that song around the house all the time.  I have never played it in my house or car, but I wonder if it was played in gym class or by some friend.  The other day, Asher pulled his short legs up, making his pants look the shape of underwear, and told me, “Hey Mom, I’m saxy and I know it.” I’ve been telling my boys that I don’t like that song and asking them not to sing it around the house.  But you know how catchy songs are.  They stick in your head.

I’ve been waiting for my boys to ask me what “sexy” means.  I’ve tried to come up with some appropriate answers but they haven’t asked.  So, when Asher brought my attention to the song, I told him he doesn’t even know what “Saxy” means.  He pulled his pant legs back up, exposing his pasty white thighs and said, “This is saxy!”  Apparently our fourth grade neighbor told him that.

Later on I heard Isaac correcting Asher, “It’s sexy.  Not saxy.”  Asher stuck to his guns and said, “Nope, it’s saxy.”

It’s funny to talk about, but not when I’m having to deal with it in real time.  I know the American Academy of Pediatrics is advising parents to talk about sex from birth.  We don’t want it to be a taboo topic that my boys don’t ask us about because then they’ll get all their information from their friends.  But we also aren’t going to explain the birds and the bees to our first grader.  It’s all about appropriate timing and appropriate amounts of sharing.

When I thought about talking about puberty and sex with my boys, I always assumed that would be Randall’s job.  He’s the man of the house, he can talk to my boys about that stuff.  But these situations just pop up unexpectedly and Randall’s not always around.  In fact, Randall’s out working most of the time my boys are awake.  So, I’m going to need to be better prepared next time I have to answer a question or respond to a similar situation.

Ugh.  Just another difficult and subjective task a parent has to navigate.  Any advice is welcomed!

I just feel so inadequate some days.

 

 

God, I do not want to screw up my kids more than I already have.  Please give me wisdom and discernment when it comes to navigating how to talk about sex with my kids.  Please protect their innocence until they are emotionally ready.  Please protect them from abuse, physically or verbally that will take away the innocence they have left.