Summer Update

School is done, Jonathan’s first (but really seventh) ‘real’ birthday party was a smashing success, the weather got H.O.T. (at least for a couple of weeks) and new routines (including Gord working nights and Saturdays for the first time ever. Hello big change) have been settled into.

We are wrapping up our second week of summer camp (it’s a camp for kids with special needs and today when I picked Jonathan up today a counselor told me “Out of all the campers I’ve ever seen here, I’ve never seen one that has as much energy as Jonathan.” ….as he ran full tilt past us, after a day of rock climbing and swimming, pulling a grown up in a wagon while making fire truck noises. Yep, that’s my boy!) Needless to say he is loving camp.

Next week Jonathan and I are off to Vancouver to visit my sister and her family as well as some friends and Anthony is off to Edmonton to stay with his Uncle for a week. I guess Gord gets a quiet house for a week!

It has been busy and chaotic and full of change but everyone is happy and enjoying summer:)

 

Burnout

I’m almost there. That icky burnout place. I can feel the exhaustion in my body; it’s feeling worn down, my stomach is doing weird things, my skin is getting little patchy red spots like it does when I’m stressed and no matter how much sleep I get I want more.

My mind is so full of todos and havetos that it only runs through boring lists endlessly and on repeat and it is so caught up in itself and all that needs to be done that it has been hard to focus on other people or things that matter or have an original thought or intelligent conversation. And I listen, but I’m not really listening to others when they talk to me because there is no brain power left to give them after my brain cycles through the endless todos.

I can feel the burnout coming and I know that it’s time to slow it all down, take a step back and do some reorganizing in my head and taking care of my body. It is not one thing that is making me feel like I’m on the road to burnout out, it’s been building since January – both personally and at work. A lot of lovely good things have been happening, but a lot of hard, challenging, intense things too. And that’s life, but I need a break. And I’m so happy I’m old enough, and been through it enough, to now recognize it before it gets to too far gone. There is no guilt, no shame, no anything attached to saying ‘whoa, get me off the crazy train for a few days’ anymore. It is what it is and it’s what needs to be done. I need to jump off the train for a bit. I feel lucky to be able to have learnt that lesson and I hope that everyone does too.

And the time to jump is coming very soon! I have a vacation time coming up from work that includes a trip away with Gord (first trip away from Jonathan for FOUR nights!) as well as a few days just at home. Away from work. Away from everybody. Except for me.

Some people need other people to charge their batteries. I need alone. And quiet. And puttering. Nothing I like more than a good couple days of this and that. Preferably with some sunshine, naps and junk food thrown in the mix for good measure. Alone. Did I mention I like to be alone? Me. All by myself. Shhhhhhhh…

As adopters we all know the importance of a break and self-care, although it’s not always possible to get away or take a break or recharge when it’s needed. And that’s only if you recognize that you do need it. I hope everyone can take a minute to themselves and check in to see where they are at. And if you need a break, short or long, that you somehow, someway make that happen.

For heavens sake people take care of yourself!

 

 

Rock and Roll

Current things I’m loving about Jonathan:

On the swing going really high he says “mummy my tummy is laughing!”

The way he’s learning to fill other people’s buckets. Genuinely wanting and trying to fill them.

We have a thing: The ASL sign for “forever” is close to the “rock and roll” hand. My brain got all mixed  up one night so now instead of saying/signing “I love you (or you stay here) FOREVER!!!” (something we say often) we say/sign “I love you FOREVER….rock and roll!” A little hair shakin’ also helps get the effect.

How proud and excited he is to tell me when I pick him up after school that he’s had a ‘green’ day (green is the best kind of day).

How he likes to sit and watch movies now and can usually watch a whole one if he can wiggle about a bit and chew something.

How he’s generally a pretty darn helpful and happy guy when it comes to everyday tasks.

He writes all the words he know all the time. All 6 of them. And he’s so proud of himself. (And he has 15 sight words he now knows! I love watching him learn to read, there is something magically about it).

When it’s just the two of us at the table eating he automatically starts signing and talks way less. It’s another one of our things.

How he finds words everywhere and if he knows the words he gets really excited

When I tell him “stop growing!” and he tells me he has to grow up so he can go meet Paw Patrol.

That at school another student was upset and he sat with her and rubbed her back telling her it was ok and showed real and true empathy for no other reason except it was a nice thing to do FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!

How he always wants to help and learn, learn learn learn…he recently learned how to clean a toilet and make a sandwich and crack eggs like a pro. Not too shabby for 6!

How he loves the kitties as much as I do.

How he told me he wanted to try by himself to wash up in the shower and he was so proud when he did it and I told him he did great.

How when I cleaned out his room yesterday and gave him some choices (and some not) of what to keep he was almost ok with it and let some things go (victory!!!).

That he was as excited as I was that he now has TWO new babysitters:)

Not So Little Anymore

The few weeks I’ve been noticing how Jonathan isn’t so little anymore.

He has grown up in so many ways in the two years since he came to us. His chubby cheeks have disappeared, he’s taller, he’s so heavy I can barely lift him (but I still do because I love it:)  He’s also calmer (that could be a combo mix of meds and maturity…?) and overall happier. He listens so much more, he’s less aggressive, and more independent, although he’ll still ask for help with things I know he can do but he just wants my attention and I’m mostly happy to give it.

His speech, oh my word his speech. I’ve spent a lot of time lately watching videos of him two years ago and ones of him recently. In the videos he’s singing or telling a story and 2 years ago it was incomprehensible, if you weren’t there you wouldn’t know what he was talking about. I remember having to interpret constantly for friends what he was saying. Now, that doesn’t happen. You can understand 90% of what he is saying.

The other night while tucking him into bed he said to me “mummy, why did i scratch you?” First, where the heck did that come from? And second, the last time he got to the point of restraining and he scratched me was 7 months ago. So much growth in so many ways.

These past couple weeks there’s a tiny voice that says “maybe we could do it again…” But I think that’s more the missing the preschool years (my favourite) and reflecting on how far he’s come, how far we’ve all come. But I know we won’t adopt again, it’s a looong hard journey that is not in our cards. For now I will just try to enjoy this new phase and period of relative calmness, and workout harder so I can pick him up a little bit longer:)

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(Fall 2012 and Fall 2014 – where did my little chubby cheeked boy go?!)

Saying Yes

At the beginning of this year I challenged myself to do hard things and do things that scared me. Things that would make me grow. Sometimes in exciting ways and sometimes in terribly uncomfortable ways, like a bad pair of underwear.

It started with a word and turned into a phrase that stares at me everyday at work and home. It goes like this.

My word: Challenge
Be more vulnerable than ever before. Be more compassionate than ever before. Be more challenged than ever before. Be more courageous than ever before. Be more confident than ever before.

And I’ve been doing it.

I’ve been very mindful trying to be more compassionate towards people who I have very little patience for. I spoke at a conference. I’ve been on tv. I’ve written an article and got it published (in several places!). I’ve said yes to offering training to my agency on an ongoing basis on service delivery as well as putting together a 3 hour workshop on disability awareness this fall.

All of those things scared the crap out of me (ok, being compassionate doesn’t scare me but it is holy-freakin-hard sometimes), but I did it. I’m doing it.

A few years ago I couldn’t speak up in a room full of more than 5 people. A few years ago I could not lead a team of 9 staff in a very successful program. Last year I would have been scared to have certain conversations. Last week I would never have worn this: IMG_20140710_194938(I know it looks like an ordinary dress, but it’s not something I would normally wear; It’s short, thin and feels little. I felt very self-conscious in it and naked for the majority of the day, but I did it. And I just might even do it again). And no, I don’t make my bed).

Last year I would not have said yes.
I cannot lie, the anti anxiety medication helps. But that’s only a piece of it.

Things still scare me, a lot of things still scare me. But the more I say yes to things that scare me, even if they suck in the end and I promise myself I will never ever ever do it again even if reward myself with a giant Starbucks for being so brave, the more confidence I get to say yes to other things that scare me and that sometimes, sometimes, turn out to not suck and are actually kind of fun.

And let’s face it, I don’t need a reason to buy myself a giant Starbucks but I’m a simple gal motivated by simple things and I’ll trick myself into believing whatever helps get me through being vulnerable and being courageous and any other challenges I take on this year.

What are you going to say yes to?

 

 

Relax

I’m sitting in the sun room listening to the rain and sipping my tea. The day has been relaxed and easy and I’ve even had the patients to laugh and be silly and have a spontaneous dance party when we should have been getting ready for bed.

I’m on vacation. And I wish I could feel like this all the time.

I wish I could always move at a regular pace instead of always feeling like I need to be in fast mode. I wish I could be relaxed enough to think clearly about behaviours with Jonathan so that I can more often choose the better way to respond. I wish I could always be in casual mode so that scrubbing off the dusty grease from the oven hood wouldn’t be a job that sends me off the roof but instead gets a shoulder shrug and a meh. I wish I could have more fun and enjoy the everyday things instead of seeing them as work and one more thing to check off my list.

The only difference between today (and other times I’ve felt like this) is that it happens on days when I don’t work.

I love my job, I can’t imagine how much more un-relaxed I would feel if I didn’t, but apparently it sucks the fun out of me. At the end of the day I don’t have the energy and time and patience that is required to have fun where it counts the most and with the people who count the most.

Or, at least I think I don’t.

I need a way to find a better balance. I need a way to give less (this is coming out all wrong but my brain is so relaxed I can’t find words) at work and give more at home. To have more dance parties and not want to cry because the frickin’ base boards are disgusting (again) and I can’t handle one more thing on my list.

There is a way to do this, there must be. I just haven’t found it yet.

Spring(?) Update

I haven’t been writing lately, and I’m missing it. There are many thoughts spiraling through my brain but due to lack of somethingorother and busyness I seem to always fail at sitting and sorting through them. Instead, a much easier thing to do is write a simple update.

Things have been up and down and sideways around here lately; Gord finished his masters and got a new job, I’ve been working a lot, Jonathan has been having extremely good days and extremely bad days, and Anthony, well, he has been evensteven slowandsteady; the only consistent and steady one in this house as of late! Thank goodness for Anthony’s.

The weather had been terrible, we have yet to really get outside and do much except a quick tidy, pulled out the patio furniture, sans cushions, and as we speak it’s snowing. Again. And is supposed to continue all weekend.

Jonathan’s first trial of meds didn’t do go great. He seemed agitated and more aggressive while taking it. Although he could focus a bit better, he wasn’t as happy and we didn’t like it.  When the trial was finished the doctor increased the dosage (by having the nurse call us with a new prescription) and we disagreed. We have yet to see or talk to the doctor as it’s next to impossible to get an appointment, and so his little body continues to run on overdrive

We are trying a new program – Zones of Regulation. It’s often used at work with many of the families I work with, but it was actually the school who mentioned it and I jumped right on board with them. I’m happy to see them trying to help him in more ways than just learning ABC’s.
Also, Jonathan recently started going to school for full mornings – only eight and half months behind the other kids but we made it there:) He seems to be coping just as well as he was with shorter days and we are excited he can be a part of the whole class now.

I don’t know what it is with May – last year my dad came to visit and meet Jonathan for the first time in May, Gord went away for school for two weeks in May and my Nana came to meet Jonathan for the first time – in May.
This May is also proving to be a bit of a nuthouse: Next week I am away for 3 days for work (to present at my first conference – yikes!) and then Gord is away for 2 days for work. The following week my bestest and oldest friend Christine is coming to visit from Australia and after a few short days with her I’m off again for 3 days for another work thingymabob. Then one of my great friends is due to have her 2nd baby at the end of the month. There’s also a slew of birthdays, school planning/transitioning to grade one meetings, and I’m sure many other things that are escaping my overloaded brain at the moment.

Nuts, I tell you, nuts.

I’m off to Google how to cook a duck, as there is a frozen one defrosting in my fridge right now. Because May is kinda crazy like that.