Friday, August 30, 2013

My Love - Hate Relationship With Leg Braces

My Love - Hate Relationship With Leg Braces
Justin in 2001
Justin didn't really walk until he was three and has worn some type of foot or leg support since he was a couple of years old.  He began with shoe insets, then went to ankle braces.  After that came the braces which came  up to his knees which he wore until he was eleven, and for over a year now he is back in ankle braces.  I had the love-hate relationship with the ones which came up to his knees.  

I especially hated them during the summer months.  I loved the fact they helped him walk better, but people would stare because they were more noticeable when he wore shorts.  These braces were  made of plastic and made his legs hot.  When I took them off in the evenings, his socks would be wet with sweat.  His shoes also had to be several sizes larger than he normally wore and this made he look like he had clown feet; especially when he picked out bold, multi-colored shoes.

Sometimes I wonder why I hated those braces so much when the only time Justin really complained was when they hurt his feet.  Why couldn't I just be happy he was able to walk better when he wore them?  Maybe they were a constant reminder of Justin's daily struggle to just get from point A to point B without falling.  Maybe it was because it pointed out to people Justin was "different".  Then again, maybe it was a guilt I felt because I couldn't fix it for him.

I know this daily issue is part of what makes Justin who he is and I know I am doing all I can to ensure he progresses as much as possible, but I can still close my eyes and see him walking without dragging his right foot or holding onto my arm to keep his balance.  I then realize this will one day be a reality for him.  Maybe not here on earth in this flesh body which will always be riddled with problems, but he will have a perfect body when he makes it to Heaven.  I pray he will be here on earth for many more years to come, but I also rejoice in the knowledge that one day he will be made whole.

Thanks for "walking" down memory lane with me,
Angela :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Growing Up Is Hard To Do

Growing Up Is Hard To Do
Boys at the State Fair in Oct 2012

The hustle and bustle of a new school year has begun and I am left wondering where the summer went.  Since both the boys are at the high school now, I am really left wondering where the time with them as children has gone.  I realize they have grown up way too fast as my mind wonders back to their first day in kindergarten.

Justin was too medically fragile to attend school to begin with, so we started out his education with teachers and therapists coming to the house, but the day did arise when I had to take him to school.  I thought it would be a tough transition for him since he hadn't been in school before, but the fact of the matter was it was tougher on me.  I remember walking him to his classroom and he clumsily ran off to play with his classmates.  No hug... no kiss... just the slam of the door in my face.  I must have stood looking through the window too long because the teacher came to the door and reassured me Justin would be fine. 

I then drift back in time to Joshua's first day of kindergarten.  The boys went to school on the first day; the girls on the second and both boys and girls came together on the third day.  I thought the transition for him would be easy, but was I ever wrong.  I literally dragged him across the school parking lot and to his classroom where he sobbed and clung to me.  He was ok going back on the third day until "the girls" started walking through the door.  "But mommy, there's girls."  He whispered in my ear.  I pulled him close and said, "Well, mommy's a girl."  Then with a bewildered look on his face, he replied "No you're not.  You're mommy!" 

I was brought back to reality when both boys got out of the car to go to class.  No they aren't the same little boys I remember dropping off at kindergarten, but then they aren't supposed to be.  They are supposed to grow and become more independent.  Even though they still have alot of growing up to do, I can look at them and see who they are becoming and this makes me such a proud mommy.

Trying to see them for the young men they are becoming instead of the child I remember.
Thanks for reading,
Angela :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Making Sense Out Of Sensory Issues

Justin at therapy in 2004
 I understand that Sensory Processing Disorder occurs when the brain doesn't receive and interpret signals from our senses correctly, but I still have problems making  "sense" of Justin's sensory problems.  My mind just can't grasp how in some ways he can get overstimulated, but then understimulated in other ways.  For the parents of children with these issues, I am sure you know what I'm talking about.  We spend many hours trying to figure out what sets them off and then we spend many more hours searching for a solution. 

One of Justin's biggest daily struggles stemmed from combing his hair so I reevaluated the situation.  I like Justin to have a little bit of hair to comb and style, but asked myself if it was really worth the daily fight and my answer was no.  So my dad and I have worked with him to be able to use clippers on his hair and keep it short.  It has certainly made for a less stressful morning for both Justin and I when he can get up in the morning and not have to worry about his hair.

I've also noticed Justin would have issues in crowded, noisy or new environments and when he was younger, he would have a total meltdown.  I'm talking about hands over the ears, slumping to the ground as if all energy had left his body and screaming to the top of his lungs.  Several times I've had to scoop him up in my arms and leave.  Of course I would hear the occasional "All that boy needs is a good spanking to straighten him out."  I would feel the tears well up in my eyes and I wanted to turn around and give them a piece of my mind, but the mother in me made me focus on my son.  To deal with this issue better I do two things; one is I make sure he has fidgeters on a lanyard around his neck and the second thing is I use music therapy.  These things being put into place hasn't eliminated his issues in different environments, but it has made things less stressful for him.  It has been years since he has had a total meltdown.

I could go on and on about his sensory issues, but the point I'm trying to make is that we just take it one step at a time.  If something doesn't work, well then we try something else.  Just keep in mind, even though we may not totally understand what our kids are going through, we can still work hard at making their world a little less stressful which in turn makes our world a little more peaceful.

Wishing you all an evening of peace,
Angela :)