Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Anxiety with a capital A

Caleb has always been a somewhat anxious kid. There have always been certain things that would trigger anxiety. He has never liked loud noises (a common aversion in kids and adults with SB). He won't watch fireworks and he refuses to go to the movie theater. Loud noises, especially loud unexpected noises, have always been upsetting to Caleb. I'm convinced there is a neurological connection and Caleb will likely never like loud noises. So, there are some things we just don't do because they are so upsetting to Caleb. I'm okay with that. However, I've noticed Caleb's anxiety has increased over the last year or so and more and more things are causing anxiety. Caleb struggles with anxiety almost daily now. Caleb has significant anxiety whenever we go anywhere, even places he has been many, many times.

Example: He has a homeschool p.e. class that he loves every Wednesday. Every Tuesday he starts to get anxious and it just builds and builds until he is crying and very upset. He gets sick to his stomach, sometimes to the point of getting physically sick. Conversation goes something like this:

Caleb: "You know I'm nervous, right?"
Me: "I know."
Caleb: "I don't know why I am so nervous. Why am I nervous all the time?"
Me: "I don't know baby. You love p.e., you don't want to miss it.
Caleb: "I know I like p.e. and I don't want to miss it....but I'm so nervous."
Me: "What are you nervous about?"
Caleb: "I don't know. I'm just so nervous. I'm always nervous"

And this will go on and on and on for hours. He'll be very upset by the time we leave. And you can put any number of activities in place of p.e....nature walk, going to the park, basketball practice, play dates, going to visit family, and church. You can see that these are things that we do on a regular basis, most of them are weekly activities. Really the only places we can go that don't cause anxiety is the store, and maybe the library. That's about it.

The anxiety follows a very predictable pattern. The anxiety usually starts at least the day before the activity. It builds and builds as we get closer to going. He gets more and more upset. We go to the activity and he does fine, he has a great time and he'll be glad he went. And then the cycle starts all over for the next scheduled activity.

Sometimes he'll get fixated on something that is weeks or months away and he'll get anxious about that. It's absolutely maddening.

I think this started last spring sometime, that's when I first started seeing him get nervous when we went places. He started getting nervous about things at school (when he was in public school) which was really unusual for him. The anxiety has gradually gotten worse over the last few months. Now he is anxious almost daily. He's tense. You can hear it in his voice when he talks. I wonder if the boy ever feels relaxed. I think he spends a good bit of his time anxious and nervous. He's 8 years old. 8. He's just a kid.

I am doing what I can to help him. We talk about it. We pray about it. I've given him verses to help him have peace.
I push him to go to the activities even though he is anxious. I do that because I know that he really wants to go and I know that he will have fun. I don't know if I would have it in me to force him to go if he was miserable the entire time. Luckily, he has fun....once he gets there. But the anxiety before is ridiculous. You can just see the inner struggle with him. He wants to have fun, he wants to go to these activities but he is absolutely paralyzed with anxiety. It is so frustrating to watch. It hurts me to see him struggling so much.

I don't know how to help him anymore so I called his neuropsychologist and they referred me to counseling/therapy services. I left a message. Hopefully we can get some help for him. This momma has exhausted all efforts and it's not working. Prayers appreciated.

Can anyone else relate? Advice or thoughts? Encouragement? :)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Nature Walk

I've mentioned before that we are very blessed to live in an area with a ton of resources and activities for homeschoolers. That fact is one of the things that brought me great comfort when we made this "unexpected detour" toward homeschool. There are so many options in our area that we truly can't do them all. We have to pick and choose. Our city recently started a variety of nature programs, one of them being a program specifically designed for homeschool families. It is a weekly program that gives kids the chance to get out in nature and learn some things about the plants and animals in our area. We went to our first nature walk this past week. The boys had a blast.

The boys learned about bird eggs and how a bird skull is different than a mammal skull.

I see you!

Looking at a bird feather with a magnifying glass.

The kids also got to see what happens when a feather gets wet with water and what happens if it gets wet with oil.

Benjamin loved the binoculars. He wouldn't let go or share.

I think we stopped every 2 feet because the kids saw something they wanted to learn about.

It was a really fun morning and the boys had a great time. I think we all learned something we didn't know before. They are excited about going again next week. Opportunities like this really make homeschooling fun. 

Skatepark Fun!

A fellow SB mom and I are working with our local SB chapter to plan different events for the SB kids in the area. I planned our first event at the indoor skatepark we had Caleb's 8th birthday party. It's a really neat place and I knew the kids would enjoy it.

Check out Caleb's new "Wheelz" hat! There is a neat story behind the hat: A fellow SB mom is in the process of adopting a precious little girl with SB. They have been raising money for months and months to help cover the cost of the adoption. Aaron Fotheringham (aka: Wheelz-SB folks should know who this is, he's awesome!) donated a signed helmet and some other goodies for a raffle. I bought a few raffle tickets because I couldn't pass up the opportunity to help a fellow SB family AND have the chance to win Caleb a signed Wheelz helmet. Wouldn't you know it, Caleb won!

It's a sweet helmet. I wish you could have seen the look on Caleb's face when he saw a huge box on our front porch from Aaron Fotheringham! It was priceless. Caleb is a huge fan.

 Anyway, back to our skatepark event:
Caleb and his buddy Nate wasting no time and getting right on the ramps.

Benjamin brought his own wheels.

We had about 10 kids show up for the event so it was a low turn-out but I think everyone had a good time.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Christmas #4 in the country with cows and a cabin

For Christmas #4 we headed out of town to MeMe's. Christmas at MeMe's is always a lot of fun for the boys. A lot of family come into town and the boys get the opportunity to see some people they don't see very often. MeMe has quite a bit of land that she raises cattle on. The land has been in the family for years and there are a couple of cabins out on the land for family to stay in. The cabins have also been in the family for years and years. We decided to stay out on the land in the cabin with the boys.

He's excited for an outdoor adventure!

Caleb got to hitch a ride on Daddy's back while we hiked around a bit.

It really is beautiful out there. We had such a great time being in nature and enjoying the quiet.

This may be my favorite picture.

What is a trip to the country without some bebe gun shooting?

Even I gave the gun a try.

Love this pic and my favorite 8 year old (my favorite 5 year old refused to be in the pic).

 We went back and forth from the cabin and MeMe's house.
The boys being silly in MeMe's driveway.

One night we took the boys outside for sparklers and a fire.

The loved the fire, probably a little too much. Little pyros. Staying out on the land in the cabin can be quiet and relaxing but it can also be a little when you are enjoying a camp fire and you hear dozens of coyotes all around you. It's so dark out there that you can't see anything at all. I don't like hearing a million coyotes and not being able to see where they are. That was my cue to head into the cabin for the night.

One morning we woke to find about 10 cows surrounding the cabin. The boys loved it! It's so funny because these huge animals are so skittish, they take off running when they get spooked.

It really is so pretty out there.

Saw this woodpecker pounding away one day.

Taking MeMe's lawnmower and the 4 wheeler for a spin.

Our last morning in the country.

We had to saw goodbye to the cows. 

Future cattle rancher maybe?

Christmas #2 and #3

The boys had Christmas #1 with Granny and Paw-Paw. Christmas #2 was our time at the house with the boys on Christmas morning.

The boys got right to the business of opening their presents.

I think he's excited about what he sees!

Benjamin showing off his very first Wii game, Lego Star Wars the Complete Saga (fantastic game by the way....Glenn and I have stayed up late playing it ourselves)

Both boys got these fancy light sabers. They have had their eyes on these for months but they are $40 a piece!! I had no intention of buying these until I saw them on major sale at Walmart for only $17!

They love these. The light sabers are pretty cool, I can see why they are normally $40 even if I am too cheap to spend that much.

After a flurry of opening gifts and eating a big breakfast, we headed to out to see Gammy, Grandpa Al, and Aunt Rachel for Christmas #3.
Benjamin couldn't even stay awake for the 30 minute drive. Too much fun Christmas morning I guess.

Caleb got a complete collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the original turtles too.

Benjamin got a few Lego Star Wars kits. He loves them. He even sat with Glenn for about an hour and half putting one of the kits together.

After a full day we headed home to get some rest. We went out of town the next day for Christmas coming soon.

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