But this Monday...this Monday was different. I'm not sure if it was the supermoon, or maybe my horoscope foretold of the wonder of this day. All I can say is this was a great day and one I will not forget.
I think God gave me some advance notice because my Facebook entries were somewhat telling. Here is my Facebook notice for Sunday: What's on my mind???? First and foremost "THANKFUL"...for so many things in my life. PRAYING for family and friends that are in need. LOVING time spent with my husband and children. LAUGHING at the everyday antics of my family. GRATEFUL for the peace that comes with faith. AMAZED by the life lessons that Sam teaches me. BLESSED by the prayers we receive from others. HUMBLED by the everyday miracles that keep me grounded and balanced. HOPEFUL for what tomorrow will bring! Good Night everyone!
And my entry for Monday morning: Let's get this Monday started:
Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. St. Francis of Assisi
Sam doesn't usually like Mondays either. He tends to sleep in longer...my requests to start our school day are usually met with strong resistance. I usually don't even push chores...I mean let's face it, we all have to pick our battles. But this Monday when Sam woke up...earlier than usual...he greeted me with a smile and a "can do" attitude. I found him dressed in his clothes before I even had to ask a second or third time??? Hmmm, when I suggested heading to the kitchen to get out his supplies for breakfast he smiled and said "Okay". I don't quite remember...but I think it was at that moment that I felt his forehead to make sure he wasn't running a fever and what I was seeing was some form of delusion.
As he grabbed his walker without a reminder and walked past his hat he handed it to me and said "Turn on". The look of surprise on my face must have been unmistakable because he repeated it to me a second time. I turned on the hearing aid on his hat, handed it to him and watched him...frankly wondering "Who is this child??"
Sam finished getting his breakfast supplies out and announced "All done" "Breakfast please". "Mom, TV Sam's room." I said, "O..k..a..y??" I thought this was maybe when the day was going to turn back to normal. Sam wanted to watch TV while he ate breakfast. I figured he would fight me to turn it off and get started with our day of homeschooling and yet when breakfast was over and I asked him to take his plate and glass to the kitchen sink, he told me "No" but it was quiet and with very little redirection he headed to the kitchen.
I began feeling kinda empowered...I decided to test fate and throw in a new chore. When he got to the sink I told him he needed to use the scrubby, get the egg off his plate and put it in the dishwasher. This was met with a louder "No" but with a little one on one assistance and auditory direction this task was completed. Asking him to put his glass and fork in the dishwasher got me a look of "Really Mom, you're pushing it!" but he did it.
We then headed to the living room to go through Sam's catechism lesson. Sam listened as I went through the morning prayer, he listened to the Bible verses I read with a chuckle (I'm not sure why), he repeated segments of the first 2 commandments and the Apostles Creed. My favorite part was singing "Jesus Little Lamb I Am". He smiled through most of that. We folded our hands and prayed for family and friends and that God would heal Sam's hip and he repeated parts of The Lord's Prayer. We ended with the blessing and I love watching Sam bless himself.
I then had him head to the computer to begin his academics. It was met with a weak "No" but he moved into BrainPop Jr. with little to no resistance. Sam's favorite movie is "Exercise", so a promise to allow him to watch that at the end is all it took to get through the Science, Social Studies, Health and Music videos. In Science we watched a video on "Animal Camouflage" which he was interested in, Social Studies was "Community Helpers" which he listened to and even tried to repeat extinguisher which sounded more like stinguisher. Health was about "Caring For Pets" and since one of his chores is feeding/watering Buddy this was a good video. Music was about "Percussion Instruments" and a set of instruments for Sam to work with should be arriving later this week (Ahhh, the fun we will have making
We then moved on to his reading on Raz-Kidz.com. Sam is on Level D which is fairly easy reading for him but we are also working on comprehension which isn't as easy for him. So he listens to the animated book once or twice, answers 5 questions and then reads the book out loud. Today we read "In The Woods" and Sam got 4 out of 5 questions correct. But what was really neat was to watch and listen to him read the book. Sam struggles with word retrieval, he often switches similar words house/home, on/in, woods/forest but if I lingered on the word he was usually able to retrieve the correct one. Sam often yawns when he reads but he was able to get through with very little yawning or resistance. We were on a roll!!
From there we went through his math and reading lesson on K5learning.com. He had a vocabulary lesson in reading and a "what number comes after" lesson in math. He did well with both of these and was rewarded by doing his favorite PowerPoint lesson "My Colors".
I then had Sam work on his aim with the Nerf gun since he still struggles with some vision issues but he thinks this part is just play. We sat down and read one of his favorite books about trucks and transportation equipment. We talked about the pictures and I drew a quick dump truck that Sam colored as he stretched out on the floor. Sam moved over to the kitchen table and we worked on the KidCalc app that walks Sam through 4 addition/subtraction problems with the reward of completing a picture. I told Sam we need to get 3 pictures, I was again floored when he chose to do 5. That is 20 math problems.
Sam then worked on his writing with the "Write My Name" app in which he writes his name, Dad, Mom, Ben, Danielle and 4 short sentences. What is really great about this app is how it guides his writing but then allows him to see exactly how he wrote each letter. As I made lunch he listened to two books on the Grasshopper App. At this point I really felt like the day could not get much better.
After lunch we headed to speech which went okay although I had noticed a stiffness or increased limp on his way in. After speech we headed to the pool for aqua therapy. I decided to attempt a goal that we have never been able to meet.
Sam has been doing therapy in water since he was 2 years old. He loves the water but his eyes don't handle the chlorine and chemicals very well and he loves to swim underwater. Over the last 9 years I have purchased many different goggles but Sam never adapted to any of them. Sam has huge sensory issues around his head and I remember stressing out over his hearing aid but Ellen Doman had told me "If he can hear better...he will wear it" and he did. So I rationalized that if the goggles worked for him and kept water out of his eyes he would wear them...right??? But none of the goggles seemed to fit right or work well for him. So I jumped on the Hammacher Schlemmer site. This company tests all the products listed in their catalog and only sells the best of the best. They had a pair of swimming goggles for $23.00 and I decided to give them a try. After all they had a lifetime guarantee.
Sam sat on the edge of the pool and I showed him the goggles. His voice became very loud as he yelled "NO GOGGLES, NO MOM". There were 4 to 5 senior citizens in the pool and a group of people from a local group home and a few others. As Sam's voice got louder they all began to turn and stare. Normally these situations would make me very uncomfortable and I would try to quiet Sam and probably give up. My mind would have gone to that place where I see them telling their friends and family about the horrible Mom at the pool who tortured her poor special needs child with a pair of swimming goggles. But today was an amazing day and he had done so well with so much that I felt with a little push "He could do this." I ignored the stares and just concentrated on Sam telling him "You can do this, Sam. I know you can." His therapist and I united and said "No swimming if you don't wear the goggles." Sam yelled louder and every time we got them on he just pulled them off and tried to throw them. After probably 10 attempts, Wendy threw some dolphins in the water and let them sink to the bottom. We attempted to put the goggles on one more time. A gentleman from the group home joined my encouragement to Sam and told him "You can wear the goggles Sam. You look cool." As soon as they were on I told him "Dive under water Sam, go ahead, get the dolphins"...and after one more very loud yell he dove in and when he came up and gently tapped the goggles...I knew we had finally accomplished the goal. Sam began to dive underwater again and again and each time he would try to go deeper. I don't know whose smile was bigger...mine or Sam's. He began to go under and he would start talking before he came up, he said "Mom, Sam's toes, cool". He swam under water for longer and longer which is so great to help him work on his deep breathing and lung strength. Wendy, his therapist said, "I'm pretty sure those are magic goggles." The people around the pool stopped staring and began smiling, they were as amazed as I was that a little boy so dead set against a pair of goggles could now embrace them as the coolest thing in the world. Wendy dove with him and she said his eyes are wide open and he is just taking everything in and his smile is from ear to ear. Sam swam and swam and swam...as his Mom I swam too...in happy tears. His hip no longer seemed stiff or sore, he dove and he swam, he dove and he smiled. After a while he began to lift the goggles up if any drips of water got in and he re-adjusted them himself. No direction and we were no longer worried that he was going to rip them off or throw them.
It seems like such a simple thing...getting a child to wear swim goggles and yet this was a goal that was 9 years in the making. Tonight I am so very proud of Sam. I'm pretty sure he is still swimming with his magic goggles in his dreams!
"Being your best is not so much about overcoming the barriers other people place in front of you as it is about overcoming the barriers we place in front of ourselves. It has nothing to do with how many times you win or lose. It has no relation to where you finish in a race or whether you break world records. But it does have everything to do with having the vision to dream, the courage to recover from adversity and the determination never to be shifted from your goals."
Kieren Perkins-Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer