For this week’s “Thankful Thursday”, I have decided to do a list of 10 things for which I am grateful. I think in list form a lot. I like to make lists. They are neat, and orderly, and logical.
1.3 year-old preschool. I have 5 hours a week to myself. I can do whatever I want. Often, I end up using my time to get chores or errands done around the house, but hey, I don’t have to mitigate any arguments, feel guilty about not paying attention to my children while I mark things off of my list, and I can go at my own pace, which is usually much faster than when a child, or three is hanging around.
2. A relatively healthy family. We have typical colds and tummy bugs. We feel run-down at times and “off”. None of us, though, has any illness or disease that is of major concern. I suffer from allergies and asthma, but am able to control it through medication and lifestyle changes. The boys have neurological “disorders”, but we are able to afford interventions and therapy. None of us is homebound, ill all the time, or miserable…and that is a blessing.
3. Tate and Jake sharing a room. Since we decided to make Jake and Tate roommates, Tate’s bed time antics have vastly improved. He isn’t out of the room every 2 minutes. He is settling down to sleep relatively quickly. He is staying in bed for a good 8-9 hours, even when he does wake up in the middle of the night. Jake finally, finally learned how to read a clock (I think Tate helped), and will not emerge from his room prior to 6:00 am unless it is a dire bathroom emergency. I see the light go on low, and I hear them talking and playing (yes, playing) but they are not jumping up and down on me or Hubz prior to 6:00 am. It has been wonderful.
4. ABA Therapy. Tate has made tremendous amounts of progress. He is able to perform tasks and speak at levels that blow us away. It isn’t necessarily the perfect solution, but for Tate, ABA has been a godsend. He has tapped into so much of his intelligence. He masters programs and generalizes them. The ones he has trouble generalizing, he works on more each session to make it a part of his “tool box”. ABA therapy has given us so much hope, too. We always saw potential and intelligence in our son–and with the help of his ABA therapists, we are seeing him achieve great things.
5. Amazing IEP teams. Our boys are incredibly blessed to have such amazing teams in place for their education. The teachers, therapists, and us, his parents, work together often to make sure our boys are getting the services and attention they need to achieve in school. The therapists spend a good amount of time with each of our boys, and they work hard during their sessions towards the goals we set in the IEP meetings. It is wonderful to know that the boys are working on their goals, and are progressing…and they are using what they learn in therapy and are generalizing it to the classrooms. The IEP teams are good about communicating to us, and they let us know when breakdowns occur so that we can all address them together.
6. Passionate teachers. Jake and Tate have amazing teachers this year. They have the kind of teachers that set the bar waaayyyyy up here (I’m on my tippy-toes with my arm stretched above my head). They have teachers that I know I will be comparing all future teachers against. Their teachers just seem to get it. And they are always, and I mean ALWAYS, willing to try something new to see if it will help our boys learn. The teamwork between their teachers and the IEP teams, and home has been so beneficial for them. They are really picking up some steam at school. Yes!
7. A mostly-typical child. Cole keeps me on my toes. He is mischievous, fun-loving, and social. He is curious. He is intelligent. He does not have the same struggles that his older brothers have. He has his quirks and all, but he has shown me the beauty of a typically developing child. I am so grateful that I have the privilege of being able to parent someone like him. My mostly-typical child allows me to see that the grass isn’t always greener. Mostly-typical children have their own set of worries, issues, and frustrations.
8. Supportive family. Hubz is amazing. He works all day, and then comes home and helps me out with the boys at night when we’re all coming unglued. He encourages me to take time for myself. He never grumbles about helping with our boys. It is a relief to know that when he gets home, I have some back-up, especially on the days when Tate and Jake are dysregulated, and Cole has decided not to nap. My sister, K, and her husband. They are always willing to lend a helping hand, watch the boys, listen to a vent, or give advice. They applaud the boys’ successes. They make sure to let the boys know that they are special. We are so lucky to have them in our lives. My sister, C. The past year, but mostly since the birth of my nephew, she has really been more understanding. She asks how the boys are doing more. She asks how I am doing more. I really appreciate that. My mother and father-in-law. They watch the boys for us. They are so patient with the boys and support us when we go to evaluations, or doctor appointments, or try a new medication. It is nice to have them as a sounding board…and as a back-up when our energies are running low. My SIL & BIL. They treat the boys with respect and love. My dad and his girlfriend. They have watched the boys a few times. They spoil the boys and shower them with attention. They acknowledge the progress each of our kids has made.
9. The blogosphere. I have “met” so many wonderful people out here. So many of the bloggers I follow have some grasp of special-needs parenting. They just “get it”. It is comforting to know that we are not the only ones who struggle with sleep. Or food aversions. Or sensory disorder. Or keeping-our-shtuff-together-so-we-don’t-scare-the-kids. I love that I can admit that this parenting gig is hard sometimes. REALLY HARD. I love that I can talk about how awesomely amazing it is that Tate went trick-or-treating of his own will, and people here celebrate it with me. Or I when I express worry about a behavior or lack of progress, I get some usable advice, and not just, “oh, all kids do that…”
10. Friends. I am so appreciative that I have friends. I have some really long-lasting friendships. I have newer ones. I have come-and-go ones. I have “virtual” friendships with people whom I have never met, but yet, I feel like we could sit and talk for hours about everything and nothing. I have friends so close they could be siblings. I have friends so distant that I don’t really know what is even going on with them….but I know that they are there for me..and I am there for them. And, well, knowing how hard forming friendships can be for many people, I do not take any of mine for granted. I am incredibly blessed to have so many people that I consider friends.
Obviously, I am grateful for so much more in my life, but these are the ones that are sticking out in my mind right now….