I am probably too hard on my kids at times. Meaning......... I expect alot from them and hold them to a higher standard than what our society as a whole holds kids in general accountable for. I mention this because while I often think that maybe I am not doing a very good job, God reminds me time and time again that my efforts are not in vain.
This morning as I was going around the house helping to get kids ready and off to school, I saw Anna helping William with his shoes. I didn't ask. I thought it was sweet. Thank you God for teaching me to stop and smell the roses and appreciate my children for their genuine effort to do what is right and shine their light for you even when they know I am not watching.
Annalyn and Sveta hate the clothes they are wearing in this picture. The mere fact that they are not thankful to have a closet full of clothes and that they sometimes choose to make clothes more important than schoolwork and a good attitude means that sometimes I have to step in and quickly pick their clothes out for them so that they could move on to something more important. They fight me on it for like 10 minutes and then they quickly get over it and usually end up liking the clothes and wearing them again anyway.
Here they are arguing about who is taller.
Fall is here and it is time to get out the long pants and sweaters.
This job is one of my least favorite things to do. I have to literally remind myself to be thankful that we have boxes and boxes of clothes to wear or else I would probably throw a pity party because of all the clothes I have to go through. As of now, three or four boxes sit at the top of stairs and serve as a gate to keep Dennis from going downstairs unsupervised. We are all teaching Dennis how to go down the stairs on his bottom--- much safer than him trying to walk down.
Believe it or not, Dennis is behind that blanket and Andrew and Sveta are trying to figure out how to swing him AND keep the sun out of his eyes.
Dennis just got used to the brightness after a while and almost fell asleep while he was swinging.
Jonny loves to hang on his brothers. Sometimes they love it... most times they hate it. Here is Jonny trying to hang on Caleb's back.
I have been struggling with my feelings about Sveta's FAS lately. Not about her personally because I love her regardless and accept her fully as she is, but more about what I know she is and is not capable of doing verses what others who first meet her yet don't know her and subtly act like I am hindering her full potential by not giving her certain freedoms. I feel defensive because after three years of her being with us and us being able to track her progress with school and behavior and knowing in our heart what she is capable of and having the "expert" reports to prove it, I more than anyone want her to be all that she can be. She just isn't able too, and we have grieved this for her, but it is really offensive when someone will come along and say oh you should've put her in a higher grade because she doesn't appear to have any delays or I bet she will surprise you and end up driving one day. Reality is such that this will just not happen. And by me saying this, I am not hindering her or making excuses for her, I am simply stating the reality of her life.
Let me share a story a with you. The other day, Annalyn let Sveta borrow a pair of her shoes. Keyword is borrow. Anyway, Sveta took it upon herself to cut off the straps from the sandals because she wanted to wear them like flip flops. Later when Annalyn saw this she just gave the shoes to Sveta before coming to tell me because she didn't want the cut shoes anymore. When I went to Sveta to ask her why she cut Annalyn's shoes when they weren't hers, Sveta argued with me until she was blue in the face that they were hers and therefore she could do what she wanted with them because Annalyn had given them to her. No matter how I tried to explain it, Sveta could not understand that Annalyn had first only let her borrow them to wear and only gave Sveta the shoes after they were ruined.
"Why did you cut Annalyn's shoes, Sveta when she only said you can wear them one time?"
"She didn't say that Mom! Annalyn give them to me because she don't want them." This just was not the case according to Annalyn and the rest of the girls but trying to convince Sveta of that is another story.
Besides little things like this that we have come to accept with Sveta and help her to work through the best we can, I wish the school would see that she needs to not only be taught new stuff, but be reinforced with the old stuff. Not only should Sveta continue to learn new concepts but she should also consistently go over prior concepts so that she can retain those concepts and build upon them. They have her working on addition and subtraction word problems but now she has regressed and no longer knows all of her subtraction, addition or multiplication facts. At what stage in the game do we stop and say what's the point of her memorizing her math facts if she still doesn't understand the concept of addition and subtraction let alone multiplication? Sveta can't understand for the life of her that if you have 3 apples, 2 cherries and 7 bananas and you are asked to find out how many pieces of red fruit there is then you have to leave out the yellow bananas. Does this sound like a child who will be able to understand a written driving test and pass it? I just don't see it happening.
Sveta behaves very well 99% of the time and is very outgoing having learned to pretend to be more mature than she really is by initiating interesting conversations with whatever adult is around. This is not an attachment thing trust me, but when I don't allow Sveta the freedoms that I allow her younger siblings, I sense disapproval from some people that I am not letting her be a big girl. This is a very frustrating thing about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome that really is the invisible disability.
We will be having an IEP meeting soon and I can't help but think in the back of my mind that the school is trying to convince me that she doesn't need as many services as I think she does because she actually has more potential than I give her credit. I know that this isn't fair for me to think of this new school who is nothing like our old school district. I sure hope I am wrong because she needs every bit of the services that are in her IEP.
I will continue my thoughts at a later time...... if you have questions about FAS now is a great time to ask.
Tonight, we were blessed, and boy do I mean blessed. A wonderful church family that has taken us under their wings to make sure we feel welcome at church and to introduce us to everyone there offered to watch all 11 of our kids so that we could go see Fireproof. This was such a treat, and I am incredibly thankful that we had this night out. The movie was just awesome, and for even those with already strong marriages, it only solidifies them all the more once you see firsthand how hard it is to make a marriage work outside of God. I'm not saying that it isn't doable, but I know firsthand how much better our marriage is now that God is the glue that holds us together.
I encourage all of you to go and see it if you haven't already.