Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Peace and Perspective

So,  I'm easily amused - and one thing I find funny is the reaction by a new therapist to my statement that "Evelyn is sleepy today, and she's not going to wake up.".  No one ever believes me, and I mean no one.  I feel guilty lately when it happens because my patience is wearing thin on this topic.  When Evelyn chooses to sleep, it is because her body needs it, and she knows it - so she goes to sleep and will, nearly without fail, remain that way until about thirty minutes before bedtime.

This is hard for people to understand, because most children will go and go and go until they dissolve into a puddle of tears and tantrums (or until someone makes them take a nap - whichever comes first).  I think I should be more sympathetic with those who don't 'get Evs' yet; especially since I do the same thing.  Whether it is emotional overexertion or the work of life, I keep pushing until I find I'm spent - and then I get grouchy, or weepy or downright mean.  It would make sense to just go take a nap; and the adult equivalent would be carving out regular time for myself free of children and responsibilities.  For years my excuse for not doing so was that Evelyn's stuff didn't allow for that, or that I was too tired to orchestrate all the people and things required for me to be away from my kids.  But lately, it was time.

In January we somewhat pessimistically joined a gym, after having exercised at home regularly for a few months.  I say it was with pessimism because I've never enjoyed any form of exercise.  I know that sounds crazy for those of you who have been active all your lives, but even the swim team when I was a kid was just work to me.  It all changed this year, and over the last four months I've spent about 100 hours exercising and lost 15 pounds.  I'm outing myself now - I'm in love with zumba.  I can't even capitalize the 'z' because I'm a little embarrassed - I mean, it isn't long distance running or even something more 'hard core' like P90X or CrossFit... just a bunch of women shaking their booties in the name of a good cardio workout.  Well, I'll tell you this - it is hard work, it is fun, and it is the best therapy I've ever had.  Taking an hour five or six times a week to stop thinking and just exercise has helped me in so many ways...and knowing that working to be healthier is good for me and my children helps assuage the guilt of leaving them to do it.  I even managed to exercise while we were in the hospital (not zumba, the classes didn't work on that schedule) - because I had really learned how much better I feel after.

For my other mommies of special needs kiddos - I don't know if I'll keep it up, from crisis to crisis, but I can say that I don't want to stop.  I think every day about when I'm going to fit it in on the following day, and while there has been an impact to the dust bunnies in the corners of the house - we are all happier.  If you're not doing something for yourself, on a really regular basis - start now.  I don't know how I managed without it for so long; and for me exercise only works because I feel less guilty about that than I would, say, about an art class or book club.  Regardless - if Evelyn knows when to take time for herself, if I'm teaching Owen to take that time, them shouldn't I?

And speaking of the little ones - we have had an absolutely wonderful weekend and early week so far.  The theory coming out of our EEG/hospital visit is that Evelyn's dose of Lamictal is a bit too high.  We've always used a high-ish dose, because it works well for her, but through a series of random events we got just a tad too high.  Immediately upon beginning to reduce her dose she has had some great days.  Saturday we went to a nature preserve, where Evelyn and Owen were able to hold and pet bunnies, ducks and guinea pigs, make bird feeders and animal puppets, and really enjoy being outside.  Evelyn has also slept a bit more, but given the lack of naps these last few weeks I think she needs it.  Monday she took a trip to Target to make a birthday wish list for herself; we don't do big crazy birthdays, but a few gifts are in order.  Tuesday she had a great therapy session with Mr. Ramin and Ms. Rachel - she read a book on her computer and played with her my little pony.  Today she is resting, and reminding us all to slow down, pay attention to what our bodies and souls need, and refuel ourselves.