Sunday, December 13, 2009
A new day dawns
Being the parent of a special needs child brings with it struggles that few people see. My sweet Cooper is wired in a very different way than one would consider "normal". As we have learned more about him and as I have posted some on him in the past- he struggles from not only ADHD but also a condition called Sensory Integration Disorder. Basically it means that the imput his brain receives from the five senses do not necessarily go to the right place in his brain and get jumbled up and confused sometimes. He describes sounds of clothes-like if a shirt is rough and not soft he might say it is crunchy- this by the way is why you will never see him in a button down polo type long sleeve shirt with out a cotton shirt underneath (that is if he wears it at all). For a long time when he was younger he would only wear sweat pants-last summer he refused to wear shorts- he would only wear jeans. There is no accounting for how he will be as the day starts, but we do know that the more routine everything is the better and more organized his senses are. Structure and routine play a massive role in his life because he knows what to expect and he doesn't have to try and "change" those expectations because that requires all 5 senses to rearrange themselves. It is like putting a cup up to your mouth thinking you are about to take a sip of an ice cold freshly poured coke and instead getting a sip of luke warm water. Our mouths are shocked as are our senses and we may make a face and think- ooh that wasn't what I thought it was going to be but then it is over. For Cooper- not only is it not what he thought it would be but now he doesn't know what to do with that imput. He hasn't matured enough to find the coping mechanisms to help him work through his disappointed expectations and so he freaks out on the inside and often on the outside. We learned of Cooper's condition when he was just turning 4 and have made massive strides with him learning to cope through Occupational Therapy with follow up at home. He likes spinning and swinging and crashing into things because it gives his body a sense of organization- unlike our bodies that it would throw out of wack. Well, I say unlike ours except for I am wired in a very similar way- but I learned coping mechanisms to self soothe as I was growing up and now, I wiggle, or I ask Jeff to squeeze my feet or shoulders or beat on the middle of my back or whatever I feel I need to make me feel better- It feels like my skin is crawling when my senses are messed up and I am sure if it bugs me that Cooper being young feels it 10 fold. He will learn to cope but in the meantime, teaching him what to do, giving him words to say what he is struggling with or how he is feeling help. This past Saturday we left all 4 kids with our friend Doug so that we could do our "shopping"! Cooper has what we refer to as "one of those" days! It was the first in a very long time and boy was it a bad one. He had multiple meltdowns, was defiant, angry, loud, mean- everything. Doug was amazing! Jeff and I hurt for Cooper, for Doug and for the other kids. I don't think in all the time we've known about Cooper that he has ever been as bad as he was on Saturday and our sweet friend Doug just hung right with him! I called several times to check on him and Doug did have to call me twice (I think)- But God bless him- he was awesome! As I was holding Cooper and squeezing his feet while stroking his hair last night before he fell asleep- I asked him what I could do to help- He said, "mom, I had a really bad day today" "I hope Doug doesn't hate me"- "I'm sorry"- I love that his heart is made of gold and I can't wait for him to mature in this area- and he will. But, for now those days are some of the toughest we have. I know that God gave Cooper to me - I know he planned for me to be Cooper's mommy. I know I can feel how Cooper feels because I have been there. I looked forward to a new day dawning for him today knowing it would be sooo much better. And it has been- not one meltdown. He has be obedient, kind, sweet, sharing, loving- he has been amazing today. And I am thankful for days like this especially after days like yesterday. I am thankful for the days that are filled with moments of him learning how to use his coping skills that he has learned and days that his joy overflows instead of his frustration. I am thankful for friends like Doug who can see past Cooper's struggles and love him like crazy- I mean what babysitter after having such a rough time would stay another hour or so after just to talk and visit and still play with Cooper. I am thankful that God is in control and speaking loudly through others, through books, through the Bible to guide me ( and Jeff) as we parent Cooper! I am thankful for my "blog" so that I can confess what is bogging down my thoughts while at the same time allowing others who might have struggles to see that they are not alone. Today a new day dawned- with sunshine instead of rain, with warm instead of cool temps, and with a sweet precious little boy who feels balanced instead of one who can't make sense out of anything and is feeling out of control! I love new days like this as it reminds me of how God is with us each and ever time we ask for forgiveness. We feel or get "out of control" and our Father cleanses us and our new day dawns not once but continuously! Praise God!!!