Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Life Dedicated

April 23 is a special date for us. Back in 2006 on this date, we dedicated Jaycee to God at our church. If you aren't familiar with a baby dedication, I'll try to explain it. Basically, it's something the parents decide to do with their young child. We brought Jaycee up in front of the church and proclaimed we would raise her up in the Christian faith. The pastor said a few words. A prayer was said over Jaycee's life and our commitment to raise her up as a Christian. And boom--in just a matter of 10 minutes, we dedicated our first born child to God.

I remember at the time, I felt impressed to do this baby dedication sooner than later. Most people do this some time before their child's first birthday but it all depends on the person. I really wanted to do the dedication before Jaycee had her first heart surgery (at age 3 months) because I wanted those things prayed into her life beforehand.

Looking at the calendar this week, I noticed "Jaycee Dedicated" on the April 23rd slot. For some reason this year, I have thought about that dedication and what it meant. I promised to raise her up in the faith. I wonder if I have done well with that over the past 7 years and what else I can be doing to teach her about God.

She understands the concepts of prayer, church, and God. She loves praise and worship at church and in the car. (We only listen to Christian music...and occasionally the Wiggles.) She likes taking a $1 bill into church and putting it in the offering. She knows if she prays before her meals using her talker that she can get her food quicker. She knows "amen" signals the end of the prayer. She's heard me read the Bible to her all throughout her life. I started doing that when she was born. But, is that all enough?

I can think of many mistakes I have made. I have modeled panic and fear when she's gotten sick, instead of faith and prayer. I have not spoken scripture over her at times because I have been too tired or too lazy. I have read the Bible to her but does she know what the Bible is and why I do it?  Some of this is hard to know because of the communication barrier.

I've spent some time the last few days thinking about our every day lives and how God is reflected (or not reflected) in them. I want to live out that dedication I made. I want her to grow up knowing and loving the God we believe in.
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Dentist with my Special Purposed Child

I have looked at this date for weeks wishing it was over. 8:30 Thurs-Kids Dentist

As soon as we walked into the dentist office this morning, Jaycee sat on the floor and bent herself over. She was in her "I'm upset" position. She hasn't been to the dentist in six months, yet the experience last time must have left a lasting impression.

The kids are called back. Elijah cries because he can't play with the trains in the waiting room. Jaycee doesn't want to go back because she knows what's coming. And why did I think I could do this alone? Oh yes, I remember. Because I am a God empowered mother!

Elijah & Jaycee's examination rooms are next door to each other. Elijah refuses to sit down. Jaycee takes a seat but she's not happy. I hop back and forth between the two rooms. Elijah goes first. I hold him on my lap and the dentist looks at his teeth. He gets the all clear. He's just worried about getting back to those trains.

I walk into Jaycee's room, she's reclined in the seat. She holds my hands and babbles while the dentist looks around. "bababa dadad," Jaycee says.

"I know, Jaycee. You are doing great!" I tell her. I can tell she's upset but she's not screaming or crying. We hold hands. She pulls her hands away and signs "all done."

"Not yet," I tell her.

Jaycee allows them to briefly polish her teeth. She is not happy but this may be the first time she doesn't have tears. Hey, I want to cry at the dentist too but I don't.

These trips are getting better. She's growing up. Things are getting easier for her (& me). Next time, I won't dread the date for the dentist so much. Thank you Jesus!
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Touch Points

Before Jaycee learned to walk, she started doing this thing with people's hands. She loves to rub her fingers across someone's fingernails. I don't know why she does it or why it started. But she has done it for a long time.

It's one of those things I can count on her doing if we are holding hands for more than a minute. She likes it when I rub my fingernails lightly on her arm too.

When your child cannot have a conversation with you, touch becomes an important. Hugs, kisses, holding hands, or rubbing fingernails becomes vital "communication" that transcends words. I don't get to hear from her what happened at school or who she played with. She doesn't comment when I tell her about things from my day or plans for the evening. The words are not there. This relationship is not built around talking. Touch becomes important. A cuddle on the couch becomes our way to say I love you or I'm glad you are here.
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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Gymnastics Drop Out

In general, I am not a quitter. If I start something, I'll finish it no matter how much I dislike it. But, I must admit that in less than 2 months, I started Jaycee in gymnastics and then quit. I blogged about my apprehensions in January's entry "Jumping & Courage." The first class went really well. But every week after that did not go well. In March, I finally had enough.

Jaycee was in a class with 12-19 girls. She was the only one with special needs there. The staff was nice to her even though she halted the class numerous times each week. There were a few kids who tried to befriend Jaycee and help her stay in line. I enjoyed that part. When Jaycee participated, she actually attempted to do a cart wheel and back flips. It was so adorable to watch. She jumped her hardest on the trampoline and tried to imitate the girls who flopped on their bottoms and bellies. The problems arose when it wasn't her turn. She didn't like to wait. She ran from one spot to the next. Sometimes, she climbed onto a trampoline that no adult was supervising, which was not allowed. Sometimes, she just ran. The worst was when she ran smack dab into the low bar on the uneven bars. It didn't stop her, she just kept running. Waiting for her turn to tumble or do the trampoline was too much. She couldn't stay in line, she just had to go.

Maybe you are reading this and thinking I'm being too hard on her or that I gave up too soon. I think that if I was watching someone else's kid do this, I would think it would be understandable behavior. But, when it's your kid who is often disrupting class and not listening, it's different. It stressed me out every week because I didn't know when/if she'd run off and possibly hurt herself. So at age 7, my daughter dropped out of her first attempt at sports.

On the bright side, I did find a woman who does private swimming lessons for children with special needs. Jaycee has had two sessions so far and they have been wonderful! She loves to swim so this was the perfect match. She has individual attention and someone who can talk to her on her level. The only bad thing is that just about every day she tries to put her swimming suit on to go to her lesson. Too bad it's just once a week.

So, the moral of this story is.....If something doesn't seem to be working out with your child, don't feel guilty about quitting because you may find something better!
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