Monday, February 11, 2013


A few days ago I took my weekly trip to one of my least favorite places to visit, the grocery store.  Fortunately for me, on this occasion I had a wonderful little shopping companion who volunteered to help with the task.  Although I believe that the reason Jaxon likes to tag along has more to do with what treats he can find at the checkout than spending time with me, I'll take what I can get!

On this particular occasion, I was only shopping for a few items so Jax was able to ride inside the cart.  Upon reaching the checkout, I informed him that he may want to get out or they may charge me extra for the kid in the cart.  "I wonder how much you cost?" I said while emptying the other items on to the conveyor belt.   My darling blue eyed boy with the huge dimples looked at me and simply said "Mom, I'm priceless."

Yes, he is.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

All Together Now!

Thanksgiving at my house was awesome. My home, and heart, were so full I thought both would burst at the seams!  Family and friends entertained us with their presence AND my little Carson was (and still is) home!

People Everywhere!!!

I really love my family!
  Carson's time in the hospital appears to have been a wise decision.  He is on some medication for his anxiety and has learned some coping skills.  I have also learned that I need to be more scheduled since he responds very well to having time prompts.  I'm grateful to all the doctors who helped him and gave me back my sweet little guy.

Carson chatted with this aide for hours.  He told her that the good thing about October was that it was Breast Cancer Awareness month.  I think it is so cute that a ten year old would be concerned with women's health.We were waiting for a bed at the psychiatric hospital and he was loving all the attention at the Children's Hospital.  Little did he know that it would all change when he changed hospitals...

Carson's first meal at the psychiatric hospital.  He was not too happy that they brought him pizza on a plate that was smothered in peas.  We had to get a second plate and separate the two.  Still, dealing with the pea flavor on the pizza was not something he really wanted to do.

Getting a hug from his bestie, Mason, during visiting time.

Carson in his room.  He was not thrilled when he found out that there was not a TV there.
During his stay, Carson went to group therapy, music therapy, art therapy, and met with social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists.  We came home with a clear plan and a support system.  Carson will start a Day Treatment program on Monday.  I think we may be able to get our insurance to pay for five days.  That should be long enough to really reinforce his new skills, and teach him some additional ones for coping with his anxiety.

The kids were so excited to see Carson when he got home that they made a little shrine for him in the entryway.  Carson loves turtles and the shrine was everything turtle (oh, and chocolate!)
Carson's Boy Scout troop made him a "Welcome Home" sign.

Carson's favorite plushies were there to greet him.

Turtles EVERYWHERE!!  Carson loved it!

A Minecraft turtle shaped room was skillfully constructed by Amanda

The kids greeted him with all of his favorite goodies.  The plate was piled high!

 As parents, we make the best decisions we can with the information we have. Hopefully, the fallout from our actions is positive.  Parenting is the hardest job I've ever had to undertake but the rewards are incredible!  I'm really praying that the Carson who came back to us, stays with us. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Missing My Buddy

It's awfully quiet around the house without Carson.  I am really missing him.  This is different than when he spent 16 weeks in the NICU, I hadn't bonded with him the same way as I have now.  He has his part in our family, a role to play, a hole in my heart to fill.  He is not sleeping well on a strange bed and I am not sleeping well without him kicking me all night (yes he still co-sleeps.)  I desperately want him home, and he cries to come home every time I visit.  It rips my heart out to have to leave a child that is begging, and negotiating to come home.  "Please Mom, I just want to go home.  I'll try so hard to be good, really I promise."

The thing he doesn't understand is that he isn't there as a punishment, he is there to keep the rest of the family safe.  His behavior had escalated to the point that the violence was going to really hurt somebody.  Trying to live with himself after doing irreparable damage to a sibling, friend, or animal would have had lifelong negative consequences.  I'm praying that his time in the hospital will have lifelong positive consequences.

Deep breaths.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Left My Heart

Secrets have power.  I realized that when I was about twenty-seven.  Admitting that my childhood had been peppered with abuses was a direction I did not want to take.  Being honest about life scared me. Clinical depression and anxiety had become the norm until I followed the example of my awesome sister and got myself into therapy. As a result, Jeanna and I have become more open and honest about everything. Some things aren't fun to admit, but they are the truth.

My sweet buddy Carson has been struggling for some time.  I had my doubts about writing all of this down, but hiding his health issue would be the same as saying that I was embarrassed of it, and I am not.  I never want him to be embarrassed either and I never want him to feel the sting of loneliness that can come when one feels their diagnosis is somehow unique.

Carson is one of what I imagine to be tens, if not hundreds of thousands of children who suffers with extreme anxiety, and likely depression.  This isn't something that just popped up out of the blue.  We have been aware of the anxiety for many years.  I've known that at some point that he would need treatment beyond what I could give him and that it would mean putting him on medications to treat what I believe is a chemical imbalance.  That time has come.  After dealing with some very volatile, uncontrollable behavior, Jeff and I checked Carson into the hospital for treatment.

Waiting for admission to the mental health unit.
My thoughts are all over the place.  I miss my son.  At the time that I'm writing this, he has only been away overnight...but I miss him.  I spent the first night with him in the children's hospital waiting for a bed to open up in the appropriate location.  Once the hospital had a place for him, we were asked to leave him and limit our visitation so that he can be doing the work that needs to be done.  The drive home was a lonely one.

I vacillate between confidence that the right choice has been made, to thinking that it seems like overkill to hospitalize a little ten year old for psychological help.  I blame myself for neglecting to get him help until he was in crisis mode.  Leaving him there was leaving a piece of my heart.  Hopefully, he will be home soon, ready to be part of a family that functions as a unit. I look forward to his return and bringing with him the piece of my heart that is missing. 

I look forward to being whole again. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

More Kid-isms

It's time again to write down things that have come to the forefront of my memory...
My quadruplet mommy mind is so overloaded that when the kids past and present funny quotes come to mind, well, it's time to get them written down!

Mason (ten years old:) "Breastfeeding your baby doll. Creepy, or ground breaking?" Apparently he saw this on an ad, but some questions I'm just not prepared for!

Jaxon's response to learning what a fax does: "That is so cool! I think technology might be the future." Ummmm, you may be on to something there son!

The kid's cousin Melody. When I asked who had been playing in the food coloring, she replied "I didn't do it!!" I guess she thought I didn't have eyes. She was almost 4. 
To preface this next story, you have to know that Mason's very favorite food has always been McDonald's fries. Driving past the Golden Arches usually means we end up taking a trip through the drive through. When the kids were about 3 and learning their alphabet, I was writing the letters down on paper and asking the kids to identify each letter. The kids had a great time correctly identifying letters and shouting out what letters they recognized until we reached the letter m. Mason took one look and shouted out "FRIES!!"
I still chuckle when I see him happily eating a box of hot french fries with the m on the front.
Mason holding his favorite stuffed animal "Batman."
My final kid-ism for today...Mason used to have a stuffed bat he named Batman.  Batman traveled with him everywhere!  That bat was an absolute favorite toy.  As Batman aged and became ratty looking and torn, I found Mason performing CPR on him.  Not quite knowing what was going on, I hid just outside of his view but well within my view and earshot.  I heard him sadly proclaim to his brother  "Call 911.  I've done everything I can but I still wasn't able to save his life!" 
Fortunately, I was able to intervene before 911 was called.  I would have been really embarrassed had the paramedics showed up to save a stuffed bat!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"It's Just Weird!"

My three sons.  Carson, Mason, and Jaxon
Today I am so grateful for life's tender mercies. 
Yesterday was difficult.  It was a very windy day and the twins were getting ready for speech therapy.   The wind really bothers Carson.  It scares him, causes great anxiety, and it hurts his ears.  So to keep him calm, he will wear headphones with a hooded jacket over the top when he goes outside.  As the twins and I made our way to the car, Jaxon came zipping up on his scooter.
"It's just weird."
"What's weird, Jaxon?"
"It's weird that he has to wear those headphones...Why does he have to wear those headphones?  It's just weird!" he replied, this time with a little more anger in his voice.

In that instance, my heart felt like it had been ripped right in two.  Two typical kids who are understanding that their two Autistic brothers are different.  One brother who gets that his other brother may be viewed as strange.  Half.  Half of me that needs to be as cognisant of my typically-abled children as I am the needs of my differently-abled children.

I pulled Jax aside and gave him a big hug.  "Jaxon, I love you son." I replied. "I know that you see that as strange but there will be enough people in this world who will tease Carson.  I need to ask you not to be one of those people.  Carson needs to know that when he is home, he is safe to be exactly the person God created him to be, and that we will accept him and love him just the way he is.  The very same way we accept and love you for the wonderful person that you are.  Can you try and do that for him?"  Jaxon's face softened, his voice became kind, and with a sweet nod of his head he answered "Yes."

I broke into tears on the drive to speech therapy, tears that are often close to the surface right now.  I really hate seeing my kids suffer, even though I know that challenges are exactly what we need to forge us into the people we become.  I really hate that the twins may be viewed as "weird."  I am so proud of them for all their quirky behaviors, yet I understand that the world may not be as kind.  I love that Mason is a little human computer when it comes to all things NASCAR, and I love that Carson really gets into geography and the weather.  They are brilliant, sometimes too brilliant for us "normal" people to understand.  I want the world to see the boys that I see.

I ended up having a restless night.  Sleep eluded me.  After several unsuccessful attempts to count sheep, I picked up my laptop and clicked on to my favorite Autism website, Thriving With Autism.  I hadn't visited for quite a while.  One of the articles immediately caught my eye,  "I Was A Casualty,"  a brutally honest, gut wrenching look at being the sibling to a differently-abled child.  The woman who wrote the article has been a friend of mine for ten years.  In all that time, I did not know this part of her life.  The knowledge came at just the right time, a true tender mercy.  I know the article had to be painful for her to write and I am grateful to her for putting it out there for others to learn from.  I highly recommend the piece to anyone who is raising a child who is "different" and wonders how their typical children are feeling, and how to help them. 

Thank you Andrea Warner.

Mason and Carson (who was getting geared up for a windy day.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Autumn Leaves

While on our daily walk, we noticed that the older neighbor on the corner could use a little help raking leaves off his VERY large yard.  So, we decided it would be a really great project for the kids (and all of us really,) to give just a little back to someone in the neighborhood.  So, I got a few things together, and went leaf crazy!!!
My energy to accomplish my task.

The very large yard absolutely covered in leaves.

Me, Amanda, Jaxon and Elder Kuli Yes,we were even fortunate enough to round up some young men to contribute!!

Elder Kuli from Tonga.  He worked very hard.  But sheesh, look at those biceps...He was good to have around.  We will feed him and his missionary companion dinner tomorrow for all their trouble.

Carson and his headphones, ready to man the leaf blower!

Mason and Carson

Amanda worked very hard....

And so did Emma

Elder Bennet manned the leaf blower.

Adam was on bag duty, and we filled a bunch of them!!!

Adam's mom, Lisa.
Here's the whole group that participated.  I think we filled more than  35 bags, I lost count.  My body is sore and tired and my face a little sunburned,  It was truly one of the best days I have spent with my kids.  They are worn out, I can hear their heavy "sleep breathing" as I write.
It was so exciting to hear the girls and Adam talking about how much fun they were having.  I was so proud of all of them!  Thank you Elder's Bennett and Kuli.  Your strong arms and backs saved our lives!  Without you, we would still be raking...