Friday, March 29, 2013

good things.

time with family? taste testing for a wedding? on a sunny day? surrounded by cherry blossoms, kids with bubbles, and beautiful fountains? does it get any better than this?
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thank you joe and brie for a capital day.
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oh, my goodness. some photographers from the local paper were taking pictures of the kids playing together when suddenly finn dropped his undies and started peeing in the fountain! he was going for distance, too. so the photographers, along with a sweet, old couple sitting under the cherry blossoms had a very, very good laugh.
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you know, she's really going to be a beautiful bride two weeks from tomorrow.

sitting down.

on the way to the park i was having flashbacks. this was last springs common trek. i remembered a little boy who walked on air. i remembered i could hardly keep up he was so anxious to play.

then i left my daydream and realized, for the first time, the way ossi's own life has changed. at the time i was walking ahead of him, telling him not to quit and that he could make it the last few blocks. he cried, "i want to go home." i felt irritated.
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i helped the other kids navigate the playground for a while, but looked back to see ossi sitting in the stroller, tears running down his cheeks. he was miserable. i felt frustrated.
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he wanted to go home. he just wanted to watch a movie. the park, even in close proximity, wasn't calling to him in the slightest. i felt exasperated.
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i walked over to sit on the bench near him and immediately i felt compassion wash over me. there is just something about sitting down. i sit and suddenly i have a lap in need of a renter. he climbed over and we snuggled while he sobbed. here's what i remember of our conversation... he sobbed the whole time...

me: are you cold?
him: yeees.
me: i bet it's a lot easier for you to be warm at home, huh?
him: yeees.
me: do you remember when you used to run around half naked all of the time, and you didn't care what the weather was like, you just wanted to play?
him: yeah.
me: i bet it's a lot to worry about now that you get so cold, huh? like you have to think about that all of the time instead of having fun.
him, letting out a huge sob:yeah!
me: i bet it feels really sad to change so much and have to act so grown up when you are still a kid.
him: yeah.
me: i think there is something we can do to help you with this. i really feel like we can fix this problem you have. we'll fix it, i promise... do you think you are growing up too fast or not fast enough?
him: not fast enough.

then he climbed out of stroller and gave the park a shot. we soon left for home.
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i think i have a tendency to stress about the way that ossi's struggle affects the family, but i don't always remember that he's right there with us. he's fighting this battle just like we are, only he's fighting it constantly and he often feels lonely and misunderstood.

a little compassion goes a long way.

and so does a little research.

although his blood testing came back "normal" i decided to take a closer look at what each of the tests meant. as i was reading i noticed that in most areas he was near the lows or highs of the "normal range." as i was researching the symptoms of things like "low sodium" and "high calcium" i was amazed to see many of our concerns with ossi listed. i was especially interested in his very, very low vitamin d level and his low thyroid something hormone [i'm pretty much the worst at medical jargon]. i thought about checking to see if there was a book called "mental health for dummies" but then i realized that would be the most horrible book title ever so there is no way it's out there.

anyway, all of these things, it turns out, are interconnected. vitamin d [along with a great many other functions] stimulates the thyroid which regulates body temperature. so since we've been giving him vitamin d steadily over the past few days i've been amazed to see my son return. he's still highly frustrated and totally inflexible, but he's not so darn cold.
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and
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he can
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be a child again.
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i can't express how thankful i am for the insights granted by a loving Father as i've been seeking answers.

a friend of mine offered to watch the kids while i went to the temple for a while to serve and think things through. what a blessing. i felt so much clarity and direction. i knew why ossi wished so badly that he would just grow up. because i've been secretly wishing for him to grow up.

as i was leaving i saw a painting that schooled me. mary sat with the Savior while martha bustled and fretted. i knew then that the Lord was asking me to spend more time sitting down.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

the stick incident.

there were two, actually. incidents.

firstly, my parents' dog grabbed this stick out of ossi's hands. the critter ran away, giggling, and wedged his way into a narrow passage, cracking the stick near one end.
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you must know that this was not just any stick. this was a grandpa gift. and ossi treasures his gifts. he remembers the giver and mentions them whenever he plays with his gifts. also, this is his jack frost stick. i'm not the only one who relates to the guy.
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so gus the dog broke it. grandpa mended it. making it even more precious to him.
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here's the second incident. 

wait, more back story. ossi has trouble expressing emotions and his mental file for available reactions to frustrations is very limited. he might be flustered, too warm, annoyed, tired, worried, anxious, scared, lonely, overwhelmed, or impatient and his expression of choice is to threaten to hurt the people around him. or actually hurt them.

after the second incident his dad sat consoling him for near an hour as he screamed terribly sad things like, "how will i protect myself now?" and "i'm not safe here anymore!" 
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how do you teach a child that their family isn't out to get them when he's so otherwise certain?

i'll tell you what you don't do. you don't take his most prized possession in hand and break it into five pieces in front of his eyes. 

i am ashamed to say that my frustration file was empty. we had some very long conversations following the incident. we talked about "our team" and how safe he really is in our home. and about how wrong i was to break his stick. he forgave me.

we turned it into a decorative, treasure box. he loves it.

i'm really, really imperfect. but i'm learning.
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at first glance you may see a dangerous bully of a kid with a big stick. look at his eyes, though. doesn't this boy look lonely, and scared, and tired of fighting?

our happy.

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mason bee.

our cat is mason. like the bee. beeeecause he is so gentle, opting not to sting. unless he's really, really provoked.

these kids have carried him around like a stuffed toy since the day he came to us.
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he's taken a jump on the trampoline.

and a ride in a pillow case.
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and recently he took a little trip to finn's barber shop.

apparently he didn't even flinch because i found him in the middle of the crime scene, happy as a clam.
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