our spd life: moving, life, and seminars.

First of all, has it really been 3 months since I’ve last posted? Well, at least I have an excuse. Nothing like moving (twice, no less) to make one forget about things like blogs.

We’ve been in our new house for almost 2 months and on our island for almost 3. 837.7 miles from our former home and most days we don’t miss it. Well, it’s not that we don’t miss it because we sure do miss our friends, our school, kung fu, our beach, the Golden Gate bridge…it’s more like we are so happy and content being where we know we are supposed to be. The transition has probably been as good as it could possibly be, and we are all loving our new lives here.

Z is especially doing great. I guess gaining 1,000 square feet of house and over an acre of yard and forest has been good for him. We were pretty crammed in our old place. Which just made the walls easier to bounce off. Now he has room to run, room to swing, room to ride his bike, room to climb, room to go outside and explore. We still have all the issues we had before. Sleeping is still hard. Understanding boundaries with everyone else around him is a struggle. There is still a lot of bouncing, crashing, and yelling. We are still exhausted and have to make a point of working with him consistently through the day to keep him regulated. Which still doesn’t always happen. But, we really are in a place that is good for him and he is happy and thriving. We’ve had a number of evaluations at the developmental preschool and we are hopeful he will qualify for services in the fall. We meet (finally) with an OT in the city tomorrow and are looking forward to getting back into the routine of superhero classes.

In other news, 2 weekends ago I got to attend a Sensory Processing Disorder seminar. I spent the whole sunny weekend sitting in a classroom learning about the brain, nervous system, serotonin, sensory diets, and school related issues. It was amazing. Understanding (just a little bit) what is going on in his body makes a world of difference. Knowing that there is something “broken” or “off” with his system and learning how it can be “fixed” or changed left me with so much more understanding and hope. Hearing about all the ways to help hm succeed in school took away a lot of the fears I have for him. And, learning practical ways to help him through the day gives us so many more resources to help the whole family to cope. I’ll leave you with just one example.

We had known about joint compressions before, but I was reminded of it and how good they are for him. Last week I needed to clip his fingernails (which had really turned into claws) and, as usual, he had a meltdown and starting crying and trying to escape as soon as he saw the nail clippers. I sat him on my lap and spent about 5 minutes doing joint compressions. As I was doing them, I could feel him relax and practically melt into my lap. I then clipped all 20 of his nails without a struggle or peep out of him. Mr. D* was amazed. I was amazed. That has never happened before. It sounds crazy that such a small thing like clipping a child’s nails without a fit would leave me with so much hope, but it did. It also left me with so much hope that he will learn to adjust to life and he won’t spend it living in fear of everyday things. That’s enough to make a mama happy.

three more days.

I can’t believe we are going to be on the road out of here in only three days. The movers come on Monday. It’s been a weird experience to not have to pack anything. But, packing enough clothes and Legos to last for a month (until our stuff gets there) has kept us busy. That and trying to clean the house while still living it. Which, quite honestly, is impossible on a good day, let alone when it needs to be clean enough to get our deposit back.

Z had his last Super Hero class (OT) with Miss Karen yesterday. It was so sad to say goodbye to her. She’s made such a difference in our daily lives. Life with Z is so much better now. He spent almost the whole session pretending that he was packing a big trip with “all our a lot of stuff” and taking it to his “new strange house.” I guess he does realize what is going on.

A and J had their last day at their great little school yesterday. I’m going to miss that place. Good friends. Amazing teachers. Staff who care about them. We went to the school auction last night where I discovered Mr. D* is crazy serious about winning what he bids on. My mom will actually have a birthday present next week and J was thrilled we won his class project. Wine, tacos, and great people – it was such a nice way to go out.

We get one last night with the Wiltsee Crew on Monday night. Pizza and beer. It should be a great time. And I’m not thinking about how hard it will be to say goodbye.

super z.

My amazingly talented friend made Z a cape.

He loves it.

The only unfortunate part is that it makes him run faster. Truly faster. I spent an hour chasing him around the school grounds. At least it tired him out.

This was the only picture I could get of him in it:

moving. again.

After 18-months of sunshine and life in the Bay Area, Mr. D* accepted a job up in rain of the Pacific Northwest. We just can’t seem to stay in the same place for too long. That’s how we roll.

This time it feels like we are going home.

My favorite part of the move is that we have movers and I don’t have to pack a thing. My second favorite part is that some friends offered us their ginormous house that sits on an acre of land. Z will have room to run. A and J can ride their bikes again. Everyone is looking forward to ferry rides, old friends and island life.

The sad part is saying goodbye to some great friends and a school community that we love. J is already sad about saying goodbye to his best buddy so we’ve been getting as many sleepovers in as we can. I don’t know how we are going to find a new OT for Z. No one can compare to his Miss Karen. We have friends at church who we love and will miss tremendously. I don’t know how I will survive without Heidi, my go to BFF for last minute kid pickups and nights out at the wine bar.

Bittersweet seems to be the operative word.

so proud.

Z drew his first “person” today. He was pretty proud. So was his mama.

For the record, she was also a bit teary. How is he growing up so fast?

our spd life: z’s engine.

Living with a child who has Sensory Processing Disorder can mean a number of challenges throughout the day. One of the biggest challenges is to find a way to calm him down when his nervous system goes into overdrive.

One of my favorite phrases our OT uses when talking to Z is “it looks like your engine is fast/slow/loud/quiet/busy.” Any one of those things can describe how his body is acting at any given time. And it can literally change from moment to moment.

The amazing thing to me is that Z actually understands what it means. That understanding has made a world of difference on a daily basis. We have gotten into the habit of frequently asking him what his engine feels like. Some of his favorite answers are “loud” and “quiet” though we get the occasional “grumpy” or ‘sleepy.” When he is feeling loud or fast or grumpy, he is starting to be able to stop and think about what he needs to do to feel quiet or slow. Which is amazing. I can’t even describe how much easier it makes day to day life to have him realize that he needs to stop and calm his engine. When he realizes this, he’ll stop and climb into my lap and take big breaths while I rub his back, lie on the floor in turtle pose, or find some sort of soothing activity (like Legos or his bean box).

His engine is still revved up enough times each day that leaves Mr. D* and I exhausted and his brother and sister frustrated after being jumped on/kicked/hit/etc., but at least we are making progress. It’s the small victories throughout the day that make it all worth it.

lucky me.

So, 18 years ago today, this really cute boy took me to the symphony. Then we went to watch To Catch a Thief with some friends. He has now stuck by me for half his life. I think I’m pretty lucky…

preach it, sister.

I should probably start this post by apologizing for the fact that I am going to upset/offend half of my meager readership. Except, the truth is, I’m not sorry. I’m quite happy to have moved past that closed-minded, judgmental, Baptist girl of yore. (Not that I don’t love or respect Baptists. I’m just glad I’m not there anymore. Very glad.) God has brought me to where I am today and I am good with that.

There’s this blogger named Glennon who I discovered this week, thanks to the Huffington Post. If it’s possible to be in love with someone I have never met, then I am definitely in love with her. And the way she writes. And the way she writes what she thinks, no apologies. I initially read this article that was posted on Huff Post and I almost started crying. Or jumping up and down screaming “Hallelujah.” Then I found her blog and I found this post that blew me away. And I haven’t been able to think about anything else since. I have to admit that I’m a bit jealous that she beat me to this. Because, if I was going to write a letter to my kids about being gay this is exactly what I would write. Exactly. Wouldn’t change a thing. This is my favorite quote from the post:

And I better make sure that my children know beyond a shadow of a doubt that in God’s and their father’s and my eyes, they are okay. They are fine. They are loved as they are. Without a single unless.

Amen, Sister.