Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring Break at Papa and Grammy's House

Hung with Papa and Grammy last week because it was spring break in GA. They are such great help and nice company for me. Even if they can't help at the moment, just knowing that they are there is nice. Papa takes up Abby's time however he can. They have started some vegetation in the back yard...not sure what yet. He takes her to the store and little errands that he has to run. Hannah is doing well this week. She is alot like a normal 8-year-old in that she asks to go somewhere constantly..."go to zoo", "swim", "trampoline", "ride zebra" (ride the carousel), "Kirsten, ride Zebra" (this means she wants to go to the zoo with Kirsten and ride the carousel). This is nothing new, but she does seem to be taking "no" a little better so I'm trying to use it a little more rather than always redirect or distract her attention. Children with right-brain difficiencies obsess about things and overreact to conditions that a typical child would get over much easier. Speaking of overreacting, we have decided to get Abby evaluated by BB here in PTC. We believe that she is either learning from Hannah or actually has a mild right-brain defficiecy herself. She is manic at times, charming one minute and the tazmanian devil the next. Furthermore, we have seen some improvement in her behavior specifically her hyperactivity since we started Hannah on the program. Abby is taking some of the supplements Hannah is taking as well as doing some of the exercises and very limited "screen time".

Tuesday, we went to Guntersville to an indoor pool. There was no one there for a while and it was nice. I wish I didn't feel like that. Even Hannah loves it when more people show up, but all I can think about it what she is going to do to them. It wasn't long before three girls around her age came to the pool. They were staring at her and whispering to one another. Years ago, I would have went over and explained to them her condition and so on. I just don't always feel the need to do that anymore. They weren't mean girls but I could tell that they just didn't understand why Hannah kept splashing them and making her awkward noises and just splashing water out of the pool for no apparent reason. My heart hurt a little for Hannah because I knew she wanted to play with them but she just didn't know what to do. She didn't push it and just went off to herself and did her thing. I believe one day that she will have friends.

Here is a few pics documenting part of our week at Grammy and Papa's house:

Hannah wanted to "ride zebra" "ride elephant" so Mom and I took her to the Gadsden Mall because they have a carousel. I paid the attendant $5 because I thought she might want to ride it a few times. She rode it once and apparently was not impressed because after the ride was over she got off and exited the perimeter...or maybe she was impressed but thought it more important that the two ladies having Chic-fi-la needed some help eating their food. Being in public causes some stress due to Hannah's social non-boundaries, but although I have a ways to go, I am becoming more relaxed in part due to lots of practice and the graciousness of others. The lady in the bathroom at Wild Animal Safari is few and far between. Most people are very sweet to Hannah and often look at me with admiration more than pity. Occasionally, I'll get the "look away" when she is having a tantrum or the "why don't you do something about your child's behavior" look but I understand that. I understand that people cannot know everything about every ailment known to man. Furthermore, the autistic spectrum is so varied in degrees that even someone else who has a child on the spectrum might not even understand particularly what Hannah's day might look like. I am not hurt by people's ignorance anymore...besides, I'm ignorant about a lot of diseases and ailments as well. Hannah's condition has given me the gift of being in a position to love other's misfit children because I don't have to get beyond their idiosyncrosies, quirks, or annoyances.

This picture is of Papa and Grammy (Mom and Dad) on Papa's 67th birthday that we celebrated last week. He was born on April 4th, 1944, that's 4-4-44 (just a little trivia). I love this picture of them because most of the pictures that I have of Mom and Dad are such: Dad is looking away from the camera (he hates posed pictures) and Mom's mouth is always open (she likes to talk). They have been married for 44 years. They are still in love and they are best friends. They are givers. Currently, I and my children are takers. Particularly, we take from them emotionally, but they love us still. They celebrate every minor Hannah victory with us and they feel every down as well. They are patient with Abigail through her difficult age and over-reactions and constant babbling. They are gracious with me when I say things I shouldn't say to blow off steam. To use a phrase that has been used many times but is so applicable, they are like fine wine...they truly get better with age. We are so blessed to have them in our lives. I hope you had a happy birthday, Dad, even though it was in the dark (the power went out) and you didn't get to watch the NCAA final game.

This is Peyton while I was getting my "do did" as they call it down here. We were at a beauty school so they take quite a bit longer to style my hair but cost much less. Peyton's a dream baby...smiles all the time, so content as long as she can look at me and suck her thumb. Everyone raved at how good she was and she and I even got to startle an elderly man next to us when she popped out from beneath my poncho after nursing...hey, the kid's gotta eat!

This is a picture of a seatbelt...a seatbelt that had to be cut in order to get a child out of it. Hannah has more tantrums in the car than anywhere else. I can't make a u-turn or go anywhere that she thinks I shouldn't go without her screaming and yelling and kicking the window, etc. in the back seat. This particular day, we met some friends at a sensory gym and then had pizza. As soon as she was done eating half of the pizza that we ordered for the kids, she says "french fries". So, on the way home when I didn't stop and get french fries she has a fit like none other. It is these times when I ask myself why I love her so much! I was furious...she was furious...Abby was acting out because she was sick of it and Peyton was just sucking her thumb as usual. So I went upstairs to the apartment with Abby and Peyton and left Hannah in the car to finish her fit. Usually, she comes right up but this time she didn't. I went back down to the car and lo and behold she was stuck in the was unbuckled but twisted around her waist and around her leg. I got her leg out but I could not loosen the seatbelt enough to get her out. So I cut it.

This is a picture of the side of Abby's head. Hannah tried to pinch her nose and was too rough. We have banned Hannah from nose-pinching but she still tries to get one in every now and then... Here she is getting Peyton when I was trying to take a picture of Dad with the monkeys:

This is Hannah walking Suzy.

Overall, the week was a break for me. We didn't do as much BB exercises as we usually do but I needed the refreshment because I have a renewed spirit and desire to press on. My perspective is renewed and I know that God has given Hannah to us and to no one else and I am thankful for her. I am thankful for all the wonderful relationships that are deeper because of her...all the amazing people that we have met along the way because of her. I am thankful that I know more intimately and more intensely my Father's love and graciousness and mercy toward us because of Hannah.

Still really missing Steven this week.


  1. Monica,
    I truly love reading your blog. I miss Hannah lots, and am having real zoo withdrawls. Can't wait to give her a hug, spoil her by letting her 'honk my nose' and see you all! I am grateful to know your family!Kirsten

  2. I just have to say that your blog made me cry, not in pity but for the strength that you show. It truly needs to be commended and I have never met you bet have heard about your family from Steven ( we have done real estate deals and are working together now)and I just have to say I am truly impressed by people like you. You make the world a better and more understanding place which is definitely needed! Thank you for bringing tears to my face but more importantly tears that show the human spirit.