Posts Tagged With: kids

The world of SPD never goes away

I’ve been posting a little bit about how the juggle of returning to work part-time was quite an adjustment for our family….

Initially, this mostly revolved around trying to accommodate drop-offs & picks-ups amongst terrible local traffic & a husband who has a completely irregular & all-consuming schedule in the land of our own start-up versus my not-an-inch-of-flexibility work schedule.

But as the weeks past, & we got more into the swing of a new routine, we realized there was another side effect to me working that we did not anticipate. Nor, did we manage very well.

As it turns out, my return to work, albeit part-time, did nothing but exacerbate Mylo’s struggles & SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) symptoms. I began working again sometime around April this year & now that October is approaching, Mylo is finally finding a place where he can cope a little easier with life.

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Once I returned to work & when summer vacation & the absence of school hit, poor Mylo just turned into a big ball of distress & frustration. Seeing him now much happier & more able to self regulate on occasion, has made any qualms I had about being at home, disappear in an instant.

Mylo is so much more secure & stable when I am home & that in itself is a huge blessing to witness as a parent.

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Anyone who has a kid struggling with SPD will attest to the fact that it takes many different shapes & can vary in degree. And just when you think you’ve got a strategy down… a new issue arises or an old one takes a new spin.

For Mylo, we’ve always struggled with shoes – over summer it could take us 40 minutes of massaging his feet & trying many different socks to find a way to leave the house without pain in his feet. And to his credit, he tries so hard to make himself comfortable, he really does (which in itself is naturally heartbreaking).

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He also suffers from a sound & smell sensitivity limiting our surroundings at times. So once out, he often wants to immediately return home.

He is easily overstimulated when his little body can no longer process the sensory input he cannot avoid and this tends to manifest in tantrums & bouts of rage where everyone around him can suffer. Socially inappropriate & the flying judgments are painful.

Another result of this, if Mylo isn’t consumed by frustration & rage, is a high. He can become so high in his behavior that trying to communicate becomes almost impossible. Sometimes he’ll fall asleep in the moment. But sometimes not.

Reasoning & trying to communicate logically is becoming more a part of routine as kids approach 5. They may not agree, or like the way things are, but unlike with a 2 or 3-year-old, they can form a much greater understanding & thus acceptance of circumstances & reason out a means of coping. Mostly.

Mylo though has delayed development & interacting with him currently, requires the recognition that he is more often than not, needing a 3 1/2-4 year old level of communication as opposed to a 5-year-old. But as he is very tall, no one else gets this fact.

There are many more issues that affect Mylo, resulting from SPD but for the most part whilst I was working, getting through the day was actually a challenge for all of us. Both Kevin & I had to constantly check our patience & empathy; I needed time out I wasn’t able to get & Ethan, the big brother, really has to adopt a much more mature stance in that living with Mylo requires flexibility, understanding & acceptance not usually required of a 6-7 year old. He is a trooper that kid. One I am so proud & also inspired by.

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Currently though, I’m pleased to say, we are all truly enjoying the here & now. It is like taking a deep, satisfying breath, as Mylo comes down a few levels of intensity post summer. He has always been the most personable, quirky & popular kid I’ve known. You cannot do anything but adore Mylo.

Back in OT, back in school & me being available for drop offs, pick ups, sick days & everything in between – means we can enjoy those parts of Mylo more & more often. And that is making our family unit, much more, a family unit.

We are coming back together again rather than feeling like we are splintered apart & barely holding on.

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Categories: Bigger Issues, Family Life, Life as it is, Mummyhood | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

The end is nigh

Today I looked at the calendar & realized that my kids finish school NEXT WEEK… not the following as I thought.

A week may not seem a big difference unless you are a full time, stay-at-home mum.

As I am.

A week is one step closer to insanity. One less barrier between the me I have been through most of the school year & her (aka my scary Mum self – the one I try to pretend doesn’t exist whenever we’re in public).

This morning though I admit – as we rushed out the door on the morning school run, I did think how nice it’ll be to be home at this time; to be still in pajamas, or even still snuggling in bed… to take a leisurely walk to the cafe for coffee, whip out the bikes for an early morning ride….

And then the kids arrived home this afternoon & I VERY quickly recanted those thoughts (it’s a bit like when you have your first baby – you have visions of this darling little bundle, all swaddled tight into your arms, looking up at you with those big innocent eyes & connecting your souls…. only to find your left shoulder permanently covered in vomit & the screams of hunger tearing the house down at 10pm, midnight, 2am, 5am & 7am to be chipping away at any sense of cognitive thought abilities you once thought you possessed).

But moving on…. So, the kids came home from school today & I had great intentions of making our teacher thank you cards for the year. Suddenly realizing we have only 10 days to get these puppies done (don’t forget we work at kids pace… it’s slow… & messy) I thought we should get a kick start… so out comes the glue gun, fabric, pretty card, glitter etc etc.

Within minutes, all 25 glue gun sticks are rolling on the floor (our house is on a slight lean believe it or not, so drop anything & it slowly rolls from one end of a room down to the other); pieces of gorilla cereal & strawberries have been mooshed into floor around said glue sticks; the glue gun is being toted about as a real gun, cord swinging dangerously close to eye level & 2.5 packs of glitter are gently descending upon the table, bench seat & floor…not to mention, children & myself.

Outside, I note, the ball bucket has been unceremoniously dumped; balls are EVERYWHERE & numerous. However the game or intention was dropped as soon as the bucket was.

I walked past their bedroom on my way to escape to this very post & noticed the pool bag also upside down (this seems to be a theme) with kick boards, towels, swim kit, flippers & all other paraphernalia associated with swimming, dribbling it’s way from bag to doorway.

We are & never were going swimming this afternoon I might add.

One (child that is) is now swinging in the hammock – on a scooter. Yes, this can only go badly.

The other just shouted from a tree to get him down as “I’m too little to jump” (at least he has some sense of self preservation).

 

Ethan has actually been home since 12pm thanks to an ENT appointment & I’ve heard nothing but whinging about food, being tired, being bored, wanting a playdate, not wanting that fruit, that yoghurt, that sandwich… “but can I have a cookie? I’m starving….”

His voice has become like a vortex – it sucks me down into the depths of despair as the same conversation & same tantrum of disappointment play out over & over & over again – intermittent only based on odd distractions (or threats).

It’s taken approximately 15 minutes since arriving home with Mylo from preschool for carnage to descend. It took me approximately 7.4 minutes to raise my voice in frustration & about 12.3 minutes to feel my anxiety rising as I assess the damage.

My OCD tendencies quickly kick in & I embrace with dismay the understanding that my quiet sanctuary has been destroyed almost at the rate of a drone strike.

Why on earth did I relish any fond anticipation toward summer vacation?

It’s only 15 minutes post pick up & I’m already counting the hours until drop off.

 

* One note to add in happy ending…. as I finished this post I noticed an odd sense of quiet had descended upon the house. Panicking that they’d left for the streets I whipped out only to find both boys & their “bestie” from next door, quietly creating lego ships on Ethan’s bed.

Perhaps there is hope for the summer yet.

 

Categories: Mummyhood, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

2013 is the year..

This week has been one of those weeks where I’m not quite on top of things due to kids being home sick … but I have to admit, it’s also one of those times I’m really, really grateful for what “we” do  – as thanks to Kevin’s current profession, I get the privilege of being a full time mum.

Mylo & I 2013

Mylo & I 2013

This means when kids wake up with a fever in the morning, my only stress (other than making sure they’re ok) is possibly swapping out a classroom volunteer day & wishing I’d hit the gym at 6am instead of missing out all together. I feel incredibly grateful that Kevin & I aren’t arguing over whose turn it is to take a day off, that I’m not racing into school to provide relief work for my students (I was a high school teacher once upon a time) with sick child in tow or figuring out how to achieve what I need to depending on how many days my kid will be off school.

This state of affairs is to me at least – a privilege. What I have come to realize slowly is that I value being present & home with my kids more than I value what we could gain out of my extra income if I worked.

Green lantern (aka Mylo) 2012

Green lantern (aka Mylo) 2012

It took me a long time to reach this conclusion as I truly missed my workplace for years (seriously – years) after having children.

So for those who do work I fully appreciate that while there may be need, there is also more often than not, great joy in the workplace – qualities gained that I will never enjoy being at home full time.

That is not to say any of us have the perfect fit with work & home life, but we’re all just doing the best we can with what we have.

In my situation of full time parenting however, I also know that – being totally honest with you – I have very low coping mechanisms. I do not have the capacity to work & parent & am in constant awe of those who do. And I do not say that lightly. Prone to anxiety, I don’t do very well juggling too many balls at once. For us, the status quo works – having me home to keep things ticking over smoothly is something that goes with the territory of Cup work – long hours, little flexibility & frequent moving.

Exhausting work this traveling gig.

Exhausting work this traveling gig.

It also – for the time being – goes with the territory that is simply who I am. For a long time, I had “the grass is greener” attitude – feeling like an underachiever because I didn’t have the corporate position to use in discussions – I only had potty training bribes to offer; feeling almost ashamed that I couldn’t share the latest stats on the the market & that as a result, we couldn’t take the annual Hawaii trip & weekly Tahoe missions like so many around us here in the Bay Area.

This area we live can warp your perspective slightly – it can create expectations in life that can, I suspect create a sense is jealousy & discontent over lack of “things” & lack of “holidays”. It’s not what I’ve encountered in many, but it is present & such dissatisfaction over such privilege is something I still find confronting.

As time has gone on here in the States, I’ve remembered a number of things – one being that my values do not revolve around some of the things others value – I’m not arrogant enough to pretend I wouldn’t lap up such a lifestyle were it truly an option, but I am by no means unhappy nor wanting in any way. I feel satisfied in life & truly, truly blessed & grateful.  How did I get this lucky?

However – what I’ve noticed of late though is that  my ability to enjoy the “now” can waiver according to the future & it all boils down the the ending of another Cup campaign. I began this blog to partly chronicle our life in the America’s Cup community & thus far have not actually done much about that!

For the past two years, since we moved to the Bay Area for the next Cup, normal life has prevailed: we’ve become part of the community, made friends, joined sports teams, volunteered at school…. & Kevin has come & gone to work as in any other job. This year however, summer 2013 is the Cup itself & great change is potentially on the horizon. And while I boast about our gypsy life & how much I  love it (& I do love it for the most part) – my natural tendency toward anxiety will hang heavy in the coming months as we wait for events to play out which will dictate the coming two or more years of our lives.

 

On the Bay

On the Bay

The winner of the Cup has the right (within edicts of the Cup Rules) to choose where & when the next race will be held. Thus, should Kevin be hired for the next Cup by either Oracle or another team, that location will likely be home at some stage in the coming years.Some teams however only relocate for the final months or final year, not for the entire campaign. Thus there may be a return to a lot of potential commuting ahead.

In other words, we have no idea where or when we will be living anywhere after the Cup as it all comes down to who wins on that final day.

As New Zealand is “home” (I think?) & we are not US residents, we must leave the US … do we ship our stuff to NZ, wrench kids from school & friends, begin new school, make new friends only to pull them out again for the next location in 6 months to a year? We can’t stay here so that is the only plan I guess…. Unemployment between Cups is always daunting – …..but  we wish to continue what we’re doing & Kevin has worked hard to get to this point so we are committed.

We even eat Oracle boat cookies

We even eat Oracle boat cookies

In terms of life’s problems, this is hardly a hardship. We are not dealing with anything life-threatening.

However, despite this, the unknowns still manage to cause me great distraction & anxiety. Mostly as I worry about kids & their lives. I feel emotional about moving & leaving important relationships. I am longing for a permanent place of our own but feel suffocated thinking of settling down in one place.

How to wrap my mind around the ever-changing nature of this lifestyle I have decided is to be able to take either option & make it work. We cannot plan in concrete beyond October yet we need a plan for our family regardless of whether we end up implementing it or not.

This is Cup life.

While many will be out there this summer, on the Bay,  swilling champagne & debating design features of each team; talking over the skills of sailors & glamming it up at the Louis Vuitton Ball. Most of us, those of us on the non-leisure spectator side, will be anxiously awaiting the outcome of races to decide on our fate: on future income; kids schools;  home location; outside jobs & more.

We watch to support the endless hours our husbands have put into this boat & this race. It stops being a job & starts being a life when you relocate. We watch to see what the future holds for us. We watch to support what has become our family over the past many years – no matter what team you’re with, we all share Cup life & community together.

For some the America’s Cup is entertaining sport. And for some it is simply our life.

Categories: Cup Life, Family Life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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