Friday, January 17, 2014

A Day In The Life of Special Needs

God made sure some folks needed an extra dose of humility, grace, and mercy.

He also made sure some folks enjoyed the little bitty things a lot more.

He made them parents of special needs children.

Today I needed that extra grace and mercy as I fought off a 120 pound child with swinging arms and kicking legs.  I needed the dexterity of an acrobat as I dodged pieces of broken plastic from said child's newly demolished toy box (aka a large plastic tote about 3 feet long).  Patience was in high demand as a screaming banshee sprung forth from my normally docile child's mouth.  Patience started slipping away and hiding as contingency plans seemed to melt away.

The cause of the whole meltdown combined with a huge tantrum?  It was time to get ready for the school bus and let go of awarded computer time.  Each morning that said child gets up on time and gets ready for school in a timely manner, he earns computer time, and then must relinquish the computer afterward to prepare for the bus that transports him to his self contained classroom.  He earned a half hour this morning, and used every minute of it.

At the same time, child number two decided we all needed his gift of high pitch siren yelling as he flapped around the upstairs, ran up and down the stairs, and then around the downstairs, followed by stomping and whining after reminders to check his room and make his bed.  Child number 3 did her own rendition of the stomping hissy fit with reminders to get dressed within 60 minutes, make her bed, pick up her room, and brush her hair.  For good measure she even threw in a few high pitched whines of her own.

Such is a regular school morning here.  We don't have aggression regularly (anymore) from child number one, but instead we have the wild yelling and dancing and jumping of a boy listening to fast beat music on his mp3 player.  The high pitch whines and sirens from children 2 and 3...normal.

The Lord dishes out His grace, mercy, and extra patience in the mornings at our house.  He has to.  As we raise 3 children on the autism spectrum, all 3 with varying degrees of ADHD (ranging from mild to extreme), 1 with mild mental retardation, we pray for wisdom and mercy, patience to handle the day's happenings, and relief when the day is done.

We also learn to enjoy the little things along the way.  Like the moments when our high pitch siren decides to obey on the first time being reminded to pick up his toys, or when child with more passive aggressive tendencies responds instead of shuts down.  Or when the child who is aggressive is able to calm himself down and not raise a finger, but instead work out his problem without hurting himself or others.  Or when they three work together and have an enjoyable evening.

Some days, I feel like the child in the above picture instead of the mom who must maintain composure in order to keep the rest of the troops coordinated.  Other days I can be the drill instructor, "suck it up and let's go!".

But, each day, I must run to the Lord, seek Him out, and lean on Him.

"One day at a time, sweet Jesus, that's all I'm asking from You."

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