Sunday, November 4, 2012

Eleven Random Things

1.  One of Alex’s new quirks is to blurt out types of foods suddenly and randomly. He’ll be sitting quietly, seemingly in deep thought, and suddenly say, “Mango,” or “Polish sausage,” or “Cupcakes.” Apparently, he spends a great deal of time thinking about food. If we ask him if he’s hungry, he’ll usually tell us that he’s not, he’s just thinking about food. Finding this random chain of thought interesting, I thought I’d similarly share some random things that have occurred to me this week, most of which have nothing to do with food—I’ll leave that to Alex.

2.  The one random thing that does have to do with food is Alex’s new love of “porridge.” I had mentioned in a recent blog entry that Alex has rediscovered the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears, which he likes me to read to him again. I think he’s amused that I can do three different voices for the bears—Daddy Bear’s deep voice, Mommy Bear’s medium voice, and Baby Bear’s squeaky voice. Apparently wanting to emulate the bears and Goldilocks, he decided that he would like to eat porridge, which took some research on my part to find what porridge is and whether he could eat it on his gluten-free, milk-free diet. The closest approximation I could find for porridge is a gluten-free oatmeal made with water instead of milk. While I wouldn’t touch the mushy stuff with a ten-foot pole, Alex seems to think he has a real treat in porridge, one of his new favorite foods.

3.  The past few weeks, Alex has taken up sleepwalking, which is a bit disconcerting because awakening to a six-foot-tall, half-asleep young man prowling in the hallway in the middle of the night is frankly creepy. Since we don’t want him tumbling down our rather steep stairs to the main floor, Ed and I have been sleeping lighter, listening for Alex to open his bedroom door and start his nightly jaunts. Fortunately, he’s docile and cooperative about being led back to bed, and all three of us are able to go back to sleep quickly afterward. We’ll just be glad when he gets past this phase.

4.  Another recent phase is Alex’s renewed interest in the Disney movie Shrek. When he was younger, Shrek was his favorite movie; in fact, I think Shrek is one of the few movies, other than the Disney cartoons that he watched when he was little, that he has watched in entirety and repeatedly. Perhaps feeling nostalgic, Alex has watched the Shrek movie trailers on You Tube many times the past few weeks. Every time, he finds them really funny, as if he’d never seen them or heard the jokes before. I think it’s sweet that just watching the short clips brings a smile to his face; how nice that something so simple makes him so happy.

5.  Harkening back to his younger days, Alex has also been asking about his childhood doctor. Although she retired a few years ago, Alex often mentions her because he felt a close bond with her during the nearly ten years she took care of him. Last month, I heard the sad news that she had passed away from cancer, which was hard for me because she had been instrumental in helping Alex deal with his various medical conditions and supporting us as his parents. She genuinely cared about her patients on a personal level and did everything she could to restore their health. I wasn’t sure how Alex would take the news of her passing, but when he asked me about her, I explained that she had gotten sick, died, and gone to heaven. Alex seemed to mull this over, satisfied that she was in a better place. However, he did ask if he could call her in heaven, and like Alex, I wish we could call her to let her know we’re thinking of her, and to be truthful, to get her medical advice occasionally.

6.  Speaking of phone calls, in my blog entry a few weeks ago “Woman’s Day Magazine,” I discussed how talking on the phone with the writer of the article, Marjorie Ingall, was amazingly easy, even though we’d never met. This week I read Marjorie’s blog entry “pam and alex” [To read her blog, click here.], in which she shares that she felt a similar comfort level in chatting with me. As she points, out, even though we differ in some key areas, we found these differences didn’t matter. We liked each other and enjoyed talking to one another. I had to laugh at her description of my blog as having “a whole lotta Jesus going on” and had to agree that I, like she, “felt comfortable instantaneously, two seconds into our first conversation.” And, Marjorie, if you’re reading this, you rock, too.

7.  One of the surprise benefits of having our family featured in the November issue of Woman’s Day magazine in the article “Caring for Alex” was that a close friend of mine from junior high who now lives in California saw the article and contacted me. Even though we haven’t been in touch for more than thirty years, we found common ground in our shared past and in our present day as mothers trying to do what’s best for our children. Guided by our faith and shaped by the difficulties our children face, we can now support each other through prayer and renewed friendship.  We’re both certain that God brought us together again; no randomness was involved here.

8.  This week, we were uncertain as to how Alex would react to Halloween and trick- or-treaters coming to our door. When he was little, Alex loved Halloween, dressing up in costumes I made for him, decorating pumpkins, and going trick-or-treating. As he got older, he enjoyed watching kids come to our house for treats. Since Ed had to teach on Halloween night, Alex and I were left to give out the goodies. Right before the designated trick-or-treat time, Alex suddenly had an anxiety attack and started saying repeatedly that he wanted “to be one, two, or three again.” I suppose he wished he were little enough to dress up and go trick-or-treating himself. Fortunately, he was able to pull himself together fairly quickly and then seemed to enjoy watching kids come to our door. It’s hard to be a little kid trapped in a young man’s body.

9.  On the other hand, Alex, who will turn twenty-one next month, participated in a rite of passage that delighted him as he voted for the President for the first time. With his interest in politics and Presidents, Alex has taken voting seriously and has participated in every Election Day since he turned eighteen and became of legal voting age. However, he had to wait until this year to have his chance to vote for the President. Watching his delight and pride in voting was truly a special event that made Ed and me proud as parents. With Election Day on Tuesday, we’ll see if his candidate wins, which will make his first Presidential election even more special.

10.  This week, we also encountered another calendar milestone that Alex usually anticipates happily—the change from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. With the changing of the clocks back one hour, we’re never certain how this will impact Alex’s sleep patterns. I always debate as to whether we should try to keep him awake longer or not. Fortunately, he made the decision for me, as he wound up staying up later because while he was waiting for Ed to come home from the Valparaiso University basketball game, he developed hiccups that kept him awake. He seemed not to be bothered by the hiccups, which was good, and Ed and I were surprised when he clearly asked a question (especially since lately he has limited his speech to only a few words often said quietly), “What was the score of the basketball game?” Maybe hiccups jolted his brain so that he could verbalize his thoughts better, or maybe he’s more alert when he stays up a little later. Whatever the reason, hearing him ask a good question was pleasant for us.

11.  And finally, this week, we found out that enrollment in the day program where we’re hoping to place Alex seems to be on hold even longer. Originally, we were told that they wanted a behavioral assessment and behavior plan in place prior to enrolling him. Now that the assessment and plan are nearly complete, we have been told that the day program currently has no openings.  While we still believe that this program will be good for Alex, Ed and I are convinced that the delay has a purpose to give Alex time to get better so that he’ll be successful once he gets there. I recently saw a quote that has helped me deal with my tendency to become impatient when I have to wait for things: “Faith is not just trusting God, but also trusting His timing.” I’m sure God has a plan, and we just wait for the right time.

 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”  Romans 8:28


Anonymous said...

Porridge is just oatmeal. Maybe instead of water, you could use almond milk? It is gluten free and dairy free, and comes in many tasty flavors like vanilla, chocolate, etc. Vanilla almond milk would make really yummy oatmeal. Anyway, wish you many peaceful days reading with Alex and hope he gets into the day program soon.

Pam Byrne said...

Thanks for your nice comment and for the tips to make porridge/oatmeal a little tastier! I appreciate your good wishes and keep waiting patiently for the day program.
Take care,