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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Things are looking up

Today I got to help out a friend who always helps me out, and it was nice to be able to return the favor.  We took her little girl this morning so that she could go to the temple to help a family who went up to have their child sealed to them.  Their little girl really struggles with strangers and has severe separation anxiety, and since my friend is the child-whisperer, she is the only one who can sooth the little girl. 

So today Alex got to play with his friend for most of the morning, and he did a wonderful job keeping her busy and happy.  He made her a waffle and did some of the cutting himself (with a butter knife).  He colored, built a train track and brought down a handful of Thomas engines to play with, brought down several stuffed animals to play with, played peek-a-boo with a hat, and just generally did his best to be helpful.  We eventually went for a walk to the park and he helped her down the slide.  Then on the way home, she turned to him and asked him to pick her up (the way babies with limited verbals do, with up-stretched arms, lol).  This has never happened before so I took several adorable photos of that but I won't post them here.  He picked her up and did his best to carry her for as long as she wanted him to, taking care to set her down and readjust when he thought he was losing his hold.  He was very careful with her without having to be told, and I was glad to have the help (and made sure to tell him so several times).  He needs more opportunities like this to have positive social interactions with others so he can learn how it's done and be immediately reinforced for doing it. 

In other news, the mediation was successful and the school agreed to start the 504 process.  I was also able to specify that if it should be necessary to involve the school psychologist in the process, they have to pull one from another school.  The one I've had issues with is now out of the picture, and since it's written into the mediation agreement, it's legally binding and I can enforce it in court if necessary.  This should be in place before the end of the school year, which is rapidly approaching.

And finally, I went to my doctor and after working up a plan of action with him, I'm feeling much better.  Sometimes there are just to many things going on in our lives to handle successfully, and there's no shame in asking for help until things blow over.  I struggled with having to take medication in the past, feeling somehow like I was broken and couldn't be fixed, but I've come to realize over the years that the human body is not designed to handle stress for extended periods of time.  The very system that protects us in the short term can cause damage in the long term if we can't switch it off.   Getting some help to do that is not only wise, it's necessary.  This time around I just feel glad for the help and I don't feel any stigma or shame in it.  I made a good decision and my family will be the better for it, as will I.

Work is getting better now that I'm getting better.  Yesterday I was sent to the main building to help out a classroom with limited staff.  The youngest children went on a field trip to URI to kick off the Special Olympics, and it was amazing.  I didn't really get it before, but going in there with my little buddy C was the most joyful experience I've had there.  Each school got to go in separately (much like the athletes do in the traditional Olympics), and they were greeted to a standing ovation.  There were several stations set up with modified versions of several sports, and they were encouraged to go around to try what ever interested them.  He was so excited, and got to see some teachers and classmates from the school he attended prior to ours.  He was warmly greeted by them all, and it was heartwarming to see.  He stuck pretty close to me and cuddled up regularly.  It was one of those special moments that reminds you of why people do this type of work.  It was wonderful to see him happy and having a good time, able to choose for himself whether he wanted to try an activity or just go sit down in a chair.  Next year, when Special Olympics comes around again, I think I'll sign up to be a staff for one of our Pathways kids.

Oh yeah.  You came here for knitting.  I'm working exclusively on my POP blanket and I found two skeins of Kureyon at Knit One Quilt Two that were brighter than what I was working with before.  I went over to Bella Yarns and got my white Eco Wool, and now I'm full steam ahead.  It. Is. Glorious.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day fun

I took the boys out to Orange Leaf today, or The Leaf as we affectionately know it.  Alex has a gift card held over from Christmas that we still hadn't used and today was as good a day as any.  They had this hilarious sticker on the front door so Dante gave Alex a boost so that he could take a photo with this amazing specimen of a mustache.  I think it's a classic :)

We stayed home today instead of going over to my MIL's for a BBQ.  Aaron went, but I have a major homework assignment due tomorrow and I was still trying to start it, (so naturally I felt compelled to blog).  Aaron headed over late and would be staying late so that meant that Alex needed to stay home with me.  Dante went out to get into a pick-up game of basketball, so he stayed behind too.  It's a nasty gray day and Alex is struggling with some hyper-sensitivity, which isn't going over too well with Aaron today so it's probably for the best that we stayed here.

It's days like today when I get to take photos like this one, when I realize that I sneak lots of quality time in with my boys and I don't have to worry so much about family moments slipping through my fingers.  I'm very active in church so my children are too, and we spend a lot of time together as a family doing those things.  I also spend 90 extra minutes every morning with Dante, driving him to seminary and then to school.  I spend one-on-one time with Alex at night when I read to him at bedtime and when we watch cartoons together.  And I have so many photos from the last few summers and holidays that I can look back on.  I didn't know what they were at the time but now I realize that I manage to find time for my boys every day, and I don't need to grieve something that isn't here yet, and might not be as dire as it feels right now.  I think that talk I had with my mom yesterday helped me put it into perspective too.  My mom is a smart lady and I love her.

Meanwhile, I've started to do some things that I used to enjoy and I've tried to do less of some others that don't really bring me joy.  I was always very active on Ravelry but over the last few months I've hardly even checked in.  I also have an extensive blog roll that I would check every morning before starting my school work.  I haven't done that in months and months.  This weekend I went back to it and it felt a lot like going home.  It was bittersweet because on the one hand, I really missed it and I felt depressed over being away from something I loved for so long.  It was the sudden realization that I hadn't been doing as good of a job of sticking to the normal things as I thought I'd been doing that I found so upsetting.  On the other hand, I was back and it felt good.  I discovered a pattern book available for preorder that i really loved, and I used my Mother's Day gift card to pay for it (thank you Aaron!). 

The other thing that I did was give in and purchase the pattern for the POP Blanket.  It's unbelievably fast and addicting.  I've knit six squares in the last 24 hours.  It only takes about as long to knit one of these as it does to knit a hexipuff, but I need a heck of a lot less of these.  I love this so much!  It's definitely cheering me up and I feel so much more like myself today.  However, I see a second one of these in my future because I really want to have the white border and I don't have enough white Eco Wool so I'm using a taupe yarn I have on hand.  It's cool, but the effect is very different from the sample that I fell in love with.  I really don't want to buy a skein of yarn for this but it might come down to that.  I don't have enough of the white I got as the Vermont fiber festival, and I'm not sure if the Cascade 220 I have on hand is thick enough.  Maybe I'll knit a square with it and see how I like it.  Either way, this blanket is happening, and it's happening right now!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Can I take it all back?

So we had a conversation a few weeks ago where I was feeling better at work, and I was working on a sock and a sweater, and I was eagerly anticipating going to mediation with Alex's school.  That's not entirely accurate any more. 

As you can see in the photo, I was reminded of the existence of my Beekeeper's Quilt and I picked it back up.  I've been knitting puffs like there's no tomorrow, because it's all I have the mental energy for right now.  The downward slide is more evident in the things that trigger sadness and tears.  It's tough when I can't be happy for others in their moment of happiness because I'm reminded of something that I'm missing in my life, or when I can't enjoy a natural right of passage with my child because I'm sad that things are going to change.

It's painful to even write about this, but I'm really struggling with having two children so far apart in age, mostly because Dante is quickly becoming a young adult and I have a little boy in the house still so I'm in the mode of having all my little ducklings at home and accounted for.  I'm not in a place of transition like I should be to help Dante as he makes the change, and I'm trying desperately to hide that from him because this is supposed to be an exciting time for him. 

You see, my weeks are literally flying by at break-neck speed so when people tell me that I've got another full year to 18 months before he sets off into the world, they might as well be talking about hours.  This calendar year Dante will enter his senior year of high school.  This year.  Next year he will graduate.  He will turn 18 quickly after, and the will likely put in mission papers.  He will set off on a mission for 2 years, during which time he will likely be too busy to remember to write to his mother.  When he returns after 2 years away, he will go off to college.  Things will not ever be like they are right now, and I actually like things as they are right now.  I've worked really hard to shape him into a kind, respectable, likeable young man and I'm angry that I get such a short time with him to enjoy it now that he's there.  I'm regretting that I have to share the last summer I have with him doing homework and working my new full-time job.  I've done my best, but I'm looking at the time I have left and regretting how little of it there is left before he's off into the world.  He won't have very much time for me (as I've not had as much time as I'd like for my parents), and I can't stand that.  And I can't figure out how to express that to those around me so I just press on like I'm okay because trying to talk about it causes me to break down in tears. 

I'm not putting this all out here for sympathy, so please don't feel like you have to respond with encouragement.  I just hoped that it would be a little therapeutic to actually admit what I've been feeling and struggling with.  Then maybe I can start to get back to myself again, because I certainly haven't been myself in a little while.  Work is hard most days and the last week I've lived in constant anxiety of going to work.  I know what it is, but I feel it none the less.  I haven't wanted to watch anything other than cartoons.  I haven't knit much of anything and I've had to force myself to knit what I've managed to knit.  I've hardly cooked.  I checked in on my blog feed for the first time in months and months, and immediately felt lonely and isolated.  I want to talk to people; to reach out, but I don't want to talk to them.  I want to tell someone but I don't want to be needy.  And sometimes I try to reach out but no one is home.  Lots of times actually. 

Anyway, this post sure took a different turn that I thought it would but sometimes that's for the best.  I'll keep working on this thing and I'll enlist some help is I can't fix it.  In the meantime, I appreciate the ability to unload it.  Now, I'm going to go knit some puffs and watch Spongebob.