Friday, August 22, 2008

Life's Lessons

First of all, an update on Mason; He is doing pretty good. He has caught a runny nose and an eye infection that has been going around the family. But, hopefully he can kick it and it won't turn into anything else. I took he and Ammon to the Dr. today to get eye medicine and to make sure nothing else was going on. Thankfully, no strep ( my boys are all very prone to strep, except not Mason yet thank goodness) because it has been going around our extended family. Also, their lungs were clear, so that is great. The other good news is that Mason weighed in at 13lbs 2 oz. Good Job Mason!!

You would all have loved it if I had video taped this trip to the Dr.! Ammon had one nurse just chasing him around the office when it was Mason's turn to be seen by Dr. Knorr (who is also a great Pediatrician, Dr. Whiting's partner, and has been an amazing help through all of our traumas with Mason). Then when it was his turn, 2 nurses had to assist me with Mason who was crying, and Ammon who wouldn't sit still long enough for Dr. Knorr to check him. Then when we were done,to top it off, our Dr. helped me out to my car, fearing Ammon was going to run out in the parking lot without me. Which he would have. Never, have I had such experiences with any 2 of my other kiddos!

So on with my title, Life's Lessons. The other day, after talking with the mom of a girl that I taught fourth grade to (almost 14 years ago and she is now married and teaching 5th grade. Okay, so that dates me! I'm getting old! But it is her first year teaching, and I taught her my first year.) I realized how so many of my experiences in life have prepared me for the challenges I face right now. The year I taught 4th grade I took over for a teacher in November (I was graduating from BYU the next month) that was moving, and I had a very tough group of 30 kids. My plate was very full! All the teachers felt sorry for me, and even this mom (whom I talked) said how unfair the load of challenging kids I had been given. At least 4 of the boys were ADHD, one was very severe. Let's just say, there were a lot of behavior problems in the whole class when I took over. Needless to say my patience and teaching abilities were definitely put to the test. But I did learn how each child learns and responds in his own individual way.

Now, I am not saying my own kids have ADHD, but they sure have an abundant amount of energy, especially Ammon. (If we could bottle up his energy and sell it we would be millionares.) And they are also so individual in how they learn and behave. So now my patience and mothering abilities are still being tested every day. I try my best to tailor my approach with how I deal with each of them to match their personalities. Parenting is tough, but most days I think I've learned to cope better than that "4th grade" year !!

The next year I taught kindergarten at a different school. I had kids from all different cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. (My "life lessons" from my mission in Guatemala, before graduating, prepared me with spanish and patience in communication for this class at least!) Besides more lessons on the individuality of each child, I had 2 kindergartners who prepared me with more specific experiences for challenges I have today. One was a little autistic boy who I grew to love. I enjoyed watching the little successes he made that year in my class. He had the same kind of energy as my Ammon. The other was a little girl who came down with hepatitis, causing kidney failure. She spent a lot of time up at Primary Children's. I remember visiting her up there and wondering how her mom was coping with everything and 2 other children. (Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would some day spend so much time up at Primary's with my own Children. ) I think the most important thing I learned that year was how crucial it is to show love to my kiddos, especially those who feel they are different. I only taught school those two years, but am grateful for all that those 2 years prepared me for!

Since I've mentioned Ammon a lot in this post I thought I should explain a little bit about my little 3 year I love so much. Most of our friends and family know his history and all we've been through with him, but our new heart friends may not know as much. He has never been diagnosed with a specific title at this point except for severe developmental delay. We have met with doctors in neurology and genetics at Primary's since he was 11 months old. He has had MRI's and numerous blood tests, and 2 years of early intervention therapy, but no exact diagnosis. What I do know though, is that he has made amazing progress. He is still behind, more so mentally than with his motor skills now, but continues to progress. He is about at a 24 month old skill level and he is 3 1/2. He is running with energy from sun up to sun down ,gets into everything possible, and then usually destroys things out of curiosity.

He attends an autistic preschool through our school district, even though he has not been diagnosed autistic & does not have all the typical characteristics, their program is a great fit for him. He has learned so much since he began. I could not ask for anything better for him right now. We feel blessed he was accepted to their preschool unit. It has been a true lifesaver with how high maintenance Miracle Mason has been for us. He requires so much time and attention.

Last week I said to myself, without Ammon's little stunts each day to keep my life comical, I would have too much time to worry (more than I all ready do) about little Mason. This thought came to me when I got up early to work out (which helps me remain sane) in our "basement gym" and my eyes were too irritated from allergies to put my contacts in, so I pulled out my glasses. And to my surprise Ammon had gotten to them. They were so bent they wouldn't even stay on my face. So I figured I'd just listen to my ipod since I wouldn't be able to see the t.v. . And what do you know, Ammon had bit off one of the ear pieces on the head phones. I just had to laugh!!

I must say because of the special needs of our youngest two, our other 3 kids have become very sensitive to others who may be different. Which is truly wonderful! I am grateful for each one of my kids and the joy they bring me each day. I am still learning how to be a good mother, and am grateful to know I have forever with my kids to keep learning and improving.


Camille Bailey Aagard said...

Wow, Summer. Having just chased Jessica around two different soccer fields, as she slapped kids, got into parent's bags for food, dumped people's water, all while perfect strangers held my baby, I feel I can relate. (Dr. Knorr was at one of those fields.) I'm also typing on a keyboard that's missing three keys (picked off by you know who) Let's see, and I just tried to extract the urine from the carpet in front of the t.v. for, I am not kidding, at least the 300th time. I have a professional water claw now. I can't keep ahead of the stench in that room. One day I'm just going to fall through the floor, because the floor boards will have rotted out from all the water used to flush it out.zax

I, too, am a returned missionary, and I, too, cling desperately to exercise to stay (relatively) sane. And funny that we're both married to neat freaks! The only difference is, you're laughing and I'm feeling like I should be big enough to laugh, but crying. Well, actually, i just say DOGGONIT a lot and get mad. Well, you raise the bar high. Keep on, girl! You're incredible.

Manina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Manina said...

Summer you truly are amazing. I don't know how you do it. I feel overwhelmed every day with the chaos in my life but every time I read your blog I am humbled and I try to quit complaining and enjoy all the crazy/funny/frustrating things that happen every day. Keep doin' what you are doin!

Michele said...

Wow, I don't know how you are going it. There are only a few of us 'heart moms' who have 4+ kids and it is a challenge! But to have another one with special circumstances makes it even harder!! You are a trooper for staying positive! I hope your family will continue to be blessed through your experiences.

Stephanie Nibley said...

Thanks so much for this entry. You are truly an amazing person and such a good example to all of us. Ammon is so fun! All of your kids are so great! I'm lucky to be in primary with them. You and Mark are amazing. Thanks for reminding me what's most important.