I originally started this blog a few years ago to chronicle Noah's daily struggles with autism. It was a dark time in my life - a time when I felt that things would never get better. It was a time when I felt that all my hopes and dreams for my son and for our family had died. In my efforts to help Noah recover from autism, I began a journey that inadvertently led me to rediscover myself. I learned how to laugh again. How to dream again. How to live again. How to love again.

Autism Schmaustism. He's still our son.

This is a blog celebrating our family. Our kids. Our life.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

We're Still Alive...

Oh my goodness... how on earth has it been 2 months since I last blogged? Someone warned me that when I started homeschooling that I could kiss my blog goodbye. She was right... I rarely have any free time to sit down and type anymore.  I construct all these elaborate blog posts in my head, but they never make it to the computer. And then before you know it, 2 months have passed by and you don't even know where to begin.

So, I'll try to start somewhere...

We officially started homeschooling at the beginning of January. The first week was heaven. The second week was hell. And the third week was the same. By the fourth week, things started to even out and we have started to find a rhythm.  It's NOTHING like I thought it would be and at the same time, it's everything I hoped it would be.

I think my biggest fear was that I would go crazy being around the kids all day.  And that's hard to admit because it just sounds so awful. But, if you want to know the truth, I was one of those moms that hated the weekends, looked forward to Monday mornings, and couldn't wait until her kids were old enough to ship off to Camp Wanatoka or Tawokoni or whatever it is way up north for three whole months in the summer.

It's not that I didn't love my kids, but I had a hard time dealing with their issues. And, believe, I already know that I have a ton of issues myself, so I'm not solely blaming my children's behavior for the way I was feeling. But the constant complaining and screaming and fighting and fears and anxieties and homework battles and insecurities just about drove me insane. I didn't know how to handle it and I was doing a pretty poor job of pretending.

But, despite those feelings, and as crazy as this sounds... because I know I probably just made myself sound like the worst parent ever... I did have a deep maternal instinct and love for my kids and I knew that homeschooling was the best option for them. Our family was going downhill... fast... and Sim and I both felt that bringing the kids home was the only solution that would save us and keep our family together. And I loved my kids enough to bring them home, even though I was terrified about what it was going to do to me. I mean, I knew it was the best thing for them, but I wasn't so sure it was the best thing for me.

So, we brought the kids home in January and the strangest thing happened.... after our rough patch, things started to settle down. And I started to realize that my kids are pretty cool. I mean, they're really, really funny. And they have the most creative ideas. And they're actually really sweet and kind and just generally awesome. And Nandi and Eli.... who actually hated each other... are best friends. They play together all the time. And the change in them is remarkable....

Eli's anxiety has almost disappeared. Not completely... I mean... that kid definitely has an anxiety issue.... but his behavior has completely changed now that he's not stressed out so much.  We used to complain that his teachers got the best of him and we got the leftovers, and that's pretty much how it was when he was in public school. He'd hold it together and then get home and explode and have huge meltdowns.  We still see them. I mean, he does not like school ( he has a ton of learning issues that make him feel "stupid" and he doesn't even want to try half the time), and it's definitely a battle. I can't lie about that. I'm slowly learning how to handle and preempt his almost daily explosions over schoolwork, but the rest of the time he's great. He is so good with Naveen.... it's been amazing to watch. And he tries to help Noah.... and he plays so well with Nandi. They still fight.... and sometimes I question myself over the decision to pull them out of school... but, for the most part, they're doing really well.

Nandi has really surprised me. We had been getting a lot of leftovers with her, too. In my last blog post, I wrote how she was so jealous of Naveen that she'd come home from school and just melt down..... screaming, pulling her hair, clawing at her chest. It was horrible. And that jealousy of Naveen is still there.... and we have had one or two episodes that just made my heart sink... but she's loves to do school work and is probably the hardest worker I've ever met. She is a homeschooling mom's dream. She wakes up, does her work, asks for more... I mean, it's nuts. A total change from Eli.  She even asked me today if she could go to "Chess Camp" this summer.  She's in piano and just started soccer and is already asking to join Girl Scouts and 4-H. She blows me away. She's totally game for anything.  Eli, on the other hand, wants to do absolutely nothing, but Nandi is a real trooper.  She does still have some issues with Naveen and we have to watch the two of them sometimes because we have seen some old sneaky habits crop up... The "accidentally" pinching or tripping or knocking over.  But, Naveen has fast become a little tattle-tale, so Nandi's not able to get away with much.  But despite all of this, the good outweighs the bad and we know that we definitely made the right decision for our family with homeschooling.  We're going slow... truthfully, we've only been doing Spelling, Reading, Writing, and Literature for the last 7 weeks.  We're just now introducing Math, and, most weeks, with all of our therapy and doctor's appointments, we're only managing 3-4 days of school a week.  So, we'll definitely have to do school year round in order to keep up, but we've seen way to many emotional gains to really worry about it right now.

As for Naveen and Noah... well, I'll have to do another blog to update about them. Otherwise, this one will never end!  Both are doing great, though, and I'm constantly aware of how much time I'm able to spend with the two of them. There's quite a bit of guilt going on with that... especially with Noah because his one on one attention time has been cut drastically, but we are making a valiant effort to improve his health, and with that, we're seeing some minor improvements. I finally got around to making my bone both! Cool and gross at the same time. And don't get me started on the fermented cod liver oil and raw liver shooters I've been taking.   I decided to take them first to see how they tasted before I tried them with Noah... and after taking them I realized that there's no way in H-E-double hockey sticks that I'd ever get them down Noah's throat.  But I did read that you can rub fermented cod liver oil on a child's butt and it will absorb just as well as if they take it orally. So, poor Noah's little behind smells like a can of sardines... but there's been some studies on fish oil provoking speech in children with apraxia... and, by golly, if Noah hasn't started babbling and saying a few one-off words.  Nothing consistent, but he's said a few words here and there and that's given us enough hope to continue making our house smell of rotten fish.  And if I can somehow grind that liver up and hide it in his veggie/rice concoction then maybe he might start reciting the entire alphabet. Who knows.  Anyway, practically all my time is spent either homeschooling or researching different types of healing foods and that's why I haven't been on here lately. (By the way, did you know that if you leave water kefir out to ferment too long that it turns to alcohol? Yeah. It might be a good idea to test it first before you give it to your kids....)

Okay, I've written way too much. And without pictures. I know! I've violated every blogger rule.  So, hopefully, it won't be two more months before I blog again. But, rest assured that we are doing great. We still have rough patches and we've quickly learned the truth of the motto, "It's a marathon, not a sprint".  And, well, we all have really high hopes for the future.  I know that homeschooling's not for everyone and that it looks different in every family, but if you're considering it then I think you should go for it. It just might turn out to be best thing you could do for your family.  It definitely saved ours...  =)