Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Everyone's a Critic

Ewan asked me tonight if I would keep growing my hair long. I told him I planned on it. He said, "Good!" I asked him why, thinking I'd get some lovely compliment about how he thought I was pretty with long hair.

"Because," he said, "when you had long hair and I was your only kid, the long hair made you look younger."

"Well, I was younger then."

"Also, it made you look thinner."

"I was thinner then."

He gives me a look like "Oh, your poor thing."

I did manage to find my cheekbones again tonight - in a picture from five years ago. I see what he means.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Buckle in - this might get lengthy. This sweetest of all sweet boys in the whole world is our Corgan, also known as C-Dawg (to which he actually responds better.)

It does not escape my notice the unfortunate timing of my blogging "hiatus." It fell during many key early moments in Corgan's life, and I therefore feel that my record for him is incomplete, and unfair given the attention I've given to documenting the other boys' happenings. I am going to try to remedy that, and I must tell you that just looking at this picture as I type, I've got a big ol' lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. All I want to do is go wake him up, cuddle him and squeeze him. I just love him so, so much. However, he would never let me do such a thing.

Corgan has always been very different from my other boys. I often describe him as being like The Girl with a Curl:
"There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead;
When she was good, she was very, very good,
And when she was bad she was horrid."

I hesitate to say he's ever "bad," but that little rhyme always has entered my mind where he is concerned. He's just always been very excitable, easy to upset, and always does things that completely baffle us. Minor examples from early in his life were that he could not walk until he was 19 months old. (I was much less concerned with this than strangers and minor acquaintances were, trust me.) He had also started out saying words, and then he just stopped talking. It was all screams, all tantrums, all the time. I've been around kids my entire life, personally and professionally, so I know what is typical and what is extreme. Trust me when I say his behaviors become extreme. Screaming bloody, horrible murder in public - for no discernible reason. Throwing himself down in tempers - for no discernible reason. He's overly aggressive and rough. And he's also often not involved with what we are doing. He kind of moves along in the periphery of our family, or whatever group we may be with. The below picture, which I love, demonstrates this. It wasn't a stolen moment of him smelling flowers. This was all he did, just moved along as the whole family walked, in his own little world, investigated the environment, and often had to be called back into the fold, as he traipsed on his merry way. I can't get more specific, it would take ages, but he has definitely been a challenge. I have, until recently, chalked it up to being difficult, like me, and hoped he would grow out of it.

We were able to get somewhat of an answer because of his constant ear infections. The poor boy couldn't hear very well. Once we had tubes put in, things calmed down considerably for a few months, he started to say one or two words, but then that was it. The extreme behavior started again, and he wouldn't talk - never even calling me "Mama." I finally decided these things were not going to correct themselves over time, so I called ECI: Early Childhood Intervention. After several evaluations and meetings, more evaluations and more meetings (occupational therapists, speech therapists, child psychologist, child development specialist, etc.) he was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, more specifically, he is a "sensory seeking child." SPD "is the inability to use information received through the senses in order to function smoothly in daily life.... an umbrella term to cover a variety of neurological disorders." A child like this often can't translate cues in his environment to modify his behavior. For example, the child will pull the cat's tail, and get scratched, but he can't connect the two, so he continues, baffled at the cat's response. This is something I am still learning about, having only gotten a few chapters into the recommended book, The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz. Brief examples from the book followed by Corgan's similar behavior:
  • "Craves fast and spinning movement and may not get dizzy. Moves constantly, fidgets..., is a dare-devil and takes bold risks." Corgan often does not know his own strength. In an effort to be physically stimulated, he will hit us (not to be naughty), throw things, run into things. This all he thinks is absolutely hilarious. He enjoys grabbing Duncan and pushing his head down really hard. He does like to cuddle, but isn't still for it. He just constantly moves and shifts. Also, the story from my last post about him just riding his tricycle off the steps, that's very typical. And I watched him do it - it wasn't an accident - he very purposely did it.
  • "Craves bear hugs and being squeezed and pressed. Seeks heavy work and more vigorous playground activities than others." Once he was officially diagnosed, they gave us a vest that is very tight for him to wear occasionally to give him some of that stimulation throughout the day. It is amazing what an impact this has had. He loves it and often asks to wear it. We've also discovered that when he is having one of his melt-downs, if we just grab him and SQUEEZE HIM so tight in a bear hug and apply firm pressure as we massage his back or arms or legs, he calms down pretty quickly. It is now very common for him to run to us asking for a "SKEEEEEZE!" They have also recommended a weighted blanket which will give him that stimulation at night, to help with mornings, which are very rough 99% of the time. But these blankets are quite pricey, so that will have to wait.
  • "Seeks visually stimulating scenes and screens for lengthy times. Is attracted to shiny, spinning objects and bright flickering light, such as strobe lights or sunlight streaming through blinds." Now all kids love them some TV, so at first this was a weird one for me, especially since Corgan actually doesn't like to watch TV much. He used to like Yo Gabba Gabba, but now he doesn't care. (It'd actually be a big help if I COULD get him to watch some TV.) But then I realized something about the lights. He's fascinated with lights, turning them on and off obsessively. And something that I finally JUST connected to all of this was the way he will get a light-up toy or flashlight, and shine it on a wall or the cat, or most often Duncan's face, and he cracks up so hard he starts to cough - just because of seeing the light's reflection.
  • "Welcomes loud noises and TV volume... May speak in a booming voice." Ewan and Fynn have always been very sensitive to noise, and both were completely terrified of the vacuum and lawn mower. Not Corgan. He's obsessed with the vacuum and the lawn mower. We have to keep him from getting too close. He also likes to see how loud and high-pitched he can get his voice to be, and revels in my not-so-favorable reaction.
  • "May taste or lick inedible objects, like Play Do and toys..." Yes, all kids eat play-do, but Corgan will put absolutely anything and everything in his mouth, still. He'd eat anything if I'd let him, except for the actual food I put in front of him!
There are many more examples, but these are the ones I can best describe. Since he has been receiving therapy from the different therapists listed above, things have really taken a complete turn. There are still many challenges, but he is learning and using words at an exponential rate, we are able to curb more tantrums than we ever could before, and I finally feel not so helpless. Things had gotten so bad that sometimes I had to close my eyes or look at pictures to remember him as a little baby so I could extend my patience just a little bit more.
One of my best friends, Scarlett, was visiting from L.A. Her parents own some land and several horses, and she and her sister have ridden their entire lives in competitions and taught lessons. It was mentioned by one of the therapists how horse-back riding is sometimes used for children like Corgan for speech therapy. As Scarlett took him around on this horse, she told me he really blossomed and was chattering and she could tell a big difference in his demeanor as they walked along. I wish I could afford to enroll him in some sort of program. He sure does look at home on that horse.

Besides all this, he is a very sweet, very smart and fun little boy. He loves to play with his trucks and cars and he loves the exercises they have given us for him. Strangely enough, even though his speech is many months behind schedule, he knows all of his ABCs and some of his numbers. He loves Duncan and will rub his head and say "so soft." His favorite person on this planet is Bryce. He LOVES his Daddy like I've never seen from any other kid I've ever been around. If Daddy is home, I am persona non grata. But that's ok. He loves me deep-down, and nothing makes my heart skip a beat more these days than when Corgan calls out, "Mama!"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happenings that Should Only Take Place in Horror Flicks or Gross-out Comedies

I used to be able to find stuff to write about all the time. Now that I'm trying to catch up with this blog and keep up, I don't find much I want to say. You'd think with four boys, two dogs, four (and a half) kitties, etc., that the hits would just keep on coming. I still plan on doing a post for each boy, but time is limited and chaos ensues to keep me from sitting for long stretches to write. Well, the last two days have made sure to give me enough fodder for a good ol' longish post.

My fish, Russell Brand, was inadvertently killed by the flea fogger we set off this weekend. All rodents and fishies were herded into the safety of the laundry room, but Bryce overlooked dear Russell. Alas, he was flushed to a watery grave this evening.

Last night, Bryce was working, and after successfully putting all of the boys to bed (yay for Duncan sleeping in his OWN BED all night every night), I was ready to get a wee snack and paint my nails and chill to some Devil Wears Prada. I had just freed "the twins" from their constricting prison, so I was flopping free and I walked into the kitchen where I felt a substantial SPLAT against my chest. Down into my shirt. And it was moving. I looked down straight into the loving eyes of one of these "little" bastards: That's a Texas tree roach for those of you not in-the-know. And they're big. Like... as long as your finger. They come out in full force in the summer and sometimes I catch one, saddle it up and let the mouse take a ride. As if it couldn't possibly get worse - a giant ROACH, for crying out loud - but they also fly. So, yeah, one of these guys had decided to go to second base with me. After inventing a few new cuss words on the spot, I watched as he scurried under the sink. I checked my pulse and decided not to call 911, then promptly put it out of my head to prevent roach dreams.

Bryce's schedule is the night shift this week, so he's here every day until 2:00. Neither one of us could sleep well last night, so we agree to trade off naps this morning. He got the first nap, I took the second. He lets the kids snack more than I do, and it's often I'll come home from an errand or out of my room from sleeping in, and the kids are carrying boxes of crackers/cereal/cookies, crumbs scattering everywhere. This morning, it was Corgan carrying around a box of Cocoa Puffs. I came to put Duncan on the floor, and started picking up the cereal that had fallen so Duncan wouldn't find them and gag. All was well... until... I picked up a Cocoa Puff that wasn't crunchy. And it wasn't as... sweet... as said cereal. Ladies and Gentlemen, I had picked up a turd. It seriously was the same size and color as the cereal all over the floor. But it was a turd. Corgan's diaper had failed in its duty to serve and protect our family from stray turds. While picking up a foul brown ball was not in my plans today, I can say I'm very glad I found it and that the baby's mouth didn't.

And finally, tonight, Corgan sneaked the tricycle into the living room while my back was turned and rode it straight down the steep double step into our bedroom. His nose was bleeding. And it bled a lot. And bled and bled and bled. Then it bled some more. I was thisclose to taking him to the ER fearing he'd broken it; it was bleeding too much for me to even look at it. It did finally stop, but not before soaking his shirt and mine. I also had some charming bloody sneeze spatters all over me. He's fine now, but the tricycle might have suffered some injuries as it was thrown with great force out into the front yard.

Here's hoping for a calmer rest-of-the-week.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Meet Duncan Wilder. Also known as Doodle-Bug, or Dunka-Doo, Dunka-Doodle Doo, or Doodle-Poodle.

I adore this boy so much. So much, in fact, that I will post this extremely unflattering picture of me simply because I love the way he is looking at me.

Those who are close to me know that when I found out I was expecting another baby, I was less than thrilled. Don't get me wrong, I'd always planned on having another, but I felt it was too soon, not to mention the fact that circumstances were less than ideal. My health wasn't great (later I was diagnosed with Graves Disease) and things at home could have been better. I won't get overly detailed, but I was scared to be pregnant. I cried. I never regretted that it happened, surprise though it may have been, but I just felt it couldn't happen yet. I couldn't handle it. And this pregnancy SUCKED. HARD. So much suckage. I did finally have an epiphany that God always knows best, and that there was a reason for the timing. And sometimes the very best blessings require the hardest battle.

He came to us on October 8, and I just love love love love him. Of course I do, I'm his mother. But he's just so wonderful, and I feel he was meant to come and bless our home when we needed him most. The boys all adore him, Bryce adores him, he's just sweet and pleasant and I swear that kid already has an awesome sense of humor.

I'm catching you up one post at a time! More to come!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Catching Up

Whoah. Looooooong time, no see. I've been experiencing some of the steepest uphill battles that life has to offer for the last few years. I had gotten completely burned out on blogging and some of the "politics" that come along with it. But it has been so long since I have done any journaling of any kind, there's barely any mention of Corgan in my diaries, and absolutely NONE of our new addition, Duncan. Not even a note about my pregnancy. A few weeks ago, some circumstance led me to come poking around my old blog posts, and suddenly I felt like everything I've been needing was right here. Just to have a place to talk about and analyze my day, document the hilarity that is living with four boys (I'd forgotten some of these stories I blogged about so long ago. For shame that some are now "lost" because I hadn't been writing anything down.)

I've always loved writing, and I think I've taken for granted how much it really helps me in bad times. And times have not been very good. We've had many blessings, but there have also been times the last few years that I've honestly wondered HOW I was going to get through some of the crap that was being slung my way. But I'm still here, and I feel stronger, and I need to harness the power of writing to make sure I stay that way and only grow stronger.

Instead of doing one huge, long post to catch up on everything, I'm just going to break things down and post here and there some updates, interspersed with semi-daily happenings and just whatever is on my mind. I say this now, because at one point this came up with some other bloggers I know: I am not doing this for anyone but me. If you read it and enjoy it, that is fabulous and I'm happy. But do not feel obligated to leave any comments. It doesn't hurt my feelings, because I know not all people are "commenters." If you wish to leave one, that is also fabulous and also makes me happy. But I still love you if you do not, because I know it's not a reflection on me or how you feel about me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I am, I am! One of my New Year's resolutions is to write more - not restricted to my blog. I used to write all of the time, and it was a goal of mine to someday write books and poetry, etc. So I have to start somewhere. Check in. If you are still there...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sisters and babies!

Happy birthday to my cute nephew, Jonah, who is one today, which I totally cannot believe. He's my younger sister's son, their first baby, and he has Amy's red hair. He's a handsome little man, and I can't wait to see him again!

And something I can't believe even more is that today Corgan is eleven months old! I feel like I was in the hospital with him last week! He is just about ready to pull up to stand, but he's so stubborn and he gets so frustrated that he gives up. It's pretty cute! All of my boys kind of waited until the very last minute for every milestone, so I know he'll get there. I CAN'T BELIEVE he'll be one year old next month! Time is stealing my boys away from me!

On that note, because I was behind on my blog earlier this month, I didn't document the birth of another nephew, making me an aunt for the 24th time. Camden McKay Myers was born to Ashley and Jon, their fifth child, on Septemeber 10, and we are so excited he's here! Belated congratulations to Ashley and family! I can't wait to get to know him!