Monday, October 31, 2011

Oh, Dream Weaver, I believe we can reach the morning light, but I'm gonna feel funky the rest of the day

So, some of my earliest memories are of nightmares I had as a child.

We all have nightmares from time to time, but during my childhood and my twenties, my nightmares were worse than most movies I've seen. When I was very young, the nightmares were innocent, more about monsters kidnapping my sister and I or a shark biting off my leg in a swimming pool than about pure evil. But as I grew older and learned more about sinister people and horrific circumstances, they became extremely violent, bloody and detailed. And they seemed to last all night long. Sometimes it could take me 30 minutes just to explain the whole dream to someone.

I can always remember my dreams and they are always in color, which made them all the more disturbing when I woke up.

When I turned 30, I began seeing a therapist (which everyone should do, in my opinion) - not about my nightmares, but just about living a better life in general. After seeing my therapist for a year and getting out everything I had wanted to say in my life but was too afraid to say, and discovering where my feelings of shame were coming from in the first place, the nightmares stopped. Immediately.

And I realized that I had all these horrid dreams my whole life because I never said what I really wanted to say. I never let myself believe that who I am is good enough. I wasn't living my truth. I was trying to be someone that I was never going to be, whether that person was a Metallica-loving goth girl or an aloof poet or a rebellious Indy rocker. I needed to just be me. And that is something I still struggle with everyday - being okay with me.

I completely stopped having nightmares for four years. Until I had kids.

As I have said before, being a parent of two little boys, one with sensory and hyperactivity issues, is sometimes quite overwhelming for me and quite exhausting. On top of that, my husband and I have had a rough few years financially, with other bumps along the way. I started having nightmares again when my first son was about 10 or 11 months old. My husband had just lost his job, I had a miscarriage, my husband lost 2 family members, and a few other things happened.

Now, my nightmares were back, but in a different way. No longer were they bloody and gory like a Clive Barker book, they were just sad or intense or frantic. I was always stressed out because of worrying about money, or Max's behavior, or his many therapy appointments, or Harry's seemingly constant illnesses. And I still have nightmares to this day.

I feel as if my husband and I have been running from one almost-tragedy to the next, barely escaping in tact, but always escaping at the last second, and trying to protect our sons at the same time. We haven't had a break to breathe in a long time. And that is where my nightmares come in.

I don't have them as often anymore because I have learned that life throws hard times at you and as long as I find a way to see it as a blessing in some way, then I can move on, almost unscathed, but stronger. I still panic, but my times of sheer panic are shorter and far between. I have learned that as long as we are still a family and my boys and husband are with me and we are all still laughing and unhurt, then what does the rest matter anyway?

But, I can't escape my dreams. And they always show me what I am truly feeling when consciously, I apparently have no idea.

This post is kinda long, so I will write about two of the dreams I've had lately tomorrow. I could write about this all day, but somebody has got to do my laundry. Unless someone else wants to volunteer. No? Okay, then I'd better go. I'm potty training and Max needs his Star Wars underwear.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Way to be there, Mom and Dad!

So, we've had a couple of accidents in the Clark family. And no, I'm not talking about accidentally eating half a bag of Butterfinger minis this weekend. Total accident. I was distracted.

No, I am talking about Max and Harry. Nothing biggie big, but a couple of boo-boos.

Last Sunday, we had a block party in our neighborhood. Max was already tired because he had been playing with his cousins all afternoon. By the time the block party started at 4 pm, he was getting sleepy-clumsy and falling down a lot. He had several incidents where he fell and cried, which is completely unlike him, but he was T-I-R-E-D.

Then, the big one. He was chasing the older boys, who were riding their bikes, with a foam sword. Okay, it kinda sounds like he was being bad, but the older girls were also chasing the boys and the boys were laughing. Everyone was laughing. Until Max was crying.

I'm not sure what I was doing when Max fell because everything flew out of my head the moment I saw my little 3 yr old with blood pouring down the side of his face, sitting in the middle of the street screaming. I ran toward him while one of the older boys helped him stand up.

Apparently, from what we could get out of him, one of the girls accidentally ran into him with her bike and knocked him down. But, we still aren't sure if he hit his head on her bike or a rock, a stick, or what. And no kids were giving out any deets. I'm sure someone was afraid of getting in trouble. Little kids live in fear of getting in trouble and they weren't about to give up any information. You gotta survive out there on the playground, man. No one wants to be the rat.

Whatever it was gashed his forehead open and blood was pouring out everywhere like a mafia beating. Okay, it probably wasn't everywhere like a mafia beating, but it seemed like it to me at the time.

He needed stitches, but it was a Sunday evening and going to the ER would have been more traumatic for him than necessary. So, after a long battle with him screaming that he didn't want us to touch his head, we finally got him to let us close the wound with a butterfly closure by giving him a small bag of M&Ms to eat while we did it. And we gave him a special toy.

A toy that we had been saving for one of his big accomplishments, like total potty training or giving up the paci. We went ahead and gave it to him after we bandaged him up. The toy miraculously made him good as new! It was a Carbonite Freezing Chamber from the Empire Strikes Back. He loved it!

All better! His boo-boo looks great now and has healed up nicely!

The other accident happened when we went to St. Louis to visit my sister this past weekend. And it was Harry instead of Max. My sister has stairs in her house, but there is a baby gate in front of the stairs, which her daughter, who is almost the same age as Harry, has never even tried to move.

Well, enter my boys. After 2 days of being there, Harry figured out how to move the gate and while all us responsible adults were eating something (again, all details flew out of my head the moment I saw my 1 yr old tumble down the stairs - I can't even remember if it was breakfast, lunch or dinner), he climbed up to the fourth stair and stood up.

When I saw him, I let out a little scream and started to run over to the staircase. Harry saw me and gave me a huge look-what-I-just-did-mommy grin. Then, he took a step toward me, into the air, and tumbled down the stairs, landing on his neck between the first step and the baby gate.

Luckily, he was fine. The baby gate kept him from hitting the hard wood floor. There was just lots of crying and lots of mommy beating herself up for not being able to run faster and dive over a baby gate like a circus performer dives through a ring of fire.

I am hoping for a boo-boo free week this time. I don't need our little Obi Wan Kenobi or Kermit the Frog to be on crutches for Halloween!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"If it's too LOUD, then you're TOO OLD!" Okay, well then, I've been too old since birth.

So, loud noise. It drives my son to put his hands over his ears and run the other direction. Or put his hands over his ears and scream. Or put his hands over his ears and cry. Or lash out. It is part of his sensory disorder.

But, you know, we all have sensory issues to some degree. Some people don't like the feeling of wool on their skin. Some people don't like slimy food textures, like mushrooms. Some people's senses don't work together efficiently in crowds and they become claustrophobic.

My sensory issue? Noise. Like Max, I can't handle noise.

When I was a child, I remember begging my mom not to turn on the vacuum cleaner because I couldn't handle the noise. And when she said she had to vacuum, I remember asking her to wait until I got to my bedroom and shut the door. I truly couldn't stand it. Just like Max.

I have never liked loud music (again, just like Max), so apparently I've been old since birth. Concerts and bands in bars have always been difficult for me to enjoy because of the volume. I sound like such a fuddy duddy, don't I? Well, I promise I am fun. Okay, at least I used to be fun before I had kids. (insert sigh) Now, fun for me is getting to go to the grocery store by myself and buying myself a treat, like a Dr. Pepper (gasp!) and a bag of peanut M&Ms (oh no! she didn't!), then sitting in my driveway in the dark like a psycho, eating my candy while hiding from my responsibilities.

Wait. That might have been too much information.

Anyway, construction sites and motorcycles give me anxiety and make my brain vibrate around in my head. Fingernails on a chalkboard and forks scraping plates make my teeth hurt.

I can't stand the sound of liquids pouring from one container to another, like when someone pours coffee out of the pot into a cup. I also can't stand the sound of ice rolling around in a cardboard cup, like fast food cups. Drives me nuts.

Now, I don't always notice these sounds - but if it is quiet, like in a movie theater, and someone is shaking the ice in their cup (my husband), then I want to rip off my irritated skin, jump up on my chair, and scream, "STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT! YOU ARE RUINING THIS MOVIE FOR ME! STOP. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT.!" That's not crazy, right?

My ideal job is in a library. Not just because I love literature and reading and libraries and bookstores are like my church, but because it is quiet. I live in a small house with two little boys and a very lively husband. There is a lot of hoopla going on in my house at all times and I am not a "hoopla" kind of gal. Chaos stresses me out and that is basically all my house is - just one rectangle of chaos. With siding.

I told my husband that I want to work in a library when the boys go to school and he said, "A library? Why? That would be so boring! It is soooooo quiet!" As soon as the word "quiet" fell from his lips, our 3 yr old ran through the kitchen trying to hit our dog with a light saber and our 1 yr old started crying because he got knocked over. And I said, "Exactly. It's quiet."

So, all this makes me wonder. How much of Max's sensory issues are an actual disorder and how much are just genetics? Or maybe I have a disorder? Actually, me having a disorder is pretty possible. It would explain a lot.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yesterday's Wordless Wednesday

So, okay, okay. I can't seem to get my not-so Wordless Wednesday posts up on an actual Wednesday, but I still have really cute pictures to share of my really cute family and my semi-cute dog. He would be a lot cuter if he didn't smell so bad. And if he didn't drink so much water and then vomit it all up on the carpet. I mean, come on. Know your limits.

Here we go:

Pig Sooie! Happy Hog fan!

My boys watching football while I did something else. Far, far away

Well, not too far away. I did take this picture.

Look at Steve and Max tilting their heads in the same direction. Those two are made from the same mold. Pretty precious.

Meeko wearing a t-shirt because his psychotic brain makes him scratch off his fur and leave it on my carpet.

The boys watching cartoons on the floor with all their blankets and all of the pillows off of all the beds in the house. Cozy! It was adorable for the 30 seconds that it lasted.

And, this is what happens when your 1-yr old refuses to take a nap all day - he falls asleep during dinner while eating his green beans and macaroni. And then wakes up in his crib 45 minutes later, crying and hungry, so you feed him a second time and then he doesn't fall asleep again until 10 pm.

And that was our week in pictures!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What is that white stuff around your mouth, son?

So, a couple of evenings ago, my husband was outside with our 3 yr old son, Max, swinging in the backyard, while I was inside with our 1 yr old, Harry. Harry was behind me, playing with toys, while I sat at the computer and checked my email. I had just changed his diaper on the floor and now, he was playing with his cars. I was also in the middle of cooking dinner at the time and might have been a teensy bit distracted. Ahem.

When I stood up from my chair to check on dinner, Harry looked up at me from the floor with a huge grin on his face. A huge, white, grin. Something white was all over his mouth. I freaked out because I thought he had thrown up again (he had just gotten over a stomach bug a few days earlier).

"Oh no! Poor baby!", I said. And then I looked a little closer, looked at what was in his hand, realized it wasn't vomit, and then yelled, "What the? What is that? Oh no!"

It was Desitin. He had been sitting on the floor sucking on an open tube of Desitin. I had forgotten to put the lid back on when I changed his diaper. Yipes! Desitin was all over him, his mouth, his tongue, the carpet, the ottoman, his blanket.

I freaked out again, looked at the ingredients, called my husband from outside, looked for the number to poison control, and then decided to Google "my baby ate Desitin" quickly. I mean, this is what we do these days - we Google before we call poison control.

Afterwards, I felt waaaaay better. Apparently, kids eat Desitin all the time. Tons of blogs and forums popped up on the screen with moms talking about how their toddler sucked up half a tube of Desitin, then the moms freaked out, called poison control, and the experts said not to worry about it - to just observe their child overnight.

So, that is exactly what we did. Like hawks. And Harry was fine. I don't think he ate much of the cream, but still, I was slightly panicked. My husband said not to worry about it because "they" wouldn't make a toxic product for babies because babies put everything in their mouths. True. My husband is usually the voice of reason when it comes to our kids and their health. I tend to panic. Just a little.

Harry had his one year well-child check-up on Tuesday morning and everything was fine. No Desitin poisoning. He is now 23 pounds - we thought he would weigh more than that because the child is ALWAYS hungry. I'm not complaining - it is a relief to have at least one of my children like to eat. We still have to bribe Max to eat.

Harry got one vaccine - we only allow our kids to get one at a time, every few months, since Max has had bad reactions to vaccines - and Harry handled it like a champ.

The doc said he is no longer anemic, so we get to take him off formula and give him whole milk.

Yay! And yet, not so yay.

We, unfortunately, weren't able to establish a good night night routine with Harry because Max was so young when he was born. I wasn't able to leave Max alone for very long to read and sing to Harry like I did with Max. So, Harry's bedtime routine was a bottle.

And now, as of yesterday, we have said bye bye to the bottle and Harry isn't handling it so well. He cried himself to sleep everytime I put him down yesterday, and he cried again today. I have started a bedtime routine with him of books and songs, but it will take time for him to get used to it.

We took his pacifier away over a month ago and I don't think he even noticed. But, taking away his bottle has been like taking away my sweat pants. Or my husband's bedtime bowl of cereal. Devastating.

Wish us luck.

Here is Harry with his new sippy cup:

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Harry, Meeko and their ouchie tummies

So, really, Meeko's gas. I don't know what is up with his stomach, but it's killing me. He sleeps in our bedroom at night and now our room needs to be fumigated. Our dog's flatulence is poison and I think it gave me a disease last night. His gas is physically hurting me.

Here he is wreaking typical havoc in the snow. He looks like he's going to college.

That dog drives me crazy. He has to wear this sweater 24 hours a day now because he has a behavioral scratching problem and he scratches all his fur off. He clearly has some mental issues.

Let's move on.

Poor Harry is sick again. My sweet baby boy. He woke up crying last night around 1 am and I couldn't get him to calm down no matter what I did. He eventually woke my husband up, too, and he thought it might be teething pain, so he gave Harry Tylenol, which only made Harry scream louder. When I couldn't handle the screaming in my ear anymore, I passed him to Steve, to which Harry responded by throwing up all over my husband. And then he did it a second time.

While Steve was cleaning himself and the floor up, I held Harry again and about 10 minutes later, he threw up all over me.

It was HEARTBREAKING (and stinky)!! Harry is so sweet and precious and I don't know why he is sick so often. It isn't fair. Is his immune system really this bad? We try to keep his system boosted with vitamins and minerals, but he still gets sick all the time.

He is only 12 months old and so far he has had more sinus and ear infections than I can count, he had tubes put in his ears, he is borderline anemic, he has been on 7 rounds of antibiotics, he gets diaper rash in two seconds, he has allergic reactions to mosquito bites where the bites look like GIANT blisters that eventually pop and are painful, and the doctor told us that he has asthma. And I'm sure I am forgetting something.

I don't understand. Our 3 yr old son has only been really sick twice that I can think of, thank goodness, but it is just crazy how two children from the same parents, living in the same household, can have such different immune responses. The only thing I did differently in my pregnancies was I ate gluten free while pregnant with Harry because I found out I had celiac disease after Max was born. Could my diet have had something to do with it? Or is it just genetics?



with a little of Max thrown in.