Thursday, March 30, 2017

rodeo-ing with small children

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo ran for the first few weeks of March so of course we just had to take the girls. Because toddlers (side note - I have an almost 5 year old and 3 year old, can I still call them toddlers?) have a fantastic attitude when it's extremely hot outside, have to walk long distances, and/or ask to ride every ride option in sight only to discover they are still, in fact, too short.

A friend and I took her kids and Camille to the kids carnival portion on a Friday and then we took both girls back Sunday with my sister and her husband.




It is also important to note that on that Friday I thought it best to wear a brand new shirt. I get new clothes approximately never, so as fate would have it, a hungry goat or deer or I don't even know because I have blocked it from my memory, decided to make the back of my shirt lunch. So there I stand in the petting zoo with goat spit up on my backside, and brand new holes in my brand new shirt. #awesome

The corn pit was a sanitary choice. Camille may or may not have cried later in the day due to having corn kernels in her underwear.

Camille was so sweet to care for Clara on a few rides when we visited the rodeo for a second time. She kept reassuring her "It's ok, Car, you can do it, just drive!" I can't say for sure if Clara could even hear the encouragement coming from her sister, but considering the noise would have sent my sensory child into complete meltdown-tailspin, earphones stayed on. :)

This is how we Camille felt after a mere three hours . . .

Until next year . . . :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

When Special Needs Stinks

Special needs parenting is life-giving in so many ways. And I don't just say that because it's the right thing to say. I say it because I truly feel it deep in my bones.

But sometimes special needs parenting just plain stinks.

You see, I am typically a glass is half full kind-of-girl when it comes to special needs, disabilities, and the daily requirements of Clara's care.  Her life looks different, clearly, and her ability to function in certain ways differs drastically from that of her typical sister and peers.

In the everyday I am able to see past all the differences and focus on the beauty that Clara's uniqueness brings to our family.

Her world opens my eyes to what truly matters.

Love, joy, and peace. That about sums it up for Clara. And in turn, these qualities help refocus my heart when I am swayed by all the extra hard things that naturally accompany this journey.

Except yesterday.

Sometimes special needs parenting just plain stinks.

Clara was sent home Monday due to a low fever and irritability. I took her to the pediatrician yesterday to check for an ear infection (my guess) as she had been holding her ears on and off for a few days. This isn't uncommon behavior for her, but typically she only does this when something is too loud or a specific noise is causing her stress.

When the doctor tried to look in her ears, she couldn't see her eardrum. Because there was just too much wax. Which meant in order to fully see her eardrum to check for an infection, we had to first flush her ear out with a saline solution.

This would not be pleasant for any child. Ahem. But add in a language barrier and compromised intellectual ability and man, the unpleasant meter just went up 100 notches.

It took three of us to make it happen.

I had to physically lay by entire body over hers, gripping underneath the table for support. All the while she was crying, screaming, looking deep into my eyes.

All she understood was pain and her mom wasn't making it stop.

Her mom was contributing to the pain.

I texted Brandon the following . . .

Not having fun at the Dr. Probably the hardest moment yet having to hold her down. Had to flush her ear with a saline solution to thus flush the wax out to be able to see eardrum. Also doing a strep test. Not going to lie, this totally stinks.

I have taken Clara to countless doctor appointments, therapy appointments, and the like. And some are really hard. I typically can take it in stride, shake it off, and move on as we drive away. So when Brandon gets a text like this from me, he knows it was a doozie. A worse than normal experience for our little girl.

Body shaking and continuing a quiver-like cry as she grasp for my shoulders, unwilling to let go, it took Clara a solid five minutes to calm down, to settle enough where I could feasibly dress her.

Turns out she doesn't have an ear infection. She has strep.

I am really glad we went through the trouble to flush her ear, but I guess the silver lining here is that her right ear, for now, is wax free?

. . .

Psalm 139 verses 7-12 (MSG) . . .

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? 
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you're there!
If I go underground, you're there!
If I flew on morning's wings
to the far western horizon, 
You'd find me in a minute - 
you're already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, "Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I'm immersed in the light!
It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to you.

So . . .

Even at the doctor's office, you're there!
Even when I feel overwhelmed at the challenges facing my girl, you're there!
Any situation or any circumstance, you're there!
When these mothering moments leave me tired and breathless, you're there!
When the guilt overwhelms, you're there!
Even when I want to throw in the towel and declare you picked the wrong person for this special needs thing, you're there!
When I don't feel the hope, you're there!
When this journey stinks, you're there!
You never change. You're always there.

. . .

She fell asleep approximately two minutes after getting in the car. All that fighting and crying sure wears a girl out.

Clara took a 2.5 hour nap yesterday and little sister enjoyed loving on her and showing some comfort.

This journey is beautiful, but sometimes it stinks.

I'm sure you all can relate in your own way, no?

Thankful for a new day and the promises tucked inside Psalm 139.

Let's focus there today.
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