I have to laugh. I just have to. Ben and I just drove up to Fort Wayne to the Center today only to find that they were CLOSED for Thanksgiving. The program director met us at the door and graciously agreed to coach Ben for a session since we had made the trip up, but OH MY STARS!!! I just drove to Fort Wayne for NO REASON. Great. Good job, Krista.
The update I wanted to type was about settling into our new, crazy normal so maybe this is appropriate. Our new crazy normal is us totally losing it when we least expect it. For reals. On the days that I think things are well in hand, Ben eats food he shouldn't, Emily leaves a trail of yellow goo all over the house, Laura puts her foot down about something ridiculous, and Caleb despairs when he realizes that this will forever be his circus and these siblings really are his monkeys. The wheels fall off the wagon, and we reevaluate whether or not we really ever cared about taking that wagon anywhere. I mean... how important is it to squeeze in that dentist appointment?? (For the record, Yes, I did finally get to the dentist yesterday for the first time this year. Thanks a lot, Emily, for being born two days before my last appointment. I like you more than I like going to the dentist anyways.)
Life with Ben is definitely two steps forward, one step back. I was just talking to our helper Kaitlyn last night, asking how she thinks Ben is doing. Just by coming to our house a few times a week (and not living here :-)), she sees behavior slumps and victories even more clearly than David and I do. She said that at dinner he wanted seconds and had to wait until she was done feeding Emily, and he did so patiently. In the past, Ben would have whined or just asked repeatedly until you took care of him. And I'm talking REPEATING THE SAME REQUEST over and over and over, getting louder and louder and louder, until you gave him what he wanted. Looking back, I realized that we have seen a lot of improvement in Ben's ability to delay gratification. He can wait for dessert after dinner, and he's also been amazingly good at waiting to spend his one hour of screen time for a family movie a few evenings. No tantrums about no computer games. Amazing.
Ben also maintains a calmer spirit in the evenings. Normally by 6 p.m., he's very unstable. He might be happy through all of our evening's activities, but he is much more likely to pitch a fit when things don't go exactly how he wants them to. For the past week, Ben has either played Legos quietly with his brother, watched a t.v. show with the family, had a friendly wrestling match with his brother, or read books. No tantrums. No screaming. Praise the Lord. Seriously. To God be the glory.
Also, during quiet time in the afternoon, Ben often struggles to power down, to stay in his room, and to read quietly. He makes a ridiculous number of trips to the bathroom, and I can often hear him scratching the wall or playing with things. Yesterday, he stayed in his room for TWO HOURS, reading quietly and resting. Never got up. Never came to ask me, "How much longer?" Amazing.
Things aren't perfect, and we still have a long way to go. Ben has some basic self-help skills that are better but still far below age-appropriate. He has gotten better about chewing his hands and some of his ticks, but we still see those when he is tired or distracted. Also, Ben hates doing some of the exercises. I don't blame him. Some of them are challenging for me too, and those are definitely the hardest parts of the day for David and I as parents. Trying to keep it fun. Trying to stay patient. Trying not to lose it when Ben tries to whine his way out of doing his eye exercises or sit ups. Our workouts always end with smiles but almost also begin with dragging feet and tears.
So for those of you who are still praying... Would you lift up our daily exercises? We're praying that Ben would cooperate more as he feels himself getting stronger. Also, thank you for continuing in prayer for our whole family. We rise with a strength that we know comes from the Lord, and we rest with peace, knowing that our family is doing exactly what we should be doing no matter how challenging it is in this season.
Just so you don't think we are only paying attention to Ben (and for those who are connected to our whole family), I thought you'd want to know that Emily learned to crawl this week! Look out world! We are so grateful for this precious, smiley girl. She truly makes everything so much better in our home. How did we live without her? I am unbelievably grateful for the children God has placed in our home. Each and every one of them was created specially by God to be a part of our family and watching them grow is a richer journey than I would ever have imagined.
May God bless each of your homes tomorrow with thankful hearts as we celebrate the rich gifts He has given us. Salvation. Sonship. Friendship with Him. How could it be???
And, despite all the crazy, we ARE doing well because we have Christ, and He is always, always enough.