Between our two kids we've got apraxia of speech, sensory issues and attention deficit disorder with a side of anxiety, compulsive behaviors and, depending on the week, tics. Things may be complicated in our house but, hey, at least they're unpredictable.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lessons From the Good Book

M. attends Hebrew school on Tuesday afternoons. Like most fourth graders—this former kid included—he would rather not.

It’s hard enough for some kids (read: boys) to get through a seven-hour school day without tacking on another hour and a half of classroom time, even if it is only once a week. It’s even harder for kids with attentional and anxiety disorders; they’re working pretty hard to keep their act together and at some point, it has to come out. There are times we haven’t even left the school parking lot before M. is falling apart.

When I picked him up at school today he very calmly said that he didn’t want to go to Hebrew school. I asked why he felt that way and he didn’t have much of an answer other than, “I just want to go home and relax.” He actually confessed that he could go—meaning, he wouldn’t freak out on the way there and throw his shoes at my head while I was driving—but I wasn’t sure I should force him. The past few days had been extremely rough and my primary goal had become to keep M. calm. I didn’t want to push my luck, so I drove home.

M. went into the kitchen and found on the table some books we had bought for his teachers at the school book fair. He picked up Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, looked it over, and took a seat at the table. He started reading. You have to understand that this is unusual; although M. has many books and enjoys reading, it’s not something he’ll voluntarily do during the day. So he kept reading and I kept my mouth shut. I knew a good thing when I saw it.

I decided to pick up a magazine and join him at the table. I thought if I modeled back the behavior, he would read for a longer period of time. It felt as though I was in my own version of Gorillas in the Mist; except it wasn’t the mountain gorillas of the Rwandan jungle I was trying to blend in with and understand.

After a while, M. asked me to read to him, which I did. In total, he spent about an hour happily—and calmly—reading.

Given how challenging M. has been of late, and how chaotic our household has become, this moment of normalcy was priceless. When you live with a child whose mood—and aggression—flips quickly and unpredictably…these moments are, well… a blessing.

And a far more powerful one than any he might have learned at Hebrew school.


At 3:24 AM, December 22, 2008, Blogger MMrussianadoption said...

Glad you at least had 1 hour of peace.

At 2:47 PM, February 14, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, Debbie...if i don't use the right grammar and punct. it's because i'm feeling kind of tired right now. This is 2-14-09 and my husband and I are working to clear water out of our son's "room". We are temporarily living in the lower part of our house, under construction. Anyway, I read what you said about post traumatic syndrome, and thougth, "Yeah, that's me. And my husband. And my 20 year old daughter currently flakihng out in college. If you are interested in our special needs world of alternating torment and repreives of wonderful calm, PLEASE email me: We live north of Anchorage, Alaska, by the way. I would love to keep in touch with another mom who has been going through the same emotional and mental storm.
Take care (of yourself) It's Valentine's Day for goodness sake. Don't we deserve a bubble bath, a box of chocolate covered cherries (all our own) and the sweet knowledge our son is elsewhere with someone we trust...

At 1:54 PM, February 23, 2009, Blogger LadyHatch said...

This is my second time visiting this site. I have to say it is very interesting but also good to see another parent who child has apraxia. I started my own blog (cars) it doesn't have to do with this but one thing i learned is to make sure you make time for your self. No child needs mommy irritable. LOL. But it gets better and you are not alone. Fell free to leave me post or comments. And thanks for the blog, it was actually the first site I cam across when i found out my son was diagnosed. So thanks I didn't know anything about it until I was reading.

At 12:10 PM, May 12, 2009, Blogger Zachery&Allie*Mommy said...

My name is Candi I know how it is to have two speical needs children. I have two also my son is 4 and my suprise daughter is 3 they both have Down Syndrome and Cri du Chat challenging they neither walk or talk they both have feeding tubes and my son has a trachostomy. They keep me busy busy but they are my world!!

At 5:19 PM, May 28, 2009, Anonymous Look At Charles said...

It's amazing to find so many blog with parents dealing with children with special needs. It is a tough job. May you continue to have the strength and patience needed for your everyday challenges.


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