Friday, November 21, 2008

A wrestling Mom relieved...

I have a few confessions.
1) Before Dane decided to wrestle in 7th grade, I had NEVER been to a wrestling meet. Ever.
2) If my boys did not wrestle, I would have been happy to hold the status quo on #1 forever and ever.
3) I'm catching on, but I still don't really understand the sport of wrestling like I do basketball (which I played) and football (which I didn't play, but enjoy anyway).

I blame all of the above from the fact that when I was in high school, wrestlers were, for the most part, disgusting! They were obsessed with their weight to such an extreme that they spit in a cup all day at school. They wore plastic under their clothing to sweat all day, with the hope of losing another pound or two. They ate little and exercised like crazy people. And then they spit some more. And then they obsessed about their weight some more. To "normal" non-wrestling people, wrestlers were an odd "club". To this day, I can look back in my high school annuals and know the time of year that certain photos were taken of certain boys, as they had the gaunt, anorexic look of a die-hard wrestler in the height of the season.

So I sort of blamed it on God's sense of humor when Dane announced in 7th grade that he was going to wrestle. In our school, you can do BOTH basketball and wrestle during 7th and 8th grades, so I rolled my eyes and allowed him the experience......always greedily hoping that he would choose basketball as a freshman. It was not meant to be, and Dane is now a freshman wrestler. Grant, of course, is following Dane's pattern and will wrestle until Christmas as a 7th grader, and then play basketball from January-February. Dane, as a freshman, will wrestle now until roughly President's Day. Its a long season for the high school wrestling team.

I have to admit that I was relieved two years ago to find out that, in Junior High, the boys are not encouraged to lose weight for wrestling. But it was always with dread that I looked ahead to high school, knowing that self-induced hunger would come with time, if Dane stuck it out. At 5'9" and 162 pounds, he is a healthy and tough football lineman. Its a good weight for him at age 15, and I have not looked forward to him spitting in a cup to reach some ridiculously low number on a scale.

So......I braced myself as he headed into this season as a HIGH SCHOOL wrestler. But much to my pleasant surprise, drastic weight loss is no longer allowable in high school wrestling! In fact, they test EVERY athlete before EVERY meet for proper hydration on three parts of their body. If they fail to meet a certain level of hydration, they don't wrestle that meet. Period. WOW! What a pleasant change!! There will be no spit cups, no kid wrapped in saran wrap, and any other insane weight loss program that makes Jenny Craig look like a calorie fest.

Suddenly, wrestling season is looking "up" for this Mom. If I don't have to watch my sons get gaunt and anorexic for this sport, maybe I can learn to figure out the scoring system. And maybe I can even learn to call that thingy they wear a singlet rather than a "one-sie". :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Red" Days

Somewhere along the research path on sensory processing, I have picked up on the habit of referring to Jennica's more sensitive days as "red" days. She is having fewer red days lately, which is a really good thing for her, as it means that she is controlling her reactions to her environment before she is feeling out of control and starts exhibiting outward signs of stress.

For whatever reason, she rolled out of bed this morning on "red." I'm not sure what triggered it, but its been awhile since she has been this out-of-sync so early in the morning. From a distant standpoint, it has to be somewhat amusing to watch a child say white to every black, and black to every white. I went through my standard disciplinary routine, tried to change her mood mid-stride, and she was actually pretty happy by the time she got to school. But this was AFTER spending a patience-testing 10 minutes convincing her that she could stand to have her toothbrush in her mouth today. And having her spend a solid 4 minutes in time out for getting mad and hitting me about getting dressed. (Hitting gets disciplined.......bad sensory day or not.)

So, by the time I reached my desk this morning, I felt like I had done four rounds with the captain of the Harvard Debate Team, and spent two quarters in the NFL as a nose tackle. I'm pretty convinced that if all kids were sensory defensive at 7:00 in the morning, liquor stores would open for the parents at 8:00 a.m. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Its all about the quality of the journey...

The last few weeks have been BUSY. While I don't talk here much about it, our youngest daughter has some sensory processing issues. We've recently "ramped up" our expectations again, which means a ton of new information to read and a whole lot of detective work to figure out what truly makes her tick, so we can provide her with options for coping through her life full of sensory input.

I think, for me, the hardest part of dealing with sensory processing is that so few people have ever heard of it, and don't know how to deal with something that they can't see. I've decided that as parents, we all tend to like visible health issues........rashes, runny noses, scratches and bruises......we can deal with those. But the "bumps and bruises" on the soul are much harder to understand and treat.

Jennica is truly a miracle child, and she is the original purpose behind the title of this blog. Her daily life is miraculous! We took full custody of her at 7 weeks, not knowing how functional she would be. Talking and walking were in serious question, much less anything more. We made the commitment at that point in time to help her find her success in her own journey. And what a journey it has been! She has an amazing vocabulary, and can "swing from the trees with the greatest of ease"!! Literally! All motor functions, speech, and a billion other things that make us human are fully intact and we are so grateful. She has overcome so many of the genetic questions to which she was born!

But, in a sensory-defensive child, the appearance of normalcy is both a gift and a curse. In a public setting, she may throw desperate tantrums after hours of over-stimulating light, visual, and noise input. She is constantly seeking greater input, which means that she wants to run faster, yell louder, climb higher, and touch more things than any other kid you've ever met. A child that is externally and obviously disabled would be viewed by passersby and forgiven for their actions. Jennica just appears to be a spoiled brat. And even we, who try very hard to live in her world at times have no idea if she hears deafening static in an over-stimulating environment, or worse, minute details of EVERY conversation within 100 feet. Until she understands that not everyone senses the world that she senses, we won't be able to get her to communicate what she feels/hears/sees. To her, her world IS normal.

So.......we continue to read and learn. At four and a half, she is now developmentally ready to really benefit from therapy. We've done OT in the past, but were "given the boot" as she was typically-developing for that age group. Now, we're resuming it once again. And yet, she continues to be so "normal" in so many ways. It is difficult to identify what tacts to take without consistent behaviors. She went into complete meltdown during an evening outing with a large crowd of children two weeks ago, but survived 60 minutes in Chuck E. Cheese this past weekend with complete calm, and had a blast! I can barely do 60 minutes in Chuck E. Cheese!!! Its baffling to try to understand why she overloads so quickly in one situation, but not in the next.

I can only say that I am still so grateful to share this journey with her, wherever it may lead. As she swings from the trees by her toenails, fights with her toothbrush every morning, and tries to make as much noise as possible on metal bleachers at a football game........I'm eternally grateful to be her Mom.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

What a week!

Suddenly, it is late on Friday. I don't know where the week went. This was election-start-of-jr-high-wrestling-end-of-high-school-football-lots-of-places-to-be-week. I should have put the election part in capitals, as that turned out to be a BIG deal. Perhaps it is because I viewed this election partly through the eyes of my sons, who were really engrossed in watching the first presidential election that they were old enough to care about. Or perhaps it was because Barack Obama made this is a really compelling race (regardless of who you voted for) due to being the first black man elected to the White House. I'm not sure what it was...........but it WAS fascinating.

So anyway........I'm rambling and don't really have anything interesting to say. Not sure why I'm even here actually. Hmmmm.............guess I shall go find something useful to do. Like be a couch potato on this first Friday evening in two months without a football game. :)