Thankful

Today I am thankful.

Today I am thankful that a year ago we were about a week out from Sporty’s tendon transfer and here we are with two magical feet. Feet that recovered from major surgery quickly enough to allow her to play competitive softball over the summer and feet that allowed her to participate in this year’s All Star Game for soccer. Every year I marvel at her will to keep on running despite set backs and every year I am thankful for Dr Fluffy Unicorn who has given Sporty the best chance at an active life.

I’m thankful for Young Jedi who has struggled for so long. Who was frustrated and down on himself. I’m thankful for a doctor who has helped bring our boy back. Young Jedi has gone from erratic and explosive to sweet and inquisitive and eager to learn all in the past month. A boy who hated learning so intensely has created a desk from himself out of a Lego table and he wakes up each morning eager to write and color and learn as much as he can. 4 months ago I didn’t think we’d be here. I’m thankful for his amazing teacher and school staff who support him and us and challenge and encourage him to be the best version of himself. I’m thankful to see his smile and hear his big belly laughs again. (I’ll be even more thankful when he sleeps through the night!)

I’m thankful for these two and those rare moments where they love each other and are best friends. I’m thankful they realize the support they can give each other which will become increasingly important as we embark on our new adventure in a new city (more on that at another time!). I am thankful for a hard working husband that allows me to stay home and manage the house, advocate for our children and invest in myself.

I am thankful for these ladies. My village. There aren’t enough words to express how lucky I am to have a bunch of real, down to earth, supportive, strong women in my life. My life is truly better because of them.

I am thankful for the 40 minutes I had while my apple pie baked to sit down and blog! Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cheetah Speed Under Construction

#tbt to when Sporty was developing her cheetah speed ​

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Switch Hitter

Sporty checked a softball book out of her school library a few weeks ago. She asked Papa Bear what it meant to be a switch hitter because she was reading about it so he explained it means you can hit lefty or righty. Of course Sporty wanted to become a switch hitter so for fun Papa Bear took Sporty and Young Jedi down to the park for some batting practice on both sides. And by George, she can smack the ball from both sides of the plate!
​​

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Back at It

Sporty signed up for a fall skills clinic. It ended like 2 weeks ago but I’m super behind on life. I was super mom-fail and didn’t get pictures until her last session. To my defense, I forgot my phone during one of them. Seriously, 3 hours phone free…it was both liberating and terrifying at the same time. 

It was a really good clinic, the first hour and a half was skills training, fielding and batting, base running, followed by an hour and a half of scrimmage.   A couple of Sporty’s summer teammates also participated and she made some new softball friends and reconnected with a former teammate from kindergarten.  They split the 3rd and 4th graders into two teams and they scrimmaged each other and the coaches coached them on the plays they made as they were in the scenarios, it was a great way for them to learn how to play strategically.  I love watching these girls in the dugout.  They go from not knowing one another, to cheering for each other and being friends in a matter of weeks.  Softball truly unites them.  (And in case you are wondering, yes, she will be wearing that jersey next time we hit up Disneyland)
5C94F4CB-1AD1-47B7-B0CD-8B72ACFECCD2

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Controversial

Last week we made a controversial and very hard decision.  We decided to start medicating Young Jedi.  I know a lot of people are completely against medicating for ADHD, especially in someone as young as Young Jedi, and we’ll likely be judged, but after Young Jedi gave me a fat lip, plus 2 weeks of struggling at school, and 2 hour temper tantrums almost everyday for weeks (many times multiple times a day), our family couldn’t take much more.  Young Jedi has repeatedly told me that he can’t make friends easily, that he tries so hard to be good and he just can’t.  As a parent, that just breaks your heart.

Last week I happened to have my annual exam with my Dr a few days before Young Jedi was scheduled to see Dr Fix It.  She mistakenly asked me how the kids were doing.  I just let it all out about Young Jedi and his ADHD and we’ve tried everything naturally but I think we needed to start meds and I didn’t want to start meds.  And she looked at me and she said “Momma Bear, why wouldn’t you want to start meds?  He has a neurological disorder, don’t you want to allow him to be himself?”  Soul Sister has been saying the same thing to me for months now, but somehow hearing my Dr say it, it clicked.  There is such a strong stigma about medicating ADHD in children.  I needed to get over that stigma because  I want my son to be the very best version of himself.

I met with Dr Fix It last week at Young Jedi’s appointment for over an hour and we went through all of the buckets that he considers when offering medications to his patients.  Then we built of matrix of Young Jedi’s major symptoms, each of the classifications of medications and picked a non-stimulant medication based on that.

I very nervously and pessimistically started meds last Saturday.  Things haven’t been perfect, he’s had some bad days, we’ve had to adjust dosages, but guess what?  They did work and I fell in love with my son again.  He was the sweet, caring little boy I know he is, all of his best qualities that get overshadowed by his ADHD behavior blossomed and came out again.  He still dresses up, he still pretends to be in Star Wars, he still acts out Power Rangers and he still belts out The Pledge of Allegiance, the Star Spangled Banner, and Hard Knock Life at the top of his lungs.  But he’s toned down.  He still punches Sporty for no reason and he has the occasional smartaleck comment, he still got overstimulated on his field trip day but everything was toned down and manageable.  He’s a kid I want to be around again and a kid that I hope will be able to make friends easier, struggle less in school and be able to learn with a clearer mind.

I drove across town with a normal conversation with him, we went food shopping without incident (he forgot his water but didn’t lose his cool when I told him we’d get him a drink at the store, and when I got inline and forgot to grab him a drink he calmly reminded me I promised him a drink), we drove home with him calmly sitting in the back of the car drinking his drink, no incessant talking.  He fell riding a scooter in the cul-de-sac and calmly told me he was ready to go inside because his knee stung.  At Sporty’s softball practice, he sat and practiced writing his letters with little frustration.  He shared his bat at baseball with his teammates, he cheered them on and was positive.  Then when I asked him to put Uno away for bed he replied “Ok Momma, we’ll play another time.”  Later in the week he tripped and fell over Sporty’s softball bag. A week ago this would have sent him into a tailspin of slamming doors, punching Sporty, storming to his room and slamming the door and packing his bag to leave our family. This week he calmly stated “Sporty, maybe you should find a different place for your bag.”  All of these are things that would have been full blown battles and negotiations a week ago.  Things that could have sent him into def-con 10 which leads to 2 hour meltdowns.   Things that for 3 years we’ve tried to tip-toe around and walk on eggshells to avoid.  But this week, he (mostly) handled them rationally and calmly.  At night he’s told me that he can finally behave, that his brain is less crazy, that he can think better.  Such self awareness for a 5 year old.

I’ve had to make hard decisions as a parent; operate on Sporty’s feet, medicate Young Jedi’s ADHD.  Hard, hard decisions.  Decisions I don’t want to make.  Decisions I never thought going into parenthood that I would have to consider.  Decisions I can almost will away.  Decisions, I wish I could climb back into bed and quit my adulting duties until they went away.  But I can’t because I am the voice for my children, because if I don’t fight for them, who will?  I can only hope that I’m doing the right thing by him.  I lay awake at night wishing I had a crystal ball to tell me what the future holds, for both kids’ special needs.  All I know is that his sparkle is back.  Instead of correcting him, I have spent the last week complimenting him, seeing him feel proud again, to build his confidence back.  He’s lovable, he’s rationale, he’s kind again.  And for right now, that’s enough.  That’s a decision that I can live with because I just want him to be the very best version of himself.

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Nailed It!

I don’t know why but I was super worked up about Sporty’s orthopedic surgeon appointment today.  It’s been a while since we’ve been there, we’ve melted an AFO on the softball field and started soccer since we’ve seen him and things change so quickly with her feet that I was a bit nervous.  Plus she’s been having some limb fatigue (especially in her right foot which is the recently operated foot) when running hills at soccer practice so I was concerned there was something going on.  So here’s what we learned:

A) When your favorite office administrator is off but she sees you’re on the schedule and she writes a note to Sporty in her chart to say hi and to instruct her to get a lollipop, you know these are more than just Drs.

B) When the nurse and Dr Fluffy Unicorn walk in and cheer “Yay!  The Sporty family is here!” you know you’ve found a place that truly cares about your child’s well being, beyond charts and patient numbers, they truly care about your child.

C) When the Dr laughs and cheers because your kid melted her AFO WHILE on the softball field and tells her to keep it up (toss the AFO because who needs it anyway) and never quit, to get that softball scholarship and then go on to become an orthopedic surgeon, you know he sees her big dreams and builds her up to achieve them.  You realize the village stretches farther than you can ever imagine

D) When the Dr talks to the child about what’s going on, not you, the parent, about the pain she’s feeling when running hills and tells her to try to push herself to try to work through the pain but without injury and she responds back and they have an adult conversation, you know there is mutual respect.  You feel grateful that the adult is allowing the child to have a voice in their own care.  You know that 9 years ago when you chose a Dr, you chose right.

E)  When the Dr asks Sporty about her “cheetah speed” you realize again that she’s not just another patient but that he gets what makes Sporty tick.

F)  When the Dr tells mom to not worry about the tightness because that’s what gives her the cheetah speed and it’s not inhibiting her and in fact one of his old patients just got a scholarship for UCLA and one is going to med school at UCSD, you try to set the worry aside and enjoy the moment.

G) When the Dr tells you not to come back until the summer you don’t know whether to jump for joy, cry tears of joy that we’re past our last hump, or be nervous because we’ve never, ever, in the history of Sporty, gone that long (10 months) between appointments!

Today was a very good appointment.  We haven’t had one of these in a long, long time.  Today I breath a really big sigh of relief.  It could all change very quickly because that’s what these clubfeet do, but today we’re celebrating and we’re optimistic for the first time in a really long time!  Today we feel like we’re truly beating clubfeet.

We were so wrapped up in the viewing of Despicable Me in the waiting room and the good news that we forgot a picture at Dr Fluffy Unicorn’s office!  But here’s Sporty and her two awesome feet, complete with Giant’s orange nail polish.

3D526FE8-5F84-4E63-90E8-A1D8AA7E7C28

And here’s hopefully our last AFO, I won’t be throwing it away, because I’m too sentimental for that but I won’t mind pushing it to the back of the closet cause we’ve got soccer and softball (and running club starts tomorrow) to focus on these days!

3AD92D3C-233A-49F4-9172-D4AE3110DA5A

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

About This Time 9 Years Ago…

9 years ago this month we found out via ultrasound that Sporty would be born with clubfeet. I can’t look at pictures like this, of Sporty completely in her element and not think about those tense moments 9 years ago when we found out our girl would be born “less than perfect.” I clearly remember hearing the Dr tell us she would have birth defects (a word I still have trouble accepting) that had them concerned, I remember the amino needle pulling amniotic fluid to test for other possible birth defects, I remember being told that she would barely walk let alone compete, and yet here we are, 9 years later, with Sporty thriving on whatever field she runs onto.

I’ve learned in the 9 years since her diagnosis that “perfect” has different meanings, that life hands you hardship sometimes but the most beautiful lessons lay in those hardships; that nothing can ever predict the power of the human spirit; that where there’s passion and drive, there is success; and that the most valuable lessons about heroism, bravery and persistence can be packed into 50lbs of 8 year old girl.

I look at photos like these and I can’t help but marvel at how far she’s come and how far she’ll continue to go. I look at photos like this and can’t help but feel gratitude not only for Dr Fluffy Unicorn but for Sporty’s spirit and persistence. I can’t help but feel thankful for a girl who was made to run.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Runs in the Family

Young Jedi was NOT a fan of soccer last year but we told him he had to do an activity so he chose baseball. Fortunately our city Little League runs a fall ball program for his age so we signed him up and he had his first practice last night. He had some anxiety heading to practice. I’ve learned with him that when he says he doesn’t want to do something or go somewhere and it’s stupid it’s because he has anxiety about it. We talked it over how it’s normal to be nervous since it was a new team and we didn’t know anyone but it’s ok because it’s supposed to be fun and Sporty and I were there. Well he stepped up and did great. He threw well, batted well, LISTENED to his coach well. I had sent his coach an email with a heads up about Young Jedi’s ADHD and his response was very positive. Sporty gave Young Jedi’s baseball performance two thumbs up!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What is ADHD?

My friend, Soul Sister, posted this question on her Facebook page to see what her friends’ perceptions of ADHD were.  Remember, Soul Sister is my friend who got us in with Dr Fix-It.  Her little guy is Young Jedi’s birthday twin and has ADHD and clubfoot so we met via clubfoot and later figured out our boys were Birthday Twins.  As Sporty says, “It’s fair because me and Birthday Twin have clubfeet and you (Young Jedi) and Birthday Twin have ADHD.”  I laughed and said “Well it’s not very fair to Soul Sister who has a double whammy of both diagnoses rolled into one kid.”  That was our funny conversation for the day a couple of days ago.

But I digress…I must say, having Soul Sister go through both journeys with me has been a God Send.  I don’t know what I would do without her.

Here are some of the comments (just a handful because she got a lot great responses) that she got from her experiment:

“I have suffered my whole life with this. ADHD is hearing the whole room instead of one voice, unable to complete a task, forgetting why you went into a room, interrupting others because you will forget what you have to say, and so on”

“Inability to focus and complete a single task due to the overstimulation of environmental, emotional, physical, social factors surrounding a person.”

“Largely and grossly misdiagnosed which makes it more difficult to service the ones that truly need it”

“And often misplaced judgment when sharing your struggle.”

“Misunderstood. You can literally watch the kids fighting to control their body and being unable to stop the impulses. Then hear parents call the kid a bad influence”

For our family ADHD is a lot of things.  It’s not understanding the way Young Jedi’s beautiful mind works.  It’s constant chaos, it’s walking on egg shells waiting for the bottom to fall out even on a good day.  It’s judgement, “oh he’s young and a boy, it’s not really ADHD.  He’ll grow out of it.”  “You’re not medicating, are YOU!?!”  It’s knowing your child stands out in the crowd.  It’s losing friends, for you AND your child.  It’s the assumption that your don’t discipline.  It’s the sinking feeling when you can tell the girl in front of your child is crying because she doesn’t want to stand in line next to him.  It’s wanting to fix your child and making their world bright and happy again but not knowing how because they have to be parented completely differently than your other child.  It’s your child apologizing for getting their name on the board at school but recognizing he has no control over his body.  It’s sadness knowing your child is trying so hard but just can’t be successful.  It’s your child being behind academically, like really behind and wanting to help them but them literally not having the capacity to sit still and do more academics after 4 hours at school.  It’s your other child enduring hits and punches and kicks for no reason.  It’s your child telling you they don’t want to be a part of your family because no one loves them.  It’s a lack of resources.  It’s always being “on” and ready for the next meltdown and never really being able to relax and decompress.  It’s going to the closet and crying over the struggle your child will have in life and hoping for the strength to help them fight those battles.  It’s lonely.  It’s isolating.  It’s all of these and so much more.

But at the end of the day, these are the faces of ADHD for Soul Sister and I, two sweet boys that deserve a chance at success and happiness.  The reason to keep fighting.

2CF8F850-7246-4947-B720-E55865E68E91

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

#soccermom

I had a nice afternoon of walking and riding bikes planned for today but there’s a massive wild fire nearby and we are shelter in place because of the smoke so I guess I’ll blog even though Young Jedi needs something every 30 seconds.

This weekend officially kicked off soccer season for Sporty with her first game on Saturday and a second game on Sunday.  I am now in soccer mom mode, driving around in my CR-V like the little mommy-UBER that I am.  I had flashbacks of softball weekends with the Saturday/Sunday game combo but it wasn’t so bad.  First, Young Jedi wasn’t there one Saturday so I didn’t have to try to entertain him and watch her at the same time.  He went to Marvel Universe Live with the Hubs.  Second, Saturday’s weather was perfect-o!  Breezy, cool, it was glorious.  And last and most importantly, it was 10 minutes down the road!  Fortunately, I still remember our packing routine from softball so I’ve got the wagon, supplies, and trunk arrangement down pat.

Sporty’s team looks GOOOD this season.  This is the third season together for most of them and the second season together for a handful, only because they are 4th graders and had to play up last year while the rest of the group played down.  They are in sync and communicate and they are in it to win!  Unfortunately, they lost the first game 1-2 but it was a tight game and they lost at the end of the second half.  We play them a couple more times this season so I know the girls will be looking for a win.  This team beat us a ton last year and the girls have the fire in their belly to get a win against them.

Sunday, they won 6-1.  Ironically, Sunday’s game was against Sporty’s travel softball coachs’ soccer team and she was extra aggressive going after the ball against her former softball teammates.  She got to the ball first every time, slowly her cheetah speed is returning.  Sporty didn’t have any goals this weekend but she had one assist and best of all, she was the first to high five her teammates who did score.  Let’s hear it for sportsmanship.

Sporty is loving this division in the rec league, they finally keep score and there are refs so she feels big time now!  And she’s super glad we didn’t move to the competitive team.  She’s gotten very close with most of the girls on the team and it’s so fun watching their bonds grow.

More on Young Jedi in a separate post, but I’ve seen some improvements in him the past couple of days.  He actually sat next to me on the picnic blanket and watched and cheered for Sporty’s team during a good portion of the game Sunday.  This is a huge improvement from the summer when he complained incessantly about sitting and watching Sporty play.  We are just about 3 weeks into fish oil supplements and 3 weeks without any food dyes in his diet so hoping we continue to see progress with him.  I’ll take small victories where I can get them.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment