Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Deja Vu

Have you ever had your own words come back and bite you?  Maybe that isn't the best way to put it.  I don't know if my words are coming back to bite me or if I am being forced to take my own advice.  Either way I don't like it.  One of my favorite blog posts was titled "Taking the Scenic Route".  In that post I make an attempt to encourage all the fellow SB parents out there that are struggling with their child's progress or lack thereof.  I have always felt an obligation to share Caleb's journey and how hard he has worked to meet milestones.  I have also shared how I felt over the years watching him struggle to meet those major milestones (sitting, crawling, standing, walking).  I compared the journey to climbing a mountain and I expressed the importance of enjoying the scenery and taking in every single milestone with joy.

Well, I have found myself with Caleb at the bottom of that same mountain. Again.  It has been 12 weeks since Caleb's tethered cord surgery and he still can't stand up.  He is a miles away from being able to walk.  He can't climb up on the couch by himself because his legs just can't hold him.  I don't say all of that to sound negative.  I'm just stating the facts.  I will admit to feeling very down in recent weeks.  I never dreamed that we would be 3 months out from surgery and Caleb would still have so much ground to cover.  So, here we are, at the bottom of this mountain that we have already climbed.  I'm looking up at this giant mountain and I'm thinking: "Um, we've already been here.  We've climbed this one before.  It took us years to make it to the top of this stupid mountain and we don't want to climb it again.  We have already passed by all the scenery this mountain has to offer, we don't want to see it again."

And yet, here we are.

It appears we have 2 choices: One, we could just refuse to climb this mountain.  We could wave the white flag in surrender.  Two, we could strap on our mountain-climbing gear and tackle this mountain all over again.  I admit to embracing choice number one for a couple of weeks.  We had a lull in physical therapy while Ms. Vicki changed companies and I was struggling during that time.  I just wasn't seeing any progress and I was beat down.  Caleb seemed frustrated as well and I was at a loss of how to motivate him.  I just kept thinking that I was pushing him to do things that he will never be able to do again.  I had convinced myself that he will  never walk again.  Then it occurred to me that there was a time when I never thought Caleb would walk in the first place.  I never dreamed that he would walk with just AFO's and a walker.  I never expected to see him make that kind of progress.  But he did it.  It took years.  It took a lot of work and a lot of therapy, but he did it.  So, I've decided that if he did it once then, just maybe, he can do it again.  
So, we work on getting those legs strong again.  We give him as much support as he needs until those legs can hold him up.

We work on getting those hips strong by doing tall kneeling.

We work out the core muscles to get his trunk stable again.

We make it fun (or try to).

We do bridges. And sit-ups.

We work the inner thigh muscles.

We get those legs used to standing again.  We make those legs remember what it feels like to stand up.

We work hard. 
I should say HE works hard, I'm just his cheerleader.

And the boy does work hard.  He is getting therapy 3 times a week and Ms. Vicki doesn't mess around.  She makes him work.  And she encourages me.  She is so optimistic about his recovery.  She fully believes that he will gain back the function he had.  She sees him getting stronger, even when I don't.  I don't know how long it will take him to gain back all that was lost.  It took him years to get to where he was.  I'm hoping we are dealing with months and not years but regardless, we will press on.

People like to say that everything happens for a reason.  Now, I'm not sure if every single trial we face in life is for some specific purpose but I do believe that God can work out every situation for good.  And we can use our trials to encourage others.

So, I read my own words from "Taking the Scenic Route":

"Don't let yourself drown in the milestones. Don't let each goal not yet reached consume you. Your little one will climb that mountain, just maybe not as fast as you would like. So, take the time to enjoy the scenic route up the mountain, and anticipate the beauty and the joy that awaits at the top."

I don't necessarily want to hike up this mountain again but because I have accompanied Caleb on this journey before, I know the joy that awaits us.  I know what it is like to rejoice in the progress made.  I know what it is like to watch my son push himself and work harder than anyone I have ever seen in my life.  I know the pride he feels when he reaches a goal.  I know the look on his face.  I know he wants to stand up again.  I know he wants to walk again.  So, we climb.  I'll join him on this journey, offering all the support and love I can.  And I will praise God that I have the privilege of being Caleb's mom.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Glazed goodness

Every morning when Caleb wakes up the first words out of his mouth are: "What is our activity today?"  He just can't wait to find out what our plans are for the day.  Some activities have been a hit, others have not.  But I knew I had a winner with today's activity.  "Go get donuts!"  The boys were so excited as donuts are a rare treat.

Caleb chose the pink donut.

He licked all the icing off first.  Then he ate the donut.

Benjamin went with the classic chocolate donut.

He just bites right in.

Love my boys.

Arcade Fun

We took the boys to a birthday party this weekend.  Caleb and Benjamin spent most of the time playing at the arcade, they didn't even want to take the time to eat pizza (although they did stop playing long enough to eat cake and ice cream).

Benjamin fell in love with one game.  He refused to play or even try any of the other games.

Putting his token in the slot.  
This child probably used about 40 tokens on this game.  He couldn't be stopped.

Basically the token goes down the ramp and you try to get it in the back of the dump trucks.  If you hit it just right the dump truck will dump out all the coins and you get 50 tickets.  After 40 tokens, Benjamin had won about 300 tickets.

Caleb preferred the driving games.

Fireworks T-shirt

I found this video on making a Fireworks t-shirt.  It looked like such a cute idea.  All I needed was some t-shirts, glittery puffy paint, and pipe cleaners.  Easy enough, so I made it one of our "Cool Summer Days" crafts.
Caleb decorating his shirt.

His finished shirt.  Caleb was less than impressed with this activity.  He said it was "boring".  Well, okay then.

Benjamin decorating his shirt.

Benjamin actually liked this craft which surprised me because he's not one to sit still long enough to paint or color or craft.  Of course, he only took about 2 minutes to decorate his shirt and then he was ready to get up and move around.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Indoor sandbox, minus the mess...maybe?

So, I had this idea to create an "indoor sandbox" using a variety of beans and rocks.  We have an actual sandbox outside but with the heat I thought it would be a good idea to have something indoors that the boys could play with.  I mostly did this for Benjamin because I knew he would love it.  He has a history of playing with beans.  Plus, I thought this would be a relatively mess-free activity...I was wrong.
Everything started off good.  All the beans are in the container.

Still lookin' good.  No mess.  I'm so smart to think of such a great, mess-free activity.

And then....
...millions of beans everywhere.

Silly momma, so naive to think that giving your children a container full of beans would be mess-free.
Oh well, I guess a million beans are still easier to clean up than a billion tiny grains of sand.

Slip'n Slide!

Yesterday's "Cool Summer Days" activity involved the outdoors, swimsuits, sunscreen, about a billion gallons of water, and a lot of smiles.  Who doesn't love a slip'n slide!
I actually bought this last summer but it never made it out of the box.  The boys absolutely loved it.

I was worried that Caleb wouldn't get much out of it because he can't exactly run and slide down it.  I was wrong.  He had so much fun just crawling up and down it and splashing in the water.  

Benjamin used the boogie board as his "boat" and went up and down the "river".

11 weeks post-op

Working on his tan.

Caleb and Benjamin would race down the slide.

Best face ever.

I suspect the slip'n slide will be making an appearance again.

Visiting Granny and PawPaw

We took the boys to Granny and PawPaw's over the weekend to visit and to see their cousins.  Even though we were just there a few weeks ago, the boys were excited to be going again.  As always, a good time was had by all...and a lot of good food. 

Benjamin wasted no time and immediately got PawPaw's train to play with.

Caleb loves Granny's kitchen because it is big and the linoleum provides the perfect surface for him to go wheelchair crazy. He is actually doing a wheelie in this picture.

Driving the golf cart is a must at Granny and PawPaw's.  Caleb is not a good driver and aims for every tree he can find.  He thinks it is hysterical.

Love this expression.

Benjamin always seems to find sticks and rocks to throw.

Caleb getting some love from Nikki.

Feeding the sheep some grass.

Again, why does he insist on sticking out his tongue when I want to take his picture?

Again, wore out from a fun-filled day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Train Ride

We surprised the boys today with a train ride.  To say they were excited would be an understatement.  Benjamin is absolutely in love obsessed with trains so he was beside himself with anticipation.
Patiently waiting for the train to come.  He wore his conductor hat the entire time.

Love all 3 of my boys

Caleb really wanted to sit in the caboose so he could ride the train backwards.

Why does Caleb insist on sticking his tongue out whenever his picture is taken?

That's better.

After the train ride, we went to see Grandpa Al, Gammy, and Aunt Rachel.  The boys always have fun over there.
Apparently it was all too much fun for this little guy.

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