Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What it is like to have a "different" child. 

It has taken me a long long time to write this post. I have considered writing one for almost a year now and never really had the courage to. But today I have finally found it. NOT because anyone gave it to me but because I realized that putting this out there may help somebody.

My current circumstances do not stay concrete just because I talk about them.

Just because I speak about the facts does NOT mean that my faith isn't greater.

(because trust me it IS)

I am writing from a place of faith and flesh. Before I begin I have to get it out there...what's been there all along....I KNOW, THAT I KNOW, THAT I son is going to be fine and live his life to the fullest potential that God has called him to. AND For no other reason than...

I KNOW the creator as my father, as my family, and as my friend and HIS words and true and HIS promises will never fail.

So now that everyone knows that about me and my truest of truest feelings....let me elaborate on what goes underneath that.

Other feelings....and other thoughts....(still with all that said above in highest regards...)I am human and I have a fleshly nature....and even with the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and with all my hope in HIM and all my faith in HIM and all my trust in him and all my burdens casted upon HIM....

I worry about my children.

(and I presume some of you reading this do to.)

I have never wrote about this before because I felt like maybe putting on paper...or on our family blog would then solidify it. Which I am realizing now...why haven't I put this on year yet? Don't I want him to know someday all that he(they) have over come???

So today's the day.





So a little over a year ago (the end of last summer to be exact)...I will never forget the moment I said out loud what I had been thinking for about 6 months. The thing I know my husband was avoiding too, and the thing that I know without doubt people were thinking. (looks...especially the ones your own family try to cover up and pretend they aren't looking when they are....don't lie).

I said it out loud to my husband while laying in our bed....

"Something is wrong with Lyric"

A quick little preface for you...Lyric is our third son. Our oldest was still 3 when he was born and our second oldest turned 2 years old four days prior to his birth. He was an AMAZING baby! Easy to calm, snuggly, loving, kissy, giggled on time, clapped on time, rolled, sat, crawled, walked, waved, "so big", babbled all the things on time. He was breastfed for 13 months...ate homemade baby food and toddler food like a champ. Self feeding and always loving all foods. (We actually nicknamed him the "crumb dog" because this kid would eat anything of his, anything of yours, and when he would get down out of the highchair he was looking on the floor for crumbs! I'm so serious!)  He went with the chaos so well. He LOVED to watch his brothers...loved taking baths and swimming or playing outside...he loved stroller walks...being worn in a baby carrier....loved to swing....laugh at his doggie...went down and took naps wonderfully with no problems and went to bed like a dream, song , pray, lay down with blankie and pacifier and right to sleep on his own (still is a rockstar sleeper at 3 1/2 might I add). So all good things! I have videos of him at 1 year old saying colors of things, repeating some words, and babbling but not a huge talker. Not super concerning...but then at about 18 months I noticed he talked a lot less than his brothers did at that age. And EVERYONE (even his pediatrician) told us that he is the third child, he doesn't need to talk because his brother talk for him, he'll catch up etc etc.

One of the first red flags for me besides noticing a delay in his speech was his 2nd birthday party. I will never forget how much he didn't like the candle on his cake. (He wasn't that way at his 1st birthday or anyone of his brothers birthdays) He also did NOT want rip the paper and open his presents. And now looking back at Christmas 2 months prior he did not like to open them either. We did go to the water park that Christmas though and he had a blast. No red flags. Totally an angel boy and had all the fun and was exceptionally behaved for an almost 2 year old at a water park!

Really everything up to 18 months was grand. He turned 18 months in August. Lane started 1/2 day kindergarten that year and Luke started preschool 3 days a week that year. I have so many pictures of Lyric and Lukie being sweet playing in my car waiting for Lane to come out of school and of me and the little two at the park and playing in the leaves before pick up time and stuff like! Such a fun fall! But then a few months later is when I noticed like I said the aversions to the wrapping paper and then the super sad meltdown about his candle.

After I said that sentence to my husband I elaborated on what I was feeling. We had just moved into a new house and Lyric handled that wonderfully as well. I was newly pregnant with our 4th child and we were getting ready to go on a lake house vacation with my whole family. I told Matt that by the time Lyric was 2 1/2 if he wasn't speaking more I was going to see about getting him some speech therapy. Clearly all the reading I was doing to him, the flash cards, and all the things I did with his big brothers was not impacting him enough in the area. And while my husband STILL(and still does today) thought he would catch up on his own...he agreed to see about some therapy.

Sure enough after vacation (and 2 very dramatic- never had I ever before seen a melt down like that melt down from any child in my life-melt downs while we were at the beach (wet sand, I believe now looking back,was the culprit) we decided to research about some therapy.

A friend of mine had a son with speech delay issues so I reached out to her asking her how she went about starting therapy. She was a wonderful source of information (thank you Katie Deets) and I went ahead with her suggestion and called the learning early intervention program. After TONS of paper work, multiple meetings, multiple evaluations from a developmental therapist, a speech therapist, and an occupational therapist,  and psychiatrist, we went ahead and started speech therapy.

We started speech the last week of September 2016. I took Lyric to therapy in Clinton 2 days a week and one day a week a therapist came to our house for an hour and worked with him. He had speech a total of 3 days a week equaling 2 hours a week.

We got about 8 weeks of therapy in before our sweet little Levi made his surprise arrival 5 weeks early! Then when Levi was 4 weeks old and things had settled a bit(by the way Lyric LOVED his little baby brother with his whole heart. Said his name when we asked him too right away upon meeting him and he handled the transition like a champ! All our boys did and that is because God is good and we asked Him all through out my pregnancy to work in the hearts of our children to prepare them for change and HE DID! All the glory goes to HIM)  we continued the same therapy for Lyric for 1 more month until Jan 25th when Lyric was still two years old....he (again after an evaluation, a big ole' IEP meeting with lots of people, and another boat load of paper work) started preschool in the special needs class(that is blended with a regular needs class) here in our town. Putting him in a "special needs" preschool was honestly embarrassing for me at first. SO was him having a one on one aide. But after this whole past year I can reassure you that I feel SO very special in a GOOD way.

Lyric completed roughly 13-14 weeks of school last year as he started in the 2nd half of the year (because they don't accept you unless you are almost 3 ) AND because we had a week of for spring break AND he had a week off for strep throat (that poor boy grew his immune system fast last year) so it was right around 13-14 weeks of school total. Preschool was 5 days a week receiving speech therapy 60 minutes total a week (being pulled out of the classroom and going into a classroom with only the speech teacher one on one either in 15 minute increments, or 2-30 minute increments...what ever worked for them that week) and then towards the last few weeks we did request an OT(occupational therapy) evaluation to see if he qualified for services (because it was very odd to me that he doesn't like play doh and things of that sort and apparently there are sensory aversions that people have in this world. This was all kind of new to me. I mean I had a sister that would yell at me if I slid my fork between my teeth because the sound made her cringe and I have a husband that doesn't like tags, which are all a thing similar, but Lyric had straight up aversions to gagging over touching play doh) He did not qualify for OT with the learning intervention program because he was very "physically" qualified in all areas and while I explained my concern to them about the aversions and they did agree they should be addressed....I would have had to take him an hour away for services and the waiting list was 6-9 months to get in and he wasn't even going to the correct age to receive them by the time we would have received a spot. (Learning intervention through the state of Illinois is birth - age 3).

Lyric did great in school last year. His one on one aide was (and is) an angel and his teacher was (and is) incredibly gifted, talented, and so amazingly passionate about helping these kiddos.

Lyric had a FABULOUS summer!! He seriously developed and thrived  SO CRAZY MUCH withOUT therapy! (God told me not to do therapy with Lyric this summer but that's a whole other post for a different time.)

So here we are. The start of his first "full year" of preschool. Him and his 2 older brothers all go to the same school. Lane is in 2nd grade, Luke is in kindergarten, and Lyric is in preschool.

A good friend of mine (thank you Katie Tucker...yes two good friends named Katie AND a sister in law named Katie and yes I often screw up text messaging the wrong Katie) sent me a podcast from this page called "Focus on the Family".( If you listen to KLOVE radio maybe you have heard of it. I read a book a while ago called "Bringing up Boys" by Dr. James Dobson. Incredible read and his Focus on the Family Christian station, websites, books, AND APP is so amazing.) Anyways the podcast she sent me was a podcast of a mom and her son speaking about a book called "Different" that they wrote together.

Listening to this mother and her (now 28 year old) son speak about him being "different" and the disorders he was labeled with and suffered effected me like nothing has ever EVER effected me before. And not because I am experiencing the same things she is...because while some yes...a lot of them no...BUT because of the feelings she talked about. They were very spot on. My heart sits in the same spot with my 3 year old as hers now sits with her 28 year old.

And that is where this courage is coming from. It's coming from a place of wanting to share (not my perfect heart or my perfect parenting ways because I can assure you that is very far from the truth) how I am completely and honestly 100% ok with DIFFERENT.

ALL OF MY BOYS ARE SO VERY DIFFERNT. I am VERY different from my sister. And the word different is NOT BAD!!! Why is that a thing? It always has been. I have always thought "bad" when someone would say "you and you're sister are very different aren't you?" Like when a teacher that she had a few years before me would say that to me when I was growing up I would instantly think different meant that she was smarter (she was) but maybe different meant...she's an more of an introvert while you're more of an extrovert. BOTH GREAT THINGS....different ...yes....but both wonderful. And quite frankly both so very needed in this world. I mean hello can you imagine all introverts (insert crickets chirping) or all extroverts (Lord help us all). I mean we are different and that is so great. One of the many things this lady said in this podcast that touched my heart so deeply was "God is NOT a cookie cutter God. I mean look at creation. All different kinds of plants, animals, name it! Different!!!" All good....but different.

My boys are the same way. Lane is SO different from Luke and that was SO very evident right away. And now that I have four....all 4 of them are so different. Currently Lyric doesn't "fit the mold" per say of some other 3 year olds....BUT he also is crazy brilliant and blows our minds about some stuff he can do that neither of our "mold fitting" older children ever could have done at 3.

My sister ( like I said is extremely smart) is a teacher...not only a teacher but has her master's degree and is a reading specialist, and sits in on IEP meetings all the time and is just is a wealth of information on children and their learning abilities etc....had told me this (long before I even had Lyric)

"That to make an average there is a high...AND...a low"

Let me repeat that...AND.A.LOW.

Actually I think she said this to me when I was possibly talking to her about some "difference" between Lane and Luke...which by the way Lane was a CRAZY early talker and like a 25 year old by 15 months old so there was that...but obviously now at 7 and 5 Lane and Luke talk just the same even though Luke was not high above average at 15 months like Lane was. And now Luke is a fabulous reader and I think may have knocked his "smartie pants" brother out of the water with his ability to ready by age 4 so there's that😉 

Where one might excel in one area at one age, one may seem delayed or struggle in that area at that same age. Again....a high, and average, and a low. 

Where one of my boys may play sports, one may not be gifted with the desire, talent, ablity, or passion to play sports.


 Actually that's more than OK....that is GREAT.

Because what I have come to realize as I have to relinquished my sweet Lyric's "situation" into God's hands. And like the momma that I listened to speak of her son...I LOVE Lyric and ALL our boys NOT for what they can or can not do but simply and deeply for WHO. THEY. ARE.

They are God's children, who He gifted to me to be a steward of. For a short time...a very short time. And while I know delays, differences, and challenges look different for everyone....I pray that you too can realize that it isn't about you. It's about's about their life and what GOD has for them....if you can let go and let Him have the control.

Maybe your struggling with a mouthy daughter, or maybe your son bites people at daycare, or maybe your pre-teenager is lying all the time(sorry mom that was me), or maybe you have a delayed child with a one on one aide in a special needs preschool(me)....whatever your current situation is....

guess what....

We are all more alike than different.

and the even better news than that is.....

WE have the God of this universe that (Psalm 77:14) who still performs miracles; who displays His power among the people.

I fully believe with my whole heart that HE will get me through every situation...with every child...with every matter what the matter what the matter what issue may be...HE created these boys. They are all unique parts to the puzzle of our family and if we were all the same we wouldn't fit just right. I am thankful....BEYOND thankful....for each and every season I have with them. Even the challenging ones.

Lyric may be a little bit different right now. He currently doesn't like to use his fork...and somedays its a struggle to get him to wear shoes...however God will see us through. He will overcome those things with God's help and all our boys will overcome their struggles in due time. In God's time. And by God's grace(....which I know I need ALL. THE. TIME.)

If you read this...just matter what...with God...the struggle and issue is still there...but it's easier and it's a better road when you follow Him. He want's to carry your burden and lighten your load.

Someone once said...

"The pressence of trouble isn't the absence of God"

God is ever present...He is ALWAYS there....and quite frankly I don't know how I could ever parent ANY of my children without Him.

Listening to this mother and her son talk about all the years and the things that they went through during his many disorders and many dysfunctions, was so eye-opening not because of all of the struggle but because the one thing that he has to say that I vow to live my life the same way... was that no matter what box culture tried to fit him into or what mold he was supposed to be a fitting into and more often than not...was different.... 

when he came home he was loved exactly for who he was, and for exactly the way he was wired. 

And he had parents that tried their best to get him through and to bring him to where he needed to be to have a fully "acceptable life"...he never once Felt like his parents were disappointed or sad about the situation. And the mother spoke so much about relinquishing guilt that she had put on herself and how she had learned to live fully in the joy of what it was to be a parent to her 4 children NO matter what! 

And that is why I am OK with putting this on paper because after listening to that podcast I realized that I am fully OK. I truly and honestly am....

I am ok with different. 

Sure...Before I wasn't and before I didn't want to write or talk about this...but now I want to remember where He has brought me from and I am excited where these little boys will end up. And I am SO thankful I get to be apart of it and be their momma along the way. 

If you are a good friend of mine, a grandparent, or an auntie or uncle to sweet Lyric (and all our boys!) please know God has placed a calling and a special role for you to play specifically for each of them and we are so thankful for you and the part you play in their lives. 

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