Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My Equation

For too long, I have seen my present as this equation:

Positive past experiences +Negative past experiences  = ME

I haven’t liked the sum, and I’ve pored through the equation, wondering where my addition is off.  Where I mis-added, as though my past and my math is what’s off.  But I am so tired of rehashing my past, rethinking every decision, every embarrassing moment, as if those experiences are everything. 

Recently, I contacted a counselor.  Perhaps, I thought, a third party can go through my equation to see where I’m adding my life incorrectly, to see where I can fix myself to finally be happy.  The counselor asked me to write out a timeline of my life, to list all my highs and lows, so she could get to know me better and we could talk about who I am.  But I don’t want to focus on that one time I wore an “uncool” sweater (that was simply ahead of its time), that I was made fun of about, and ruined 8th grade.  It happened, it’s over, and I would wear that sweater every day if only it still fit.  That day sucked.  But it’s not who I am.  I don’t need a counselor to walk me through that outfit – or any other day of my life.  I'm tired of poring through my past with a fine tooth comb.

All along, my addition had been correct; I was adding, and adding, and adding.  The answer I got just wasn’t the answer I was looking for.  It wasn’t at all who I am.  So all along, it was my equation that was wrong.  I can’t get rid of my past – positive or negative.  They all factor into who I am.  But the math is not solely two factors, and those factors are not equal parts.  The negative does not weigh on my present and future as much as the positive.  My future is not a linear progression of reflecting and obsessing on the past.  My life, my present, my future – who I am – is not just simple addition.  I am exponential.

(Positive + Aspirations)2 + negative = ME.  All of me.  Who I want to be.  My future.

All this time, I have focused so heavily on my past that I forgot to factor in my hopes, goals, dreams, and aspirations.  It is my past along with my hopes that multiplies and grows.  The negative is only just a small factor, added only after everything else has been multiplied.  And that it what makes me who I am, and who I want to be.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

When Bad News Isn't So Bad

Little things.  Quirks.  Mannerisms.  Like walking around with his head tilted to the side.

And then some bigger things too.  Not answering to his name, avoiding eye contact, not saying a single word.

When Paul was 18-months old and not talking, I passed it off as being the third child with verbose older siblings.  Gavin was a late talker, so it wasn't that big a deal.  But at 21 months I started to feel like I was in denial about... something...? that I couldn't quite put my finger on.  And by 22 months, when Paul stopped saying the one word he ever did have (Thank you), and wasn't even babbling anymore, I called the pediatrician.

Did you know that every single state has an early intervention program?  I did not realize, at all, that our child could qualify for state services for aid until my pediatrician told me to call Maryland's Infants and Toddlers program.  Picking up the phone to make that call - admitting out loud to the world that something was wrong - was the hardest part of beginning Paul's care.

I&T answered the phone with kindness and support, and that is a theme that has continued throughout my experience.  Fearing an Autism diagnosis, but hoping to hear my kid was just a late talker, I requested a speech evaluation to see if Paul would qualify for services, and they immediately suggested a hearing test.

A hearing test?  But Paul dances ALL THE TIME.  How could there be any issues with his hearing?  A week after scheduling the hearing test, Paul failed it.  He failed it hard. And I knew within 30 seconds of beginning the test that he would fail it.  By the time he turned his head to see where the hissing noise was coming from, I was ready to cover my own ears from the noise.  And when he did turn to look, he turned in the wrong direction.

But when the audiologist ended the test, I was almost laughing from relief.  Yes, relief!  Paul couldn't hear, and that's why he wasn't talking!!  Beyond that, the audiologist suggested that his problem seemed likely to be caused by fluid in his ears.  Even though he had never had an ear infection.  Fluid in his ears.  And that would explain the tipped head, as Paul was compensating for his balance.

A trip to the ENT later, Paul was scheduled for bilateral tubes and an adenoidectomy.  He had that surgery last week.  And while I was hoping for an overnight cure and a full vocabulary, I knew that was unlikely.  Even so, Paul is responding to his name.  He has completely stopped tipping his head to walk.  He is more involved.

Paul finally had his speech evaluation through I&T yesterday.  I was not surprised that he does qualify for speech therapy.  His language was rated as a 13-month old, which means he's only just experimenting with making consonant sounds.  He has a long road ahead.  BUT, and this is huge, of all the delays he has, they were entirely language based.  He didn't exhibit a single behavioral marker for anything like Autism, Asperger's, or any of those scary problems.  I still need to bring Paul back to the audiologist for a follow-up hearing test to make sure he doesn't have nerve damage in his ears.  But at the very worst, we have a child with mild hearing loss.  He's getting the care he needs, and he'll find the words he wants soon.

I am so thankful for Infants and Toddlers.  I do feel a little guilty that I didn't ask for an evaluation sooner, but I know he's a happy, loving, intelligent child.  I know Paul will do great things in this world.  And I am so happy for such wonderful bad news.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Seemingly Overnight

Five minutes drag by and suddenly a day has passed.  It's the same with children. I watch everyday to see how they grow. More often it's behavior: new words, better pronunciation, attempting to tell jokes, actions. But sometimes I can actually see them grow.  Seemingly overnight.  Poof! They're bigger.

It's the most amazing thing about motherhood so far. A shoe doesn't fit - overnight! A button pops, a dress just isn't quite long enough although it was last week, ankles show beneath too-short pant legs.  And still these are secondary reminders of the constant growth. We see the charts from one check up to the next, measured in percentiles from one year to the next.  50th percentile for height, 20th for weight, following her own growth curve... But what does that mean in real life?  What is the difference between x feet tall and x feet one inch?  

Sometimes, the difference of one inch is the difference between toddling safely under the kitchen table, and bonking a forehead on the edge as he tries to steal a snack.  Or fitting nicely under the tall kitchen counter, and smacking a temple into the corner as she runs past.

Every so often, we can see our children grow while the clock slowly ticks on.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Life lately

Life lately has been too good to blog.  Why blog when I'm surrounded by so much awesome?  Yet at the same time life has been too good not to blog.  I want to remember this stuff!  I want to chronicle my wonderful family.  It's selfish, really, as I can just pull up a blog post on a bad day and instantly remember the good times that have happened and have yet to happen that make it all worthwhile.  I don't do that here.  So this post won't be a recap of fun weekends or silly kid stories.  I have other places for that.  Places that are far more meaningful to me.  This is my place to whine.  Which is probably why I'm not some wildly successful blogger.  I'm just another woman complaining into the ether.  And lately, I just haven't had much to complain about.