When I got up this morning, I was nervous, brain buzzing with all the details to keep track of and ears already filled with the shrieking of children awake long before they should be. Ben was pumped. We've been talking up this therapy as "school" for him so there he was with his backpack ready, lunchbox waiting, and a big smile on his face. His excitement was contagious, but I was a little concerned he might be spreading something else. He came into my bathroom this morning covered in a rash from head to toe. Yep.
So in order to make sure he wouldn't be infecting people across county lines, I played "Can You Be the First One to Call the Doctor to Get the Early Appointment?" By the grace of God, I won. And I decided to take Ben's baby sister with us. Poor baby Emily has been tugging at her ears, and I suspected that we were once again visited by the ear infection fairy. This particular pixie loves our house and really likes hanging out with any of my children under the age of three who do not already have tubes in their ears.
God bless our practitioner. She saw our crazy, prescribed antibiotics, skin cream, anti-itch meds, and...here's the big payoff... our Brain Balance therapy! I'm pumped. Insurance will not cover Brain Balance because they do not provide a medical diagnosis, but the doctor's scrip allows us to use our health savings account to pay for this six-month opportunity. This is HUGE! As exhausting as it was to squeeze in one more thing today, it was a blessing to talk face-to face with our doctor about the center and to have her okay.
And we made it through in time to get to our first day of therapy! Thanks to Papa (my dad) rushing over to my house, we were able to get to the doctor, pop over at a specialist's office to make an appointment, run back home to drop off Emily, and grab lunches (Ben's in a cool Cardinals lunchbox, mine on a less-than-cool plate), and hit the road so we would not be late for Ben's first session today.
I sing the praises of audiobooks. If it weren't for the Boxcar Children, I'm pretty sure my brain would have exploded the first drive to Fort Wayne. As it is, Ben is totally happy to listen to the Boxcar Children solve countless mysteries with their unlimited resources and incredibly good manners. Maybe someday I'll convince him to let me listen to one of my podcasts, but for today we hung out with Henry, Jesse, Violet, and Benny.
Ben was exploding to get into the Center when we parked. I'm talking HE ALMOST SHUT THE DOOR ON MY ARM AS I WAS REACHING FOR MY COFFEE CUP excited. The kid was pumped! And rightly so. His coach for today took him through a series of sensory activities for the first half hour and then worked through several cognitive exercises with him with a positive attitude and clear instructions for the second half. I was seriously impressed as a teacher. The hour seemed to fly by, and as I listened to him working with her, they both seemed to be having a good time. Ben earned six Brain Bucks (money to spend in the "store" at the end of the week) which is the maximum a kid can earn during a session, and he walked out the door reminding the coaches that he would be back to earn the rest of his bucks so he could go to the store on Friday. Pretty sure Ben thinks he owns the place.
Yes, I know this is the honeymoon period, but I also know that lots of experiences in Ben's life haven't had a honeymoon period. He just outright can't handle them. For now, Brain Bucks are incredibly motivating to him, and he feels very successful.
Please don't think I'm crazy, but I want to document changes we are seeing in Ben for our benefit so if it seems too early for results, humor me. Tonight Ben put toothpaste on each of the kids' toothbrushes all by himself. This requires a lot of fine motor skill and initiative that we often don't see in Ben. Dave and I were honestly wowed. Ben also fell right to sleep. We often have him popping out of bed or being super silly at bedtime with Laura. He just has a hard time settling his brain and body. Not tonight. He got up ZERO times. Glory. be. This could also be due to the antihistamines he is taking for his skin, but he HAS been falling asleep more quickly since the evaluation last Wednesday. Oh, and Ben stayed seated for all of dinner. If you think this is a small thing, clearly you haven't eaten at our house recently. All of these things could be by chance... or not.
Next Monday is my parent meeting where they go through the parent binder with me and talk about nutrition, but I already have some warning as to what changes they would like us to make. A key element to Brain Balance is removing dairy (done!), most eggs (done!), processed sugar (workable), and gluten (oh my stars.) as well as avoiding large amounts of soy and corn. So tonight I made a roast with home fries, spinach salad, and apple slices. I have a few more new meals up my sleeve, but Caleb the Carbohydrate Kid pretty much thinks we are trying to kill him via starvation. Time-outs were involved in our supper tonight.
Biggest drawbacks of today: we have killed Mommy. Seriously. I'm sitting in my bed numb. Today was brought to you by a whole lot of Jesus and a grande coffee at 10:45 a.m., but I'm pretty sure the coffee gave out at 8:30 p.m. when I started going postal about messes, dirty laundry, dishes, and lists. Also, my girls. My precious girlies felt today too. Emily wouldn't let me out of her sight all evening without screaming. And Laura started to cry when I was separated from her for TEN MINUTES this afternoon to feed the baby. As amazing as it is to have places and special people for them to play with here, I'm going to need to find ways to incorporate them into our trips so that they get some special mommy time too. We are up for recommendations of fun things to do with toddlers near the Jefferson Blvd. exit.
Biggest bonuses of today: Ben is off to a great start. He is so pumped about his school, and I just feel like the next six months are going to be hard but totally worth it. One of his former therapist called today, and when I mentioned that Ben had started at Brain Balance, she shared that she'd heard great things about it. Phew. Maybe we're not as crazy as we thought. Nevermind. We probably are.
Also, to those of you who have shared the great things you have heard about Brain Balance, THANK YOU! It is amazing to know how many of you already have grandchildren, neighbors, friends, and acquaintances that have had their lives changed for the better through this treatment. Also, to the many people who have written to me on FB, encouraged me at church, texted to remind me that you're praying, or just come up to give me a hug; thanks. I need you. A lot. When the Lord promises that we will have everything we need for life and godliness, I am convinced that the Body of Christ is a huge part of that. So thank you for sharing the grace you've been given.
Well, that's all the brain power I can muster for tonight. Please keep praying with us as the Lord brings us to mind. We love you and are grateful for you.
By His strength and grace, Krista