Friday, August 10, 2012

Pregnancy, SPD and School Planning

It has been a while and I was asked for an update. It will probably be a long post, and I should probably break it up, but I don't know when I will feel as good as I do this morning. To some this first part will seem like nothing but complaining, but I've been asked how my pregnancy is going and I strive to be honest.

For the past 8 weeks or more I've been sick. I'm sick if I eat and I'm sick if I don't. If you add to that the lack of sleep, then you have one miserable mommy. I seem to sleep for an hour and wake up completely for at least 15 minutes before I can fall asleep again. I am constantly tired and sick to my stomach.

There is also the emotional roller coaster. Stephen says I'm pretty stable, but I feel like I'm all over the place when it comes to my emotions. One minutes I'm crying and the next I'm scared and fretting over something. I've been fighting panic attacks on a daily basis. In one way this is good as it is forcing me to spend more time in prayer as I know I can't deal with this alone, in another way I feel so emotionally drained and as if I have nothing to give to my family let alone to be able to take care of myself. I've had to give it all to God and pray that He will make sure it all works out.

Jackson and Audrey seem to be handling the pressure well. They are gladly fixing breakfast and lunch for everyone as the smell of cooking meat usually causes me to run to the bathroom. I'm so thankful now for taking the time when they were younger to teach them how to cook. These meals are nothing super fancy, but they are good, sustaining and edible. There's nothing more I can ask of them than that.

Along the lines of my pregnancy I've discovered that I have what is called Sensory Processing Disorder. When most people hear this they think of the Autism Spectrum Disorder and how SPD goes along with that. Now maybe I am on the ASD, but I've learned some ways to cope with it, where my William is having troubles.

Let me take a few minutes to explain some things to you. I can not stand crowds of any kind. I refuse to walk down the center aisle at church after services until most of the people have left. It's not that I think people are unclean, it is just I don't like that many people around. I do not like some one sitting on the couch right next to me. This drove my family crazy for years. If someone sat on the cushion right next to me I would get up and sit somewhere else. I just don't like having people that close. I'm easily touched out. This usually happens at the end of the day, but it can happen first thing in the morning as it did yesterday. Stephen wanted to kiss me good bye and I had to sit perfectly still to let him do it. It made my skin crawl and I just wanted him to do it and go away. Now don't get me wrong, I love it that my husband will kiss me goodbye and I miss it when he doesn't, but yesterday was not one of those days. I'm very picky about food textures. I HATE beans. I will eat green beans, but not if they are over cooked. Any other bean I just can't stand the texture of it. I won't eat lumpy mashed potatoes or jello. I refuse to eat something that is burned over cooked or over ripe. The texture in my mouth is just repulsive. I don't like how it sits in my mouth. I can't handle loud noises or bright lights. If my kids start getting to loud I will either send them outside or I will go hide in my room. Hiding in my room will also help with bright lights as I have black out blinds. I also have to wear sun glasses outside especially when I'm driving as I lose some of my vision.

Those are just a few of the things I deal with on a daily basis. Some days are worse than others, but most days I can cope with. It seems with this pregnancy things are worse though. I don't want to be around or with anyone. I want to curl up on my couch and just be left alone. I don't mind my children running around or spending time with them, but to have guests over will send me over the edge. I've done it a few times, and Stephen says I have a deer in the headlights look the whole time. It will also emotionally drain me. I still love having people over, but it may have to wait until after the pregnancy.

I'm still in the planning stages of school for 2012-2013. Stephen and I have been doing a lot of talking and praying about some changes that need to be made. Right now we have Jackson who HATES school. This is not what I wanted for any of my children. When asked if he could get rid of any subject what would it be. He replied that he would love to get rid of the math books that have no purpose and make no sense. Now this boy is a great math student, but when thinking about his request we came to the conclusion that it isn't the work, but he sees no practical value in what he is doing. This has lead us to look for some practical math texts and other solutions. As Jackson is interested in starting his own business we are looking into business accounting and finance.

Audrey still struggles with reading. It's not that she can't read, but that she tries to phonetically pronounce everything she sees and as we all know the English Language is a mess. We have so many homonyms that it makes it hard for any American student to understand let alone an ESL student. The goal with her is to have her read to either the boys or me on a daily basis to help build her confidence.

William is doing very well with his math. He uses a number line still for addition and subtraction, but he is following along very well with everything and seems to comprehend all that is asked of him. His language skills are still lacking, but they are improving everyday. He will now use a complete sentence when requesting something and has even used a complex sentence now and then. He is able to read most CVC words silent E words. He still has trouble with two vowels together. From where he was a year ago this is great progress. He still loves to sing and has learned to sit still for over an hour of family reading time.  All of these are huge progresses for my boy who is autistic.

Philip on the other hand LOVES school. Everyday he is the first one to ask if it is time for school. He usually does most of his work on his own with very little help from me or anyone else. This is such a huge blessing from God as I have to spend a lot of time helping William and the older two with any questions they have. Sometimes I feel like I might neglect him a little, but he is very persistent to make sure he gets one on one time with me. He will remind me that he needs to read to me daily so he can fill in his chart and earn his free book at the end of the month.

What changes does this mean for our family? We have begun copy work again. I tried it before and we fell off the track. This year we are going to use something from our nightly family reading for each of the children to copy in the morning. So far it has gone well.  Kenneth Grahame, who wrote The Wind in the Willows gives me something every night. Usually it is a very, very long sentence, but the kids are learning correct grammar and sentence structure.

We are removing almost all of our workbooks this year and replacing them with notebooking. I'm tired of at the end of the year tossing out the "unwanted" work. If it is so unwanted then why did we do it in the first place? This has bothered not only me, but my older two children for years. It was more noticeable to them while we were in Pennsylvania and had to pull portfolios together. It is my prayer that not only will this show them that all they do is valuable, but will bring some life and joy back into their work for them.

Finally for organization we are going to implement Work boxing. This is something I discovered on Pinterest and started digging into. It was developed by a woman on the west coast for her homeschooling children, one of which was autistic. It not only keeps the child on task, but also gives them a sense of order, control and knowing what comes next. She promotes the children getting up from their desk to work on special projects, to play an education board game, an interactive poster, or to have a family activity. This will be perfect for my boys especially as they love to know what comes next and they all have trouble being organized. Jackson loves the idea as it will give him the ability to do something besides sit at a desk/table all day. Philip loves it because he just has to know what comes next. William doesn't care, but I think it will help him with his issues as well.  Audrey on the other hand doesn't want me to tell her in what order to do things, and seems to get her work accomplished quickly on her own so for now she is exempt.

All things considered, I think the planning is going well. I'll let you know more as we get to it and decisions are made.


  1. Hey, I'm glad I got to read your update. Sorry it's such a rough start to your pregnancy. I don't deal with everything you deal with, but I do remember all that sickness and sleepless nights. It's not easy. I admire you doing all you're doing on top of just dealing with being pregnant: you're raising kids, getting school plans underway, and telling your story. Hang in there. I'm rooting for you!

    1. I told Stephen as he left this morning that you had asked for an update. I think it was more than I anticipated, but once I started talking it all poured out. It has been rough, but the end results will certainly be worth every moment of it.