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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Starting Something New? And a Little Ranting...

Today I am going to look at a new school for our girl. Well, it's not a NEW school. It has been around for a LONG time, but it's new to us... so it's new.

Our present school has been really good and it's a private Christian school so we have learned scripture and lots of other things... along with the ability to read. YAY! Thing is... they do not have enough special needs support. The class size is not overly big, but it's too big for our girl so we think it's time to move on.

I have to say... we have not come to this decision without tears and gnashing of teeth! When you think about uprooting your kid and trying to start something new when they struggle with being anxious, a change in schedule, learning and a variety of other things... well... let's just say it's a hard decision.

Last week we did start ADHD meds. Can I just say... health care professionals really (REALLY) make me want to scream? (Prepare for the rant!)

1)We have had a psychologist (who has tested her twice and worked with us since she was 5) mention that the meds might be something to consider.

2)Before that we had a neurologist (who did her MRI, etc.) mention that the meds might be a good thing to look at once we got into school this year and saw how things went. (We are changing schools people! It's not going so great!)

3)We even had an ophthalmologist say that FOCUS was her main issue and that we might want to look at something that will help with that... hint, hint... meds! 

4) Her teachers have talked endlessly about her inability to focus in the classroom, her impulsive behaviors, her attention span being shorter than the average kid, etc...

So this decision did NOT come flippantly or without much consideration. We needed hard evidence that these meds were necessary before we even thought about starting them...

Then yesterday happened! The Vision Therapist that we are seeing tested her and we all saw some measured improvements! (PRAISE THE LORD!) When we mentioned the meds he said, "Have you taken it yourself? Do you know how it makes her feel? Have you? I mean you might want to try it."

UUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!! NO! I have not tried it! I didn't just go out on the street and get some drug to put my kid on! A LICENSED NEUROLOGIST helped us make this decision (along with 72 other people who deal with her!) and I am not the one that is dealing with being impulsive to the point of frustrating the teachers that are trying to teach her to do math! Or walk in a line for Pete's Sake!

Here's the other thing... while he is a doctor... he has NO CHILDREN! I would LOVE to send her home with him for a week. Just one week. He has no idea what we have heard and dealt with on a daily basis. NO IDEA!

He said, "She does great here with us... one on one!" WELL YEAH! It's you and her! Have you seen her with 20 other kids? She has so many distractions that she can't spell her name correctly on her paper! Much less do the work that they are asking her to do! SERIOUSLY!

I do not doubt that he is extremely bright. I do not discount the fact that he is a doctor that is making a difference in the lives of children and families. I do not even doubt that he may be right that the meds make her feel different. I DO, however, NOT BELIEVE THAT HE HAS EVER BEEN IN A PARENT CONFERENCE WHERE THE TEACHER HAS HAD TO SAY THAT HIS KID IS THE REASON THAT THE ENTIRE CLASS IS SLOWER THAN THE OTHERS BECAUSE SHE CAN'T FOCUS!!!!!!!!! Until he has been where I am... I just think he needs to stop. Just stick to vision therapy fella!  I'm just sayin'.

Ok. Coming down off the soap box.

So... we are going to look at a public school today that offers more support for kids who deal with learning issues. We could also use some behavioral support and we know that this school offers a program that may be able to help.

I'm praying that the Lord will go before us and that He will just show us exactly what needs to happen for our girl. He has been so faithful and He IS in control!

Wonder what He could do about that doctor and his opinions?  hee hee...

Friday, October 23, 2009

When God Speaks

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever... " Is. 26:3-4

It seems silly to me sometimes, but it really is true. We get so hung up on ONE thing that we forget to live! You know how it is? We get so focused on one thing... and usually it's a BIG thing.. like finances or the health of aging parents or the difficulties in family relationships... that it consumes our every thought and all of our time and we just forget to laugh or even smile!

Just this week the group of girls that I sing with did a demo recording. It was SOO much fun!! We would sing and try to be all serious and we sounded ok, but we sounded so formal and choral-like and BORING! We decided that the God that we serve is SO not boring so we scrapped that recording and decided to dance (a little) while we sang! Each of us have issues... MAN DO WE EVER! BUT God told us that He is the reason that we sing! He is the reason for our joy! We prayed about our "stuff"... we laid it all down... we felt a little better SO WE CUT LOOSE! We would sing wrong notes and laugh our heads off! Oh it was so refreshing to laugh until we cried!! We haven't heard the final cut, but I know that we had FUN while singing His praises and that was such an amazing time!

God speaks to us in such different ways. Sometimes it is through His word and sometimes it's through a pastor, but sometimes it is through our husbands. Sometimes it's through our children and sometimes it's through our friends. Sometimes it's through and open or closed door in our lives and sometimes it's through circumstances. Sometimes it's through someone's blog post or even on Facebook!

I just know that when I get so caught up on one thing and my mind gets so focused on it that I can't LIVE.. it's harder for me to hear His voice. I have to MAKE MYSELF sit down and read my Bible. I have to intentionally listen to what others say instead of being so caught up in my own world that I miss what He has for me. THEN when He does speak... it's like a refreshing water to my soul!!

I have written quite a few times about our daughter and the things that we are facing with her. She is struggling in first grade (and she's repeating!) with behavior and academically. She's doing better in some ways, but in other ways... well, NOT so much.

The teachers are sort of at their wits end with her  and we could potentially need to find another school. (She is in a private school with few resources for kids with needs.) WHAT an emotional thing!! We have had multiple doctors appointments and have put her on some new meds. to see if we can help with the behaviors. MAN!! What a decision! I was so tangled up in that one that I wasn't sure how to focus on anything else!!

Then one day I sat down to have my quiet time. I am reading Isaiah right now and God just spoke so clearly! "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You..."

I DO TRUST YOU LORD! I trust that You are providing and I trust that You know best for our girl. You know best for our family and You know best for me! Keep us in perfect peace as we make decisions that affect our child and others that deal with her on a daily basis. THANK YOU! THANK YOU for your Word!

What a gift. God uses His word to help me get my mind on Him and His amazing gifts of love, forgiveness and peace and I can let those hard things go. Well, sometimes I take them back and stew some more, but I KNOW that I can lay them down 100 times a day if I have to! He's loving like that!!

Sometimes I wonder if He's watching me pick that thing back up all while shaking His Holy head! I'm sure He's whispering, "Don't do that child. Lay it down! Give it to me! You have a life to live for ME! Let me have that. Lay it down. Just lay it down!" 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Silly Cat!

It's probably a little weird to write a post about your cat. I've never claimed to not be weird so... here we go. :)

This is Pepper. You met him this past summer when Caroline turned 8.

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He was so tiny and cute as a button!

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Little did we know that this little guy would have almost as much personality as our kid!

He likes to get between the banisters at the top of our foyer and check out what's going on below!

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One day I walked through the den and under the area where he was perched and down dropped a cat right in front of me! I think he used one of his nine lives that day! 

When Caroline is in the tub he likes to walk the edge of the tub. He bats at the water as it runs and he likes to try to drink it! She is always giggling at him and they have a good time playing at bath time!

He also likes to hide under things and attack us when we least expect it!

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The other day he took his collar off and carried it in his mouth to my husband. I guess he was tired of wearing it, but didn't want to lose it either?

He meows at us and "talks" as he plays with his toys. If the doorbell rings he sits at the door and meows like "Hey! Someone's at the door! Aren't you going to answer it?"

He loves to wrestle his little stuffed animals and he even plays soccer!

We also recently replaced an old bird feeder in the back yard. This is now one of his favorite places to lie and watch the action outside! Look at how big he is!

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And you see that look? That's "Ok! Seriously! Leave me alone with the camera, lady!"

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Pepper has been a great addition to our home. Even my husband (who swore he hated cats!) now loves to play with him and finds himself telling me about his silly antics. I'm sure we are not the only family with a kitty that's full of personality. But he's ours and we love our silly cat! :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Can You Say Confusing??

A couple of months ago we had to take our girl for more testing. Psychologists like to retest every three years just to see what growth has occurred and where you stand in the present. It helps to plan for school choices, IEP's and other academic and therapy decisions. When a child is five they say that the test helps you prepare for school. When they child is eight they say it helps you prepare for LIFE! 006

This year she turned eight. The results that came from the testing was baffling to say the least. It was an extremely hard day for me and my husband as we heard that they believe that she is borderline/mild mentally retarded. We were dumb founded and really had to work to get our minds around that kind of news. 

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Our OT decided to do some more extensive testing and she began to look more at her eye function. She said that it seemed that her eyes were not working together, and when we asked the psychologist she did indicate that Caroline was choosing either answer "a" or answer "d" on the multiple choice portion of the test. She wasn't choosing the two middle choices. Almost like she couldn't single those choices out and it was just easier to go with "a" or "d".

It seemed that she could not keep her eyes focused on visual pursuits (back and forth) and she struggled to keep her eyes focused in convergence tasks (as an object comes towards you). She could not read the letters on the eye chart when they were presented to her in a line, but when they were given as single letters she knew every one of them! 

Another thing that has always been hard for her is keeping her eyes open or straight while having her picture taken. She will inevitably look off to the side or close her eyes anytime we tell her to "smile!"

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One day I just said, "JUST LOOK AT THE CAMERA 'TIL IT FLASHES!" To which she answered, "But that's so hard mom."

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We prayed and talked a lot about our next steps and together we all decided to pursue Vision Therapy. The hard part of VT is that it can be controversial in the world of eye health. OT's tend to lean towards it because it's based on the same premise as OT. They do exercises, work on visual skills, reassess and continue.

The Vision Therapist changed her glasses to add a prism. We started attending VT twice a week and we started doing homework each night... all at no small expense.

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We had not really heard the other side of the controversy until this week when we took Caroline to a pediatric ophthalmologist. His view is that her eyes are completely healthy. She seemed to track ok for him and she kept her eyes on the target as he tried the convergence activities. He said there is really no need for her glasses because all kids her age are marginally farsighted. He basically said that he thinks the vision therapy isn't needed, but that attention is, for sure, an issue and that may be a road we want to explore.

Huh?

"Did he just say what I think he said?" My husband and I just stood and stared at each other. Have we wasted a month's worth of time, energy and money on something that she really doesn't need?

Do we listen to the OT who has known her since she was five and has worked with her each week for 3 years? OR do we listen to the doctor that has all of these diplomas hanging on his wall and who sees 100's of children each year with eye issues?

WOW.

To be totally honest... I still don't know. I just know that we are struggling to make the right choices in a world where even the professionals don't agree. It's so hard to know who is right and who is being conservative and who is being aggressive... AND which of those is the right approach. I really don't know.

The hardest part is thinking that all of these decisions only affect one person the most and that's Caroline! She's 8 years old. She's repeating 1st grade because there ARE issues. Our choices affect her and we seriously feel that we are carrying her world on our shoulders.

Then... this week as I had my quiet time God gave me this:

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it."  Isaiah 31:21

He let me know that we are NOT carrying her world on our shoulders, but that HE is in control!  He gave me Jeremiah 29:11 for her at the beginning of the school year and I pray that as we continue to seek His face that He will CLEARLY show us the way. He promised that He would. I also pray that once we hear that we will be sensitive to His direction and in obedience we will walk in it!

Being a parent is the hardest job I've ever had. I thought that being a teacher and be responsible for other people's kids was hard, but they go home at the end of the day. My decisions for this kid will last for her entire life, and if I didn't have Jesus... I seriously do not know what I would do!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Blog

Hello blawg land! I wanted to tell you about a new blog that my friends and I started! It's for a group that I sing with called One Voice and we have been singing together for several months now. It's been so much fun to sing upbeat and fun music with sweet friends who love Jesus!! I just wanted to get you to check us out! Go to www.onevoicegirls.blogspot.com and learn a little more about us! There's only one entry right now, but it would encourage the girls so much to see you leave a comment! We are praying that the Lord will use us to bring glory to His name and encouragement to those who are seeking to grow in their walk with Him. Check it out! :)
Friday, October 2, 2009

The Wake Up Call

You just go about your day, you know? Do laundry. Clean the kitchen. Drive to school. Go to church. Have your quiet time. Go to dinner (or cook it as the case has been in THIS house lately!). Dust. Do homework. Go to work. TRY to make time to work out. You know how it is? You just do your thing... day in, day out. You think about the same things. You plan each day and you just sort of "DO" life.

Last Wednesday, as I was "DOING" life, I was talking to my mom on the phone as I drove Caroline to school. I noticed that someone kept beeping in on her line and she said, "Your dad keeps calling me! What's wrong with him? I'll call you back."

Twenty minutes later she called. "It's your brother. We are calling 911. I don't know what's going on. He's in his car (30 minutes away) and isn't feeling well. I will call you back."

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All of the air left my body. I could not think! They live 2 hours away and I had just dropped my kid at school. What do I do? My husband was in Atlanta on a business trip. THE ONLY ONE HE HAS TAKEN ALL YEAR!

I text one of my closest friends. I call another. I text another and ask all of them to start praying!! I was at the gym by this point and I tried to go on with my workout, but it was useless. Finally my dad called. "They think it's a heart attack. He was sweating profusely, hurting between his shoulder blades and could hardly breathe. He tried to drive himself to Urgent Care from work, but he had to pull over. He called the ambulance to himself!"

He is 37 years old.

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Praise God Tommy is ok. He went to the hospital where they cleared a blockage and inserted a stint. He spent several days in CCU and a couple in a "regular room" where they watched his heart.

While we were at the hospital the nutritionist came in and our family had a nice little chat!! See, none of us are little people! We all eat what we want and we pay no attention to our health. My parents are on blood pressure meds and they are both diabetic. Tommy, who is younger than me, is in the same boat. I DO exercise and am not on any meds, but with my family history it's probably not out of the question as I get older. My dad has a terrible time walking due to the weight he is carrying and arthritic knees. All of us are overweight.

WHAT A WAKE UP CALL! I fully believe that God used Tommy's heart attack to make us snap out of the "just going about our day" attitude. He has given us a brain that we need to use to think about more than what's coming on TV tonight. Every one of our family members have decided to THINK about what we eat and how much exercise we are getting. While it may not be easy, we promised to do this together so that all of us can be around longer for each other.

Another wake up call happened for my parents that, I think, was unexpected. They moved away from the side of town where I grew up and attended church with my family. They joined a local church and they go on Sunday mornings when mom doesn't have to work. Their lack of involvement in church and in the lives of other Christians really showed while we were at the hospital. For a few days I was the only one there to support them! THE ONLY ONE! My extended family lives hours away and they all called, but it's not like someone being there with skin on! It killed me to see them there with no support what so ever!! Eventually word got out and people did visit, but I believe the Lord used that experience to show them the importance of His body ministering in His name. It means the world!!

In some ways I am grateful that this happened. No! I wouldn't go through it again, but I definitely believe that my family learned some important lessons and some changes are taking place. I also know that we are human and will make mistakes along the way, but I pray that we will never forget seeing my brother lying in CCU and that the image will cause us to be more aware of the choices that we make... both physically and spiritually.