Sunday, August 30, 2009

Comfort in a Plan

I've made a plan. I suppose the plan only give me comfort... not Matthew. He only knows that Monday morning means school and has been wracked with stress and tears off and on all weekend. But I have a plan and it empowers me. I will be doing something, rather then sitting back watching my child in agony over what most kids find normal.

I have written a letter to his teacher.

Dear Mrs. ,

As you have noticed, Matthew is feeling very anxious about school. This has been an issue in the past and he is doing better then before. That said, he is still experiencing difficulty and we are trying to come up with some solutions to help with his transition.

Currently, Matthew is finding recess to be especially difficult. He is overwhelmed by the noise and activity. He has told me that he sits on the stairs and cries until the bell rings. I am hoping that with a bit of support, we can make recess more enjoyable and hopefully school less stressful.

He has told me that he is scared without an adult that he knows amongst all the children. I have told him that there are adult supervisors (with the orange vests) outside but he is too anxious to seek them out. I was wondering if it were possible for you to introduce him to one of the supervisors at the start of recess. I am assuming that the supervisors change either daily or weekly, but an introduction to another adult may help him to seek out the supervisor next time.

I have chatted with another Mom of a boy in your class who is also new to the school and is feeling lost. I am trying to get the boys together for a short play date this week to see if both boys could benefit from a friendship. I was wondering if you would be able to encourage that friendship at recess.

We are also working at home to help ease his transition. We talk about school and listen to his fears. He knows that he will not be allowed to stop going to school and that we hold education, schools and teachers in high regards. We stay positive and try to point out the successes he has had already. We are going to start tracking on a calendar when he has a successful morning or afternoon to show him that he is having fun and that each week, hopefully, he will be having more success.

We are also contacting some support people we have used in the past to see if they have any new coping strategies for Matthew to try.

We would be grateful for any suggestions from you as to what else we can be doing at home to help out. Please feel free to contact me at

So Monday morning at 7:55 am I am going to call the school and see if I can talk with his teacher. Failing that (or maybe just because) I will send the letter onwards to her.

I am also going to try to talk to the other boy's mom and see if he can come over Monday afterschool.

I am also going to call his o/t from last yr and see if he has any suggestions. If he can help, we would gladly pay for private sessions. I have searched for pressure shirts (deep pressure vests, weighted vests and compression shirts) with little luck. I am going to ask if the o/t has any leads.

I am also going to call his psychologist from last year and see what she can offer.

I feel better. Unfortunately, Matthew, does not.

Friday, August 28, 2009

At A Loss...

I think I have hit the wall. I am at a loss. What I am doing is not working.

Matthew started first grade yesterday. We knew this would be hard. It has been tough for the past three years. Ok, nothing about Matthew is easy... been tough for 6 yrs now.

We noticed Matthew had difficulty in organized activities when he was three. Decided to put him into preschool just before he turned four to help socialize him. It was a disaster. We had to pull him. He was escaping the room and the teacher could not spend 100% of her time with him.

We tried more organized activities. Had to pull him from swimming. Had to stand beside him in gymnastics. Had to have him on my knee for almost the entire soccer season.

We tried preschool again, five days a week, this time aided with a child psychologist, full time aid (to stop him from running out of the building), o/t and speech therapist. He hid under the piano bench and cried every day until January. Then things started to click and got better.

The next year, he improved and did well in a small kindergarten setting (10 kids, teacher and an aid). Still had some anxiety, but better.

Now, this year, he is in a regular school. The noise and activity on the playground overwhelm him. He is not staying for lunch because the noise in the gym terrifies him.

He is sobbing first thing in the morning when I take him. He is sobbing at his desk through out the day. He has an upset tummy during recess and sits at the door to the school. He is sobbing when the bell goes to go back into school at lunchtime. And he is saying constantly, "I hate school".

I tell him he is brave. Brave around here means that even though you are scared, you do things anyways. Started that mantra before his last surgery. I stay positive. I tell him he has to go. I reward him for going. I talk about how great it will be to have friends in the neighborhood.

He told me he was going to lick the ant poison off the patio so he will be sick and can't go to school.

Please let this get better.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Night Bracing

Matthew's p/t has mentioned this before but now she is getting more insistent. She is really thinking that night bracing is the way to go for Matthew. She feels that he is a bit stiff in the mornings and that night bracing will allow him to keep correction at night and start looser in the morning.

I do understand where she is coming from. In fact, I had told Dr. Dobbs when we were in St. Louis that I wanted a night time brace. He humored me for awhile and then said no, he didn't feel Matthew would need it.

Now, I feel like making the kid where a night time brace and brace him during the day seems like so much. But, then, with clubfoot, kids wear shoes and bar 23/7 for months and then at night for years. So not unheard of. And really, not horrid. It doesn't hurt to wear the brace at night...

And, on nice days (which have been few and far between this summer) he plays in the backyard in the sand without his brace. So maybe he should be wearing it at night.

So why am I balking at the thought?

I knew parenting was a tough job. I knew going into this I would have a lot of decisions to make, some tough, some easy, some even harder. I just didn't think that the decisions I had to make at this age could affect him so profoundly for the rest of his life. Can a wrong decision now mean lifelong pain when walking, running?

By the way, Matthew tried wearing the brace the other night. He fell asleep easily enough but woke after 1 1/2 hours wanting it off.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tears at Wal-Mart

We had a busy day today. We just found out that the boys will be in my SIL's wedding party on Saturday. That gave me eight days to find dress pants, dress shirts, shoes and schedule haircuts. A bit of a time crunch. Managed to spend my Saturday at the mall getting pants and shirts.

So, this morning, after haircuts, we went off to Wal-Mart to see if we could get a pair of shoes fancier then runners that wouldn't hurt the pocket book as they will only wear them once. Lucked out, found two pair of black fancy shoes that fit. Then the boys asked if they could get some running shoes for school. I was feeling like I could take on the world so I agreed. Hey, may even save me a trip!

Ryan quickly found some Spiderman shoes in his size and went to work on trying them on.

Matthew quickly found some Chaotic shoes that came with trading cards. (He is in to trading cards these days). Unfortunately, they seemed to be too small for his brace. Tried on the next two sizes up. Too big for his unbraced foot. I said maybe we should try a different shoe, this kind was too narrow for the brace.

Then the tears started.

"Mommy! Why can all my friends get these kind and I can't?"

He crawled into my lap and cried and cried.

I was silently asking too, why does everything have to be hard for this kid? Why does he have to have so many life lessons like life is not fair at such an early age.

I told him when he settled down we would try the shoes again and Mommy would work really really hard at jamming his brace in it. His eyes looked at me so sad when he said "But how can I do that myself at school?" I told him that perhaps his teacher can help out.

We tried again, with all the strength I could muster, we managed to get that shoe on. Matthew beamed.

Another life lesson learned by me. If the shoe doesn't fit, shove it even harder.

So the boys are now outfitted for the wedding minus black socks...which I forgot about.

Here are my handsome boys. Matthew looks rather shell shocked.

Yes, they have 'faux hawks' just for fun today.

And Ryan striking a pose... watch out girls!

Oh, and that is my dress hanging just behind Ryan. I think our colors will all work.

The boys are now outside playing in the sandbox, content as can be. Crisis averted yet again, Chaotic and Spiderman shoes ready for school in two weeks.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sometimes, Your Camera Catching Fire Is a Good Thing

I am loving my new camera (thanks to my old one catching fire). It is nothing special, just a simple point and shoot, but it does have a lot more Mega Pixels and some neat features. And I am having fun with it.

Anyways, just some shots from this morning.

Baby enjoying the sun



Feeding Time

Yesterday afternoon started to dry out a bit and look what I spied on our back fence.

I thought it was rather late in the summer for young ones, but apparently I was wrong. They were waiting so patiently. It paid off.

You could feel it starting to warm up. Just take a look at the contented look of a full tummy and the rain ending!

This morning is sunny and bright. It isn't supposed to be hot, only 19 C (67 F) but having that blue sky and sunshine makes the day glorious. I already feel my spirit soaring. Feel like I can take on the world. Amazing what a little sunshine does for the soul.

Then I spied these two on the deck.

And what could top that?

Today will be a great day.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Missing The Backyard

It has been raining and cold all week. Cold enough that I had to turn the furnace on. Horrid summer weather.

The boys have been dealing with it well so far. They get little house play time in summer because we are always outside. So they have been making forts, hotwheels race tracks and crafting.

That said, they are missing their yard. They keep trying to play out there, but it is just too cold and wet to dig in the sand box and the playhouse windows still need Plexiglas to make it hospitable for cooler days. My husband has been building it. Very proud of him! The shingles are going on this weekend if the rain stops.

My poor garden is also missing the heat. Not sure what will happen if we don't get some soon. We have had some lovely radishes so far. I even planted a second crop. Just not sure how they are fairing in this.

My tomatoes last week were really starting.

Strawberries still producing

And finally my clematis has bloomed. So happy, it has hit about 10-11 feet this year.

One thing we have continued with the crappy weather is our bird watching. Our backyard seems to have so many birds this year.

Of course the ever abundant sparrows.

House Finches


And our latest find yesterday...Cedar Waxwings!

The forecast is calling for sunshine on Saturday. It won't be hot, but hopefully it will be dry. Crossing my fingers.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Good News On The Foot Front

Matthew saw his regular p/t for the first time in three weeks. I was thrilled when she said his foot was loose. Yay! Some good news finally!

She said today was the first time she did not have to spend time rotating and stretching just to get his talus bone in place for the session.

His active dorsiflexion is also back to pulling straight up.

And, in the end, she complimented me on my stretching. Finally, I am doing it right!

She felt that the padding that his orthotist added has helped as well.

It is not all good news, he is still supinating and when he runs, his foot turns in, but to me, this is fantastic news.

And on to my foot.

I have some rather lovely hues of purple, red and green coming out on the outside of my foot.

And even on the inside.

I saw my chiropractor today. He said my hobbling around really messed up my back. I have been really sore in the mornings. He told me to walk as normally as I can. Ok, will try. But I have to say, as I sit here and type with my foot on a chair and pillow... ouch.

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Green...Or Purple

Look at what I managed to do to my ankle.

It is finally starting to feel better and taking some weight. Wish I had a fun story to along with it, but no. Just slipped on some gravel and rolled it.

Matthew sees his regular p/t tomorrow. Looking forward to hearing what she thinks of his foot after being gone for three weeks. Maybe it was wishful thinking, but tonight's stretching felt pretty good. And when he actively dorsiflexes, it pulls straight up again.

Hoping for good news.