Monday, March 29, 2010

A Poopalogical Emergency

So there I was on Saturday at a women's prayer breakfast thoroughly enjoying the speaker when my friend's cell phone starts ringing. I briefly wondered if it was my husband. I had left him home with Faith. Moments later I find out that yes indeed it was my husband. During a song in the middle of the speaker's presentation, I sneaked outside to the hallway to give him a call. He didn't sound panicky or anxious, he was just wondering if I could get home as soon as possible. I told him the speaker was almost done and we would try to rush out as soon as we could.

As I made my way back to my table, I wondered what was happening. He had said Faith was fine and he sounded fine so why would I need to come home right away? I tried not to fret about it and tried to focus my attention on what the speaker was saying. She had an incredible testimony about how God's love healed her after several catastrophic events in her life including having an abortion, getting arrested for shop lifting, her twin brother's suicide and her husband being away for five years while she raised her kids ages 6,5 and 4.

I felt compelled to stay for the closing prayer and then we were outta there. We rushed ahead of the nearly 600 ladies in attendance and made it out of the parking lot without having to wait very long. As Sandy and I sang "Mighty to Save" along to the radio, I still wondered what could possibly be going on.

I rushed upstairs, flew through the door and found a relatively calm husband with a little girl on the bathroom floor lying on her blue foam matts, no clothes on, covered in towels, happily watching a video on her PlayStation portable. Then Rob explained, "she got poop everywhere and needs a bath."

THAT was the emergency?? That Faith pooped? Okay, so granted Rob was not feeling well and Faith was having diarrhea because of the antibiotics she was on and yes she did get poop on the living room floor, on Rob's clothes and on her clothes. I can see why my husband, who was not used to these messes, felt a little overwhelmed by it all. Clearly, he had forgotten those four years when he stayed home with Faith and dealt with this sort of thing all the time!

I guess I was thankful that it was nothing worse - that it wasn't an actual emergency. With this thought in mind, I proceeded to start up the washing machine, get the poop stain out of the carpet and last but not least put my daughter in the tub!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mixed Feelings About School Programs

I admit I have some mixed feelings about school programs - like the kind of programs where children invite their parents and other family members to watch them sing and dance and do other activities. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great for kids to be involved - I loved having programs when I was in school. It always made me feel sort of special that my parents would come and watch us sing and perform, especially since we had put so much effort and practice into it.

It's a little different with Faith though. She'll come home from school singing the songs she is learning and talks excitedly about all she is doing at school right up until it is time for the actual program to take place. Then she doesn't want to go. But we go, hoping she'll be okay.

Last night was one of these events. The kindergartners were all putting on a "Rootin' Tootin' Hoot 'n Nanny event" that was going to be full of surprises for the parents and kids as well. And of course, Faith said she didn't want to go. And of course when we got there, the school lobby was filled with excited kids and their parents causing all sorts of commotion which made Faith sort of nervous. Then, because the elevator had gotten blocked off Rob had to carry her downstairs while I went out and around the building to bring her chair downstairs. Not a big deal, just something we weren't expecting - and Faith likes to know what to expect.

The first activity took place in one of the kindergarten classrooms where kids were to search through a bucket of paper hay to find "needles in a haystack" which were actually little sticks with words on them. Faith liked the "hay" but still looked a little anxious because of so many people being packed in one room. We went to the next room and the next and she still had the same nervous-looking expression on her face. No matter what we said or did we couldn't help her to relax. Then we got to take a ride in a pretend stagecoach and listen to a real-life cowboy talking about being a cowboy. Faith seemed to like that part and seemed a little more at ease.

After awhile it was time to venture back upstairs to the gym where all the kindergarten classes would be singing songs and doing a little circle dance. They put Faith off to the side of the bleachers, which as my friend Tina pointed out, it would be nice if they could have put her in the first row on the floor in the middle to make her look more included. As the kids sang their cute little songs, a part of me was happy that Faith could take part in all of this and that the adults clapping didn't seem to bother her as much as it once did. At the same time though, I was a little sad that she couldn't truly relax and be her happy little self and be singing the songs along with the other kids.

After it was all over, and we were able to meet up with her, she surprised us by saying, "I had really really fun at the program." It made me wonder, did she really? I think she liked being included with the other kids but I also think that her bout of nervousness causes her already tight muscles to tighten even more making it hard for her to relax. But maybe in her mind, in her world, she really did have a good time even though it was hard to tell on the outside. I pray that that she did.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ag Day Adventures

What an adventure we had last week trying to make it over to Mandan for their annual Ag Day. The day began by adjusting Faith's feedings so I wouldn't have to do it at the event. Thankfully, she was up early that day and I was able to bring her to school about 30 minutes late. By the time we were getting ready to leave the school she had her second feeding and was ready to go! Or so we thought.

When I went to pick up Faith she was surrounded by all three Kindergarten classes standing in line trying to contain their excitement about their field trip. While the kids impatiently waited for their bus to arrive, Tina and I got Faith loaded up in her van and away we went. As we drove into the parking lot of the Mandan Community Center, Tina received a phone call on her cell phone. Apparently, the paperwork for the bus had not been finalized so the kids were not able to go on their field trip afterall. What huge bummer for all those kids. Tina and I decided to go back to the school to pick up her kindergartner who was supposed to travel with the rest of her class by bus. We figured she and Faith should still be able to get to go.

At the school as Tina ran in to get her daughter, I noticed a flurry of activity with parents running here and there, all with booster seats in tow. As I wondered what was going on, out came Faith's class. Her teacher came over to inform me that they had rounded up 19 booster seats so her class was still going to go! I was very impressed with this feat!

Meanwhile, in Tina's van, we drove to Mandan for the second time that day. We were so thankful everything worked out as our daughters had a great time petting all of the animals. Faith laughed when a little Holstein calf sucked on her hand. She also got to pet a bunny, a puppy, baby chicks and even a chicken. The people who worked at the event were so good about holding up the animals so that she could reach out and pet them. She also got to see a horse and her foal, a sheep and her lamb and a llama with her baby who had just been born that morning. It was such a wonderful experience for her and I know as she continues to go on these adventures, her confidence will get higher and higher!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Our Little Car Accident

Late last week, Faith and I had a little accident in the Hyundai. We were going north on Washington, which is a very busy street especially around 5:00 p.m. I was trying to get to Avenue C and then make a left in order to get home but we only made it as far as Avenue B.

We had just gotten done with Faith's physical therapy appointment and getting her hair cut. It was after five and I knew Michelle (respite care) was due to be at our home at 5:30. I was in a bit of a hurry and then I got distracted by a pedestrian who was trying to decide where to cross the street. I watched him for a bit then when I looked back in front of me all I saw were bright red brake lights. I hit the brakes but it was too late. CRASH! Right away I looked back at Faith and she had a look of surprise on her face. I asked her if she was OK and she said she was. I was so thankful that instead of being buckled in a regular carseat, she was buckled into her adaptable carseat that offered her extra support. (We were able to make the purchase thanks to the Great American Bike Race).

I followed the van I had just hit around the block and we found a place to park. We both got out of the vehicle and he sort of had a half-smile on his face. I was so relieved he wasn't mad. It was a company van, a 2008 Ford, and the only damage he received was a little scratch on the hitch. Then I looked at the front of my car. My poor little Hyundai. The right bumper was a mess. Easily $2,000 damage. The guy looked at me and said, "well that's why we have insurance." He made the call to the police, we talked a bit then got in our vehicles and waited. I explained to Faith that mommy had a little accident. She sort of tensed up at the word accident so I quickly explained that everything was okay and that we just had to wait a little bit for the policeman. She asked, "what's a policeman?" I told her he was someone who helped people and he made sure people followed all of the rules.

While waiting, Faith repeatedly told me she wanted to go home and I wondered how Rob was doing. I knew he would be worried. I did not have a cell phone so I couldn't call him. Meanwhile, at home Michelle has arrived and Rob told her he was convinced we got into some sort of accident and that all he could think about was Faith crying in the backseat. He even called Julie (our hairdresser) to ask what time we had left her shop.

Finally, the policeman arrived and took a report from me and the other driver, got all of our information and then proceeded to give me a ticket for following too closely behind. It seemed like he felt bad for giving it to me, like he said, that's how everyone in Bismarck drives." I didn't care about a ticket, I was just thankful my daughter was handling everything so well.

While we waited for the policeman to write everything up, the song, "Praise You in the Storm" by Casting Crowns came on. As I listened to the words, I looked back at Faith and said, "Let's thank the Lord that we are both all right. I then began to thank Him that we had hit such a nice driver, that there was no damage to the other vehicle, that the policeman was so nice, etc. It was amazing to me that I felt such peace in that situation. At one time I would have been so angry with myself, frustrated and on the verge of tears. But I was just so very thankful that Faith and I were both okay and nothing else really mattered.

Finally, we got on our way and made it home. Michelle came out to meet us and she said, "Rob's convinced you to into some sort of accident." Then I showed her my bumper. When I did see Rob he gave us both a big hug, he was so relieved. I asked if he was mad about the car and he said, "No, of course not." He was also relieved to hear that Faith was fine through it all and we told her over and over how we were so proud of her for being such a big girl.

Another thing I am thankful for through this whole ordeal is that we have such a wonderful insurance agent, who is a friend of ours that also has a special-needs child. After giving her the accident information, my phone call gave us a chance to have a nice conversation about our daughters and that if we were ever feeling down that we could call one another anytime. What a huge blessing! Thank you Lord for your goodness, the peace you provide, and for continuing to take care of all of our needs.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Faithful Friend for Faith

I love taking Faith to school and seeing all of the kids coming in and out the doors. I laugh to myself when kids come flying in while the final bell is ringing and it's usually the same kids everytime! I watch the girls walk arm in arm whispering their secrets to each other and the boys being told to walk and not run. There is just something refreshing about kids being kids, laughing, talking and hanging out with each other.

But there is also something I see that makes me sad. There are some kids with disabilities, some in wheelchairs, who don't seem to have any friends. I see a little boy sitting at the end of the table at lunch quietly keeping to himself. I never see him with a friend. There are also other kids, mostly boys I notice, who may have more difficulty walking who don't seem to have any friends either. And of course it makes me wonder what it will be like for Faith when she gets older.

Right now, the kids in her classroom adore her. Some of them stop and say hi to her and give her a hug while we're waiting for her instructional aid to come and get her in the mornings. I love that these kids are so sweet with her and want to interact with her. In fact, her teacher told me that it got to the point where kids were fighting over who gets to sit next to Faith during certain activities in the day so she had to make a special seating system so each classmate would have their turn to sit next to Faith. Stories like this always warm my heart. But I worry about what it will be like for her when she gets older. Will these kids continue to treat her with such kindness? It is my prayer that Faith will find a faithful friend who will always be with her no matter what. Who will always be willing to help her when she needs it. It would break my heart to see her sitting at the end of the lunch table being ignored by her classmates.

I know the importance of having friends in school and for girls it seems like they always need at least one best friend. I think it gives one another a boost of self-confidence and it helps them to know that someone is on their side. So I pray and hope and pray some more that Faith will always have friends or one or two special friends who love her just the way she is, who take time out of their day to do things with her and who have the patience to help her when she needs it. It is my heart's desire that my daughter has a faithful friend.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sing Along with Faith

One of my favorite sounds in the whole world is to hear Faith sing. She has such a sweet little voice and to hear her sing always brings a smile to my face. I really get a kick out of her singing when she's driving her power chair down the hallway. As I slowly walk behind her she belts out, "1,2 buckle my shoe, 3,4 four shut the door..." She reminds me of me singing along to the radio while driving my car. But for her - she doesn't need a radio!

When we are in the car together I have KLOVE playing on the radio and she always asks, "what's this song called?" She listens to the song then the next one will come on and she'll ask the same question. Sometimes I don't know the answer and I'll tell her, "I don't know what this one is called." Then she'll say, "It's about Jesus."

There are some Christian songs she knows the words to and when she sings along to those I am so proud of her for listening so well to the words and then being able to repeat them. She especially likes to sing, "Mighty to Save," "Here I Am to Worship" and "He Reigns." Other times she just likes to listen and she'll say, "Praise the Lord, mommy" and we'll lift up our hands together and wave them in the air.

Just the other day we were sitting on the couch together and I asked her to sing me some songs. She sang "Hey diddle diddle", "This old man", and the "Itsy Bitsy Spider." And while singing she added her own words like, "Yeah" and "come on everybody!" Then she told me she was going to sing the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" in Spanish. WOW! I briefly wondered if they had learned that at school. Then she began to sing, "The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout, uno. Down came the rain and washed the spider out, dos. Out came the sun and dried up all the rain. Tres. So the Itsy Bitsy spider came up the spout again. Ocho." Oh well, so it wasn't in Spanish but at least she tried to throw some Spanish in there and she did come up with it all on her own!