Tuesday, May 17, 2011


     We did a firepit last night in the backyard for family night. It's often nice to break free from having a gospel oriented lesson and just enjoy being outside and being together. We all have camping fever and eagerly await a time when the mountains are no longer covered in snow. I'm not sure that will happen any time soon. I think this might be the year when several new glaciers start to grow. In any case, sitting around the fire, roasting hot dogs and making s'mores was a nice alternative to camping. The smoke stung our eyes and made breathing difficult and Ian had to have an asthma treatment when all was said and done, but we had a grand time.
     I always have a bit of anxiety when Ian is around fire. It can be campfires, fireworks, sparklers, a BBQ... He is such an exuberant boy and he never seems to look where he's going when running, walking, riding a bike, or swinging around a flaming marshmallow.
     From the moment I brought the firepit into the backyard, Ian started to hyper focus. He was extremely helpful at first because he was so excited. He helped set up chairs, gather wood from the woodpile, set up a table for the food, and then ask me for matches. Like I'd give an eight-year-old matches! Psh!
     I gave him the matches--but only because I knew Scott was waiting for them. Ian proudly carried the little box outside to his dad, and together they lit the fire. Once a fire is lit, Ian seems to think that you need to put all the wood on at once. The bigger the better, right? If there's fire, he is constantly throwing sticks on it and and our firepit night was no different. Every tiny twig had to be on the fire. Expect for his fire stick. He saved one piece of wood specifically for stirring the fire. And he spent a good portion of the evening doing just that. He'd stir, then lift up his stick to see if it was burning. If it was burning he'd run to the dirt and jab his stick into the ground. Then he'd come back to the fire and do it again. Sometimes, if his stick was just smoking, he'd wave it around in the air making smoke signals, nearly igniting his siblings.
     As for the food? Ian had to put every hot dog wiener on a stick. It simply was not in his power to let us do that for ourselves. Which drove me crazy. I can't stand to have little kid germs on my food. And he'd roast marshmallows for the sheer pleasure of watching them burn. He didn't eat them. He just caught them on fire and tried to make s'mores, using the cancerous marshmallow, that he'd then serve to the rest of us.
     Now, Ian is a great multi-tasker. He accomplished all of these things I've written about simultaneously. He was zipping back and forth so fast that he reminded me of Forrest Gump's ping pong ball. He'd ping from the food to the firepit and then ricochet back to the food and then ping to his smoldering stick in the dirt. Ping! Ping-Ping! Ping-Ping-Ping! And when he got tired of pinging he decided we should all play Duck-Duck-Goose. Except he changed the words. He started with Beka. "Toilet water," on to Zack, "Toilet water," my turn, "Toilet water," I now knew what was coming, "Toilet water," he hit Tawni on the head, "POOP!" We played several versions of that game including butthead/butthole and chocolate/poop. Interesting how it's all potty humor.
     Around eight o'clock Scott decided we should wrap up our evening and he let Ian put out the fire. Ian held the hose with both hands and assumed his best fireman stance. Then Scott turned on the water. Ian held his finger over the nozzle so that the water would come out in a powerful stream and he bravely and single-handedly saved us all from a hellish inferno.
     Then he had to be rescued by his mother and his asthma inhaler.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Just the Way You Are

     I haven't written anything in over a month. I've thought about it several times, but the thoughts never quite became actions. Ever since CoCo left, I've been a bit unmotivated. I've read an insane amount of literature, slept in most mornings, showered once in a while, and played Farkle on Facebook. Productivity definitely took a back seat. I think after such an intense three months my poor brain and body wanted a break. The month of April did that for me. Now I'm good to go.
     At the end of February, I met with Ian's teachers at school for his annual IEP. Last fall I pushed and pushed for them to do more testing on Ian. I felt that he was falling behind and getting lost in the shuffle of other students. They did the testing and during his IEP we discussed the results. The whole meeting lasted for an hour-and-a-half. Believe me, that's long for an IEP. The results of the testing confirmed my suspicions and fears. The older Ian gets, the wider the developmental gap becomes between him and his peers. He does progress, but it happens so slowly that he just falls further and further behind the norm. His IQ was quite low and his cognitive function was at 1% of the average. The testing determined that Ian's disabilities are something that he will never outgrow. As his mother, I already knew this. But the school didn't. As a result of the testing, Ian now receives one-on-one instruction in the resource room for reading, language,spelling and math. He is in the regular classroom to receive his assignments and participate in centers, but all the other time is spent in resource. And he hates it.
     He hates feeling singled out. He hates having to actually put forth some effort and do his work. He hates not being with his friends. He hates "being stupid."
     Ian is at an age now where he recognizes that he is different in some ways from the other kids. He asks a lot of questions about his birth mother and the drugs she took during her pregnancy. He wants to know, "Why did she do drugs? Didn't she know that was bad for my body?" I'm very truthfull with him and try to explain things in terms that he can understand. I let him know that his birth mother loved him--and she did. I knew her and worked with her before adopting Ian. The decision to give Ian up was difficult for her, but she did it because she loved him and felt that God wanted him to be with us. I've let Ian know that. But someday he's going to understand more fully the extent of the damage the drugs caused to his body and brain. And it's going to hurt him. It will hurt his heart to know that his birth mother wouldn't stop doing drugs in order to protect him. I just pray that as time goes by, I'll know what to say and how to say it so that the hurt might be minimal. I pray that he will feel so loved by all of us, that it might make up for the things he's had to suffer. I never want him to question whether or not he belongs to this family. He does. Without any doubt. We prayed for him to come to us. I knew that Heavenly Father wanted us to adopt a boy, and we waited for him. When the time came, there wasn't a doubt that he was meant to be part of our family.
     I often have to remind myself of those things when he's being especially difficult. Which he has been for the last month. I think the changes at school have affected him, not to mention a slothful mom. He struggles with change and it's shown in his behavior. He's had a lot of meltdowns and tantrums. He's also been very demanding and impatient. More so than usual. Scott and I have had to come up with a little reward system for him. Scott gets paid once a month so Ian knows, if he does his homework and reading, he gets to pick out a toy or videogame each payday. This has helped. He's much more cooperative with reading, even reminding me that we need to do it. He knows that if he misses a night, he misses a toy.
     I hope this next month is better for him. I hope I can help him learn to love and accept himself for who he is. He's an amazing boy and I'm blessed to be his mother.