Saturday, July 28, 2012

Busy Summertime

What a busy few weeks!  And so fun too!  Unschoolers Rock the Campout, Swimming at Alford Lake, Lake Chickie, Megunticook Lake/Barrett's Cove, Pemaquid Beach, Belfast City Pool, rowing with Come Boating, checking out and building stone sculptures at Rachel Carson Salt Pond Preserve, playing games on the computer and skyping with friends, reading books and hanging out with friends at homes and parks.

Li - Li is going through another phase where he feels compulsion to wash his hands.  I noticed that he has stopped eating eggs.  He used to eat them every 2 or 3, now he is not eating them very often at all.  I don't know if this has anything to do with why he is scrubbing his hands, but I am not ruling that out.  I will breathe and know this will pass again, or at least lighten up.  He finds that if he goes swimming, his hands get reddish like they have sunburn almost and I explained that I thought it was because he was washing too frequently and scrubbing a bit too hard.  I suggested he use wipes and he agreed if they were a certain kind.  I'll have to add that to the shopping list and see if that helps! I also thought of getting him gloves to wear like cotton gloves and he said he might like that.

Li - Li has suddenly developed more of an interest in reading!  A few months ago he liked the graphic greek mythology books (esp the Hades one) and lately he has enjoyed a Choose Your Own Adventure book as well as any of the Captain Underpants books.  We picked them up at the Rockport Library booksale a couple of weeks ago.  He also picked out a huge book called, "The Voyages of Ulysses" as well as a Mad Libs and some other books.  He reads at night with a flashlight, sometimes on car rides and takes them into the bathroom with him.  He has said more than once how he now understands why Katie likes reading so much.  I am glad he enjoys it too as I can identify with loving a good book!

Kanoa - He's full of energy, loud, runs all over the place, doesn't like to eat too much except cookies (chocolate chips are his favorite, though he did enjoy the recent batch of oatmeal-raisin ones I made), ice cream, donuts (specifically the chocolate covered ones Jim occasionally has with coffee), avocados, quesadillas (sometimes he says with no cheese), yogurt, oatmeal and raisins, raisin bread with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, pizza (plain only, with nothing weird on has to look okay to him and not have burned areas or tomato hunks, etc) and he loves smoothies (strawberry bananna with rice milk and sometimes vit c powder, but no "green ones").  We have added the game of sock wars to what we love to play.  He also loves to wield Li's foam sword around and hit things (I direct him to the soft things he can hit).  He plays a game with the Red Rocket and Blue Bomber (from Rockem Sockem Robots) where he leans them onto the bookshelf and then we throw socks or balls or use the sword or another object to try to hit them and pop the heads or knock them over.  Yes, he loves to destroy and beat and win.  Even going down the stairs is a contest and he'll say, "You wait here so I can win."  I usually play the game with him (and so do his siblings) unless I feel pressed for time.  He loves to play with his sea animals in the bathtub or take a bubble bath.  Sometimes he doesn't take a shower with me, but feels scared and so stands between the outside curtain and the liner until I'm done (I try to be quick).  He likes watching the Sideburns video, the sick happy wheels videos or watching someone else play the game, and watching cartoon video's of Mario, especially the one where Mario poops.  He gets a kick out of the same videos his siblings laugh at.  So, yeah, he sees some things my first or second born children would not have.  I don't fret as long as he seems okay with it.  He still doesn't articulate well, but that will come.  He still gets very frustrated and angry and upset frequently, though dare I say I have noticed that getting a teeny bit less very recently.  I wonder if one reason he has these is because he doesn't eat much protein rich foods.  He still nurses alot.  I still am with him almost all of the time, except for when I teach a dance class or go to the store.  I am so glad we are so connected to each other.

Tonight 8/28 I went to a dance show in Rockport and it was nice watching one dancer in particular whose technique was fabulous.  I knew some of the dancers in the show and they did a beautiful job!  It is fun especially when you know the people who are dancing.  I had my cell with me on vibrate only, but it never went off.  Kanoa was fine with Jim at home.

Today Jim and Katie picked up Wolfgang in the van and I took the other kids in the jeep to Phillips's 11th birthday party.  They met a boy Justin who plays on our server with them sometimes.  So cool how playing games online can be a way of making friends.  That is so new - at least to me!  It was so nice to hear Phillip say at his party that it was the best party ever and on the way home, my kids said the same thing!  What a nice time they all had.  Then they got to come home, shower and wait for Wolfgang, Katie and Daddy to come home.  Again, they were so excited because they love Wolfgang and call him "epic."  Then they got to have fun playing games and skyping and thinking and planning and talking about tomorrow when we may go to Fun Town Splash Town with Ruby!!

Katie has been downloading books to my Simple Nook and reading like it is going out of style.  She hangs out with friends and does lots of things that she finds silly and fun.  We've had some nice conversations and she's made me green tea when I felt kind of queasy last Thursday and it helped and I think she felt so good being able to help.  She's such a great person and I love her so so dearly!  We are so blessed to have her in our life.  She really is such a sunny person!

Makana skypes every day while she plays games.  She asks me often how to spell things.  She likes to write or draw in books that she made or in notebooks.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Whole people

I think I forget how much of a change it is from much of our culture to feel comfortable with the lives we are living - ie. the pace with with we learn and grow and change and accepting however-it-is as fine and right for that person rather than thinking it should be something different.

I am grateful for feeling comfortable with waking up when we feel rested and eating when we are hungry and staying in or going out as we feel like rather than thinking we *should* be doing other things.

I feel grateful for realizing that we don't have to be like anyone else.  I don't and my kids don't.  None of us do.  We are all different and that is okay.

I am grateful for feeling okay without being perfect and for accepting and loving myself and loving others who aren't perfect either, quirks and all.

Because of the acceptance of Who my kids Are and because they aren't being scrutinized and judged and made to jump through hoops and made to feel like they *should* be doing what others deem necessary and then graded, I am hopeful that they will think of themselves as whole people, with whatever skills and values and joys and talents and passions they have.  I doubt that they will feel like an epic fail or think they are deficient.  They wont' have to learn what others have deemed necessary for success in life or follow a timetable or learn in a linear fashion in order to progress.

It is a shame to me that over the past few years, labels have been assigned to so many kids in school and many of them have been drugged.  All these labels in the world today make me cringe.  That a person should be labeled with some kind of diagnosis seems like they aren't being accepted for Who They Are as a Whole and are instead separated into pieces with each piece being evaluated and scrutinized and analyzed and judged as pass or fail or mutated or much better than average.  Think how the people being judged feel!  Does the label make them feel like they have to live up to it?

Whether we perceive that label as positive or negative still can make a person feel uncomfortable, especially if they want to feel like they fit in.  This sounds so strange to me because we grow up and are told that we are all unique and special in our own way and a one of a kind and then if we are different more than others, we get labeled.  Whether labeled as gifted or needing some kind of help, many people want to fit in and not be seen as special or different, especially during certain years such as adolescence and for those in school in general.  I bet it must feel uncomfortable feeling and thinking that you are somehow different if you truly want to feel like you are "normal" and like everyone else.

I feel comfortable knowing that my kids will learn what is important to them and develop in their own way and in their own time.  I know I too am continuing to develop and learn what interests me.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Kanoa gets his split tooth pulled out 7/6/2012

On the way to the dentist.  Some background.....We had used healozone for over a year and a half as well as MI paste and gave him lots of good cow butter on toast and things (Ramiel Nagel's book Heal Tooth Decay).  I had been using sprax candies and xylitol toothpaste and MI paste, but did give him sweeties as he wanted them most of the time.  Finally when the tooth abscessed about two to three weeks ago, I read about what to do and spoke to different people about whether or not extraction was necessary.  Although one person wrote that she had had an abscess and not had her tooth extracted and all went fine, all the rest thought that extraction was necessary for various reasons and everything I read concurred with that as well.  I am glad that worked for her and so grateful she wrote to me to share her experience, but felt that for Kanoa's situation, that extraction was indeed what I thought was best.  Jim agreed.  I had interviewed several dentists about extraction and what if any kind of anesthesia would be needed.  I contacted the two dentists I considered and we met with one of them again and finally went with the one that both Jim and I felt used the safest medication.  We both liked this dentist and staff so much and felt that they were a great fit for this situation with Kanoa. And I am so glad we used this office!!  By using them, Kanoa did not need anything but lidocaine (we tried briefly the nitrous, but he didn't really want to keep on the nose mask, so when I went on the chair, the dentist said she wouldn't need it).  Because we only used lidocaine (and even if we had used the nitrous), he could eat, drink and nurse as he wanted to.  Had we gone with general anesthesia, he would not have been able to nurse or have anything by mouth after midnight.  I think people might wonder if he had this bad experience and was awake for it if he'd feel afraid of the dentist from now on.  Well, I don't know.  But I am still going to make the safest and best choice for Kanoa that I can make and not be fearful of future what-if scenarios.  I will take it one step at a time and not push what is not necessary.  This difficult situation was one difficult situation.  I don't normally force these kinds of things on my child.  I think he knows it.  We did some talking gently beforehand a few times.  He didn't respond much, but I know he heard me.  I think he still trusts me (in spite of this one difficult experience....I was honest with him about what to expect and why we needed to do it and I was grateful that we were able to go for a year and a half since it was first recommended for extraction....even though I had hoped that he could have avoided pulling it out at all).  Only time will tell how he'll feel in the future if/when he has a dental appointment.  I will follow his lead.  He doesn't have to go or open his mouth or do anything that he doesn't feel comfortable with.  And I won't make him unless his health is in jeopardy, so likely he'll have alot of time to get used to working with dentists as he sees fit.

Brought things I thought that might be comforting and some favorite books (Can We Sleep Here Tonight, Katy Cat and Beaky Boo a lift the flap book, and Harry the Dirty Dog a treasury of three stories)

Waiting Room - We drew pictures of different kinds of ice cream that  different people would like and played various kinds of waiting games.  I forgot his DS!!!  It was still home being charged up.  Li and Makana shared theirs, but the Kirby game was home and that was his favorite.  He wanted to hide under the chairs and not have the appointment.  But Daddy distracted him into interesting things to do.  Finally he was called and only he and I were to go in.  He said he had to pee first, so he used the bathroom first.  

It wasn't totally easy.  The helper who I love took his blood pressure.  She was supposed to leave the cuff on, but he didn't want it on and so she took it off.  She gave him a q-tip with the cherry numbing stuff on it and he held it.  I saw him start to put it toward his mouth and he touched it to his tongue as I said, "Don't put that in your mouth."  My words and the numbing feeling weren't good and he cried and wanted water to get the taste out.  He had water and then wanted to switch seats.  So he moved to the seat where customers usually sit and I moved to the seat on the side of the room.  When the dentist came in, the helper explained what happened that had caused the crying.  We then were ready to begin the work.  He wanted to sit by himself and so we tried that, but he wouldn't let them put the numbing stuff on his tooth and started moving.  I asked if he could sit on my lap and so we tried that.  I know this sounds horrible, but I helped to hold him while they did what they needed to do, holding head still and trying to keep his legs from knocking down the instrument table and people.  One helper also helped to hold a leg that got loose as she continued to try to give the dentist whatever tool she needed and also use the liquid sucker instrument.  Another helper talked gently into his ear reminding him of ice cream and saying things to try to comfort him.  I don't even remember what I had tried to say, but decided to be quiet as there was enough going on.  During one moment, I asked the dentist if she was okay and she said she was fine.  I was relieved that she was okay to keep working and just get that tooth out, even though it was this hard.  I would have hated to stop at that point only to have to do it again another time!  He screamed when the numbing stuff was smeared on and especially when he got the shot to numb his tooth.  He was still very upset when the dentist was working to pull the tooth, though it was done VERY quickly.  When it was out, the dentist said it was all done.  I no longer held him, but tried to comfort him.  I nursed his bloody numb mouth for just a few moments and then he didn't want to nurse, but was so upset.  That is when he was free to move and he needed to thrash around.  There was concern  from the helper that he might hurt his head on the chair and so I moved to the floor and let him stand and tried to comfort him there.  He began to move in upsetness again and I sat indian style and tried to comfort him or just Be there with him letting him get out what he needed to.  But the dentist started to yell at him to "stop it now" - and I think she truly just didn't know what to do and maybe thought that would help or isn't used to that much upsetness being allowed and most of all she probably didn't want him to hurt himself or her equipment in the small room - and I did get that and immediately and simply asked if she wanted me to take him outside. She agreed and as I picked Kanoa up into my arms he began to relax.  Perhaps the act of standing up and holding him was comforting (and I should have realized that as I know this about him but forgot in that moment) and as we were heading out of the room Jim and the kids were there and I asked Jim to get our stuff and I went out the exit doors that the helper opened for us right to the sunshine.  The dentist came outside and the helper and they sat on the steps and we briefly talked.  She told me that I did great in handling it and that she agreed with my concerns regarding safety of anesthesia.  I asked a question about how to care for the missing tooth area and the healing process.  Jim got the how to care for him paper and she said she'd bill us and that if we ever needed her services again to let her know.  I asked her if we could take the tooth home and she said it was full of bacteria, but we could take a picture of it.  Jim went back in to take a picture of the tooth.  I would have spoken to her more about WHY we couldn't take the tooth home, but Kanoa started to want to go to the car and that took my attention.  I gave the dentist and one of the helpers a hug and thanked them again and off to the van we went.  On to get ice cream!!  We brought our pictures of the ice cream dishes we drew with us.  Phew!!!!  A zillion times phew!!!  So glad that was over with.  My stomach was in such knots in the morning and I ended up with a headache till the next morning.  I wonder how Kanoa felt as he isn't able to say how he feels very much.  I know some three year olds could, but Kanoa is Kanoa and doesn't express himself as clearly or as much as others might.  So, I wonder how he was feeling beforehand and during and after.  Oh...and with the mouth opener, they used it when they needed it, but took it out when they didn't HAVE to use it as they could see that was difficult for him.  I was grateful that they really paid attention to what worked and didn't work for him.  I would recommend that dentist to someone for sure!  They made this experience pretty darn good in spite of it not being easy for Kanoa.  I am grateful.

Getting out of the car to go get ice cream.  

Things are looking a little better.

Trying to enjoy what normally seems good.

Sigh.....wish it had been easier for him.  I love him so much.

The other kids got sundaes which we don't normally get.  

Blood on my shirt from his mouth.

He did bounce back to normal quite fast.  We went home and he watched silly videos with Makana and laughed big belly laughs.  Then Kanoa and I watched Land Before Time IV while snuggling on the couch.  He ate some quesadilla while we watched.  By evening he was playing Just Dance III with Katie and Makana.  Dancing around like he felt great. 

Li and Makana and Friends Rowing with Come Boating in BelfastA

On Thursday 7/5/2012, the kids went to the Belfast City Pool and park and then went rowing with Come Boating!  We then listened to live music at Heritage Park and had some ice cream on this hot evening.  Love these kinds of Thursdays!  :)  I am looking forward to being able to row someday myself!  I would also love to get out on the water to paddleboard.  For now, I swim and play with the kids on my BZ board at the lake.  Jim and I have talked about cleaning the mouse house out of the kayaks and giving it a go now that Kanoa is a bit older and may be able to enjoy it for a short ride.  Need some way to get the kayaks to the lake though..maybe roof racks.  

Azure and Makana got to sit together as long as they were careful to be still.

Makana said she felt a little uneasy when people got onto the boat as the vessel became wobbly.   She later said she had  considered getting off, but decided to stay on.  I had a feeling she was thinking that and stayed close in case.  In a couple of minutes, as she had more experience with people laying on, she looked more comfortable.  

This is one thing that kept Kanoa busy while I was taking pictures and watching the  people on the boat.

Love this picture of Kanoa!!  Why is he so happy?  'Caus he got to sit in Makana's booster seat while I moved the car to a better space just a few feet away and then we were going to get ice cream!

Oh was he happy!  He LOVES ice cream!  And it was so nice and air conditioned inside on this hot day!

Love the old fashioned atmosphere of this store!  And the prices are reasonable  -  about a dollar and a half for a kiddie size dish.  

This is Katie's old t-shirt he's wearing.

After the boat got back in, we hula hooped, jumped, chased, ate popcorn and listened to live music on the lawn by the docks.  It was so hot still!  Li and Kana wanted ice cream too and so we got some for them before heading home.  There are new artsy places to sit all over Belfast.  This one looks like a nest.  My own baby birds decided to try them out!