Wednesday, June 18, 2014

So much to do, so little time!

Anxiety on the receding level means action on the mommy level. Grief is still there, depression is lurking behind (in a shadow, obviously) and anxiety still has me grinding teeth and thinking stupid thoughts while missing other thoughts of greater value, but the energy to do the things of family living is returning to our family life. Luckily, I still don't have a job, though it seems possible in the future. I keep telling friends I cannot fathom how I ever had a full-time, high-intensity job AND cared for kids and home and did all that therapy for Hannah, lived with a depressed and slow moving husband (in secret he may have been speedy, I am still not sure) and...!!!...then started on therapy for me, then spousal suicide and then more therapy for Claire, then me...then arrgghhh...then I remember that I was propped up with oxycodone from November 2010 to March 2013. And then propelled by PTSD, grief, sobriety and the need to eventually get better, then ... .... .... PRESTO! I now operate at roughly 65% and climbing of who I used to be before I married a depressed! lying! manipulative! wrongly made! sort of beautiful in a flawed but beautiful manly and deeply fucked up manly way kind of man and had children with him and eventually had all my own previous flaws and insecurities meet up with special needs! Depression of self plus spouse! Life threatened babies! Death of a parent (and beloved dog)! Life in a CAPITAL L Sense, plus regular life and fell the fuck apart. Boom. Did I mention BOOM!? So now, I figure 65% operational skills is not bad, considering. People say you need a year for grief, you need a year to get equilibrium in recovery, and obviously you need a year plus for PTSD due to its earth shattering and ass kicking nature. So sixteen months since spousal death, this is not bad, not bad at all. Except ALL. Kinda bad still, honestly, but not AS bad as before. A win!

We live to fight the good fight, and smile a little today. Knowing there are more smiles tomorrow and beyond.

In the last two weeks I have spent 40 hours or so pulling weeds, been social repeatedly on as many as four days in a row, volunteered at church, co-parented other peoples' kids as well as my own, gone to continued therapy, sorted the detritus of about the last two plus years in my homey mess and recycled or tossed quite a lot of it, and been validated for how I have cared for my daughter with a metabolic disorder and CP by people in the know who say I have done well by reducing PT and just living. I have read books to my kids and encouraged them. I have loved myself, if not fully, at least I have tried, and told myself it is OK to gain weight while I am in triple recovery, and I bought clothes for me in this size, to reconfirm my affirmation. Firm is a word that partly fits, except for when I jiggle a lot. I have prayed and meditated, though not always with feelings of peace. I have felt optimism, pessimism but less so, hope, despair (natch) but then, hope some more, belief I can truly make my journals of turmoil into a book that might help others recover from trauma and despair, doubt, and, ultimately, belief, again. We have been to the zoo, swimming lessons, the lawn mower repair shop, book club, the store (too many times to count reliably) and I almost set up the computer again to receive pix so I can catch up on holiday and event posts.

Crap, I am pooped. But also, I am having some extra coffee so I can keep going.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Are those furry black spiders with white dots dangerous? If so, I am a hero!

Because I just killed one with a handy dirty sandal (not one I was wearing) out on the hot red patio my kids play on in my back yard.  See self, you are strong! Mighty! Full of pizzazz!

This act of bravery followed me getting on a ladder to tighten a loose light bulb in the garage door opener feature, and replace the burned out bulb.

Check me out!! I am getting better!  Or at least able to face a ladder to do a simple household chore.  This may sound silly but I have had a huge fear of going more than two steps up a ladder since I got such raging PTSD, because I often felt like the world's solid nature might be yanked away at any minute and that I would fall down, likely into an abyss, but certainly off the ladder.

I am so much better that I suddenly feel bad about the state of my home and life generally and therefore make myself busy starting to do things. I only finish doing fun things with my kids and the most basic things like appointments, food, clothes for the little ones, but it is better than before. I would like to not feel bad about not suddenly being 100% myself again but instead being somewhere in the 50% range, but with such a huge step up, I'll take it and run.

Don't fear I am off somewhere relapsing, I am really off somewhere with a Swiffer cloth making ineffectual stabs at cleaning things. And pre-treating poopstains in tiny underwear. I really didn't know skidmarks went on this long.

I will be back soon with photos to prove kids with stroke and suicidal parents go hiking . . . and camping . . . and perform in the chorus of the kindergarten play, and have huge birthday celebrations and so on, and so on, and so on.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A few ways CP changes my parenting style

I have two kids, one with CP, and one without. After the first few years of seemingly endless PT and OT, therapy generally now comes through living for Hannah. That means my affected child copies her sister and therefore I shamelessly use my older child to help the younger one, just by hoping two handed activities look good.  Lately I have hosted a lot of play dates for both kids, and I have realized that not only do I use my kids to help each other but I am using other families' kids to encourage mine, and it works. It seems like other kids who come over think my house is the "no rules" house.  I have an indoor scooter, and kids can ride it through the house, and I kept the Flintstones style car past the normal age based time frame, and people climb on top and push each other around in creative ways. What I have been enjoying is how physical kids can get in group play and how that inspires Hannah in particular, but also keeps Claire from sitting and watching TV. Hannah got the scooter when she was three or so, as an idea from a PT, with the hope that she would use it and increase balance and strength in her affected leg. We got the three wheeled style with a wider platform. Honestly she still doesn't push off with her affected leg but she will get on it and scoot through the house at least once each time some other child takes it for a spin and leaves it lying about. A tall child who is visiting today was able to get the cereal boxes off the fridge, which us something my kids would just call to me to do for them, so even self sufficiency skills get boosted by playing with other kids. Seeing kids whose parents must be telling the kids to get it themselves (unlike me, as I seem to find it terrifying to let my kids life and pour a gallon of milk and spill it) Hannah now gets inspired to carry a stool around so she can get things. All in all, my house is a complete disaster now that people get their own things of interest but I figure it is only to Hannah's benefit to keep stretching for things above her literal and figurative reach. I am trying to work on not doing for my kids when they could do for themselves, but right now, just working on that is all I can do. It really is helpful though, when a mom of a fellow almost eight year old who is coming to sleepover texts me to say her child gets clumsy when she hits her exhaustion limit, and to know that is not really a factor of CP or small stature but one of run of the mill childhood experience.  So today, I am grateful for the village people who sometimes send their kids to me.  But also I am tired of picking up M&Ms.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Good news for clumsy people everywhere

Where have I been, and where is my brain? Firstly, celebrating the great good news that the 5 second rule for eating food off the floor is indeed valid. H is clumsy, given her lack of right sided motor skills, but then again, C and I drop our fair share of food on the floor. When both kids were still at Kids Kampus, I agreed with the 5 second rule wholeheartedly since my blessed daycare seemed to mop the floors once an hour or so. Since I was often there I was in the know about their cleaning efforts, as I came at random times to either meet an Early Intervention caseworker or to pickup and return my child. My house, though, has rarely been cleaned as frequently. OK, never. Whatever. And now, thanks to PTSD (thank you MCADD and Lord Honey, not) my house is never clean enough that I would think eating off my floors a great idea. So news reports this week of a study testing the five second rule and finding it valid were welcome here. Check NPR or Google it, the news is in, picking up food quickly really does make it safer.  Hooray for us! H has absolutely no fear of eating food she drops, and since we became dog free a couple years ago when Sophie went to Dog  Heaven, I stopped being quite so worried about what the floor might harbor that could sicken or kill a person who might eat the odd unwrapped chocolate or piece of cheese that dropped. Let's skip right over the deer poo in my yard, literally and figuratively, OK? Like in the Lego movie, Everything is Awesome! We can retrieve each Samoa and jelly bean and stuff it in, provided we are quick about it. Is it wrong to feel so happy about being slovenly and clumsy? I say no. In my never ending quest for affirming optimism, I say ... Yay!

Secondly, I have been internet sleuthing literacy and Common Core and related stuff, not because my kids are failing, but because the homework they get just makes me ... wonder.

Thirdly, the time just gets away from me. When I ask aloud where the time goes, C generally says that an old man takes it and almost never gives it back. I think this goes back to me telling her something random about Father Time, and maybe her seeing weirdly drawn cartoons of the new year as a baby and such. Lawyers sometimes file a Motion to Enlarge Time, which I have always wanted to file but I could never figure out on whom I might serve the motion. Maybe later this week . . .

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Less gloom, more zoom!

In less gloomy Gas Food Lodging news, both girls did a painting for the school talent show.  Each girl wanted to paint something near and dear to her heart, so Hannah painted a picture of her favorite stuffed pony, Sharley.

Claire painted her cousin engaged in her "all Katniss, all the time" favorite activity.

At the talent show I felt blessedly grateful that neither of my children plays the clarinet or drums, and had a very strange conversation with a very conservative friend about her daughter's hula hoop skills and the lack of a future in hula hooping although pole dancing might be lucrative in the health and fitness realm.

Hannah is suddenly very attached to her Daddy shirt which still smells faintly of her father and which she can roll up, cuddle, and seemingly animate with emotions and interest. "No, Daddy shirt wants to go, too!" I put the brakes on Daddy shirt going into the store, and thought it best he not attend church, though he will be allowed to stay in the car.

At church today, as we took communion, Hannah chewed the host after dipping it in the chalice, and her response to the phrase "the blood of Christ, the cup of salvation" . . . was "oh, juicy."

We went tubing with a friend, and Claire did not love it as much as Hannah did. Hannah loved it a lot. Fortunately for me we got a picture of the joy that did not include my mountainous er, um, mountains, which remain larger than Hannah's head and dominate most pictures.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Put out the sun, dismantle the moon, tear up all the flowers

The bloom is off the rose of love.  Or so it seems when your Valentine killed himself one year ago. How did I mark the anniversary of being notified of my husband's suicide? I had a couple kids over for a sleepover and let the four younguns trash the house.  How did I mark the anniversary of the Valentine's Day I had last year, when I was tearing about buying pills and clothes for my kids to wear to their father's funeral?  I had a cookie decorating and craft party for my daughters and friends, and let the five younguns trash the house. Despite my fifty dollars worth of icing, cookies, new scissors and rolls of tape, they ended the affair not with things of pink but with making Fairy Soup by grinding grass and bits of plants with rocks into a wooden bowl of water on the front porch.  And I let the bowl stay there, to attract the odd Fairy who might happen by. I hope she might put the bloom back on the rose. Maybe even plant the rose.  And when we got good and exhausted, the next day, to mark the anniversary of the funeral, we stayed in our pajamas and hung out, and hung on, and we rested.  Enough grieving. I've been a widow for one year, and the book sucks, so now I need to add some new chapters,

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Back to bracing basics

Hannah must have just stretched or something and her wrist is kinking up a bit. We braced for so very long, and when, over the last year, and after the last brace had such fatigued fabric that it couldn't hold the stay in the palm of her hand anymore, we stopped bracing. Her OT said when her wrist didn't flex and drop her hand, as was not happening much last summer, she would do just as well without it so it wouldn't impair her volitional movements.  Happily, we stopped bracing. Suddenly Hannah recently noticed she couldn't hold a paper down with her affected hand while writing with lefty and she wanted to spend more time at OT.  We went in this week to get new ideas and I had thoughts of a new brace, and came home with two, one to help hold her hand down during school work and the other to provide a better grip on swings and playground equipment and the like. Now of course she doesn't want to wear either one, so we are back to that nasty place of trying to create a commitment to therapy after taking a break. This is not my favorite place, as it brings up all my issues of wanting to encourage her to build skills and strength and confidence and lay down neural pathways for the future, all conflicting with my desire not to ever communicate to her that she is anything other than wonderful, perfect, not broken, and not in need of fixing. This is something I will never feel I really have down.

However, in other Hannah news, communication skills are really on an upswing.  Han has fully embraced and adopted the family practice of making old songs new again, changing the lyrics to songs of interest and renown to fit the topic in one's mind.  Now "I just wanna see you ... I just wanna see you-oo, see you be brave" becomes "I just wanna see you, I just wanna see you-oo, see you be ... FART!"