When Dinosaurs Start Talking

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I was a couple of weeks behind on grading Brynna’s schoolwork.  I settled myself on the couch and I was determined that this would be the day that I would get completely caught up with my grading.   As soon as I opened the first book I became distracted.   I was totally mesmerized by what was happening.  This was a moment in time that I wasn’t sure I would ever see.  I put my pen down because this moment deserved my full attention.

Hope was sitting on the area rug playing with her dinosaurs.  She was pretending she was Poppa.  Then she would switch and pretend that she was Arlo.  Poppa gave Arlo a rousing speech on what he should and shouldn’t do.  Arlo was grateful for Poppa’s advice and he said “Thank you, Poppa. I love you.” And then Poppa said “I love you too, Arlo.”

Pretend play.  It comes naturally to a lot of kids.  Our older girls had no problem with pretend play.  Taylor and Brynna were mommies to a lot of dolls throughout the years.  Tea parties were a frequent social function that we attended in our living room.  Taylor dressed up as Tigger and bounced to the back door every day when her Daddy came home.  He had to remember to call her Tigger and not Taylor or he got in trouble.  Brynna enjoyed dressing up in a ladybug costume and playing with her Dora the Explorer castle.   Brynna, Dora, a unicorn, and a dragon had a lot of adventures together.  I’ll never forget the day that we were playing in the backyard and Taylor told me that she used to live in a puddle when she was a duck.  You used to be a duck? Yep.  Pretend play.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Pretend play doesn’t come naturally to all kids.  Mikayla and Hope have never had the desire to play with a doll.  We’ve had a few tea parties but they lasted about 3 minutes.  Dress up has never been fun because of their sensory issues.  It’s hard to have fun when the itching is driving you crazy.  Why can’t they be like their older sisters?  Why can’t we have fun pretending?  I used to force pretend play on them.  They didn’t like it.  So I gave up.  Now that they’re 11 years old pretend play is finally happening at our house.

The girls bought a SpongeBob play set with some of their Christmas money.   I was walking through the living room when Mikayla yelled.

You’re going to jail.

What?  Is she talking to me?  What did I do to deserve going to jail?  Guess I better find out.  So I asked her Who’s going to jail?

Charlie.  He’s going to jail.

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Charlie is the criminal who came with the SpongeBob play set.  Mikayla looked at him and she named him Charlie.  He does kind of look like a Charlie.

Why is Charlie going to jail?

He stole somefun  

That should be “something” for those of you who don’t speak Mikayla.

So Spongebob dragged Charlie off to jail.  Not sure how many years he’ll get.  I guess we need to schedule a court date and start the trial.

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Progress never comes as quickly as I would like it to come.  And when it comes it rarely looks like I thought it would look.  I never thought that pretend play would be sparked at our house by a policeman named SpongeBob and a criminal named Charlie.  Or that it would come when they were 11 years. Perhaps one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from Mikayla and Hope is that faster isn’t necessarily better.  When progress is slow I’ve learned so much along the way.  I’ve learned to appreciate the uniqueness of each of our girls.  I’ve learned to love them because of who they are and not because of what they do.   I’ve learned to breathe in and take time to appreciate the little steps they’ve taken along the way.  I’ve learned that pretend play is a gift that can be unwrapped at any age.  When dinosaurs start talking I listen, smile, and wipe a tear from my eye.  And I thank God for creating a special moment in time.  A moment that I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t had to wait for it.

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Someone Has Anger Issues

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Mikayla, come brush your teeth!

Total silence.  Where is she?

Mikayla, come brush your teeth!!

Still total silence.  I’m tired and slightly irritated.

Mikayla!  Get in here right now!!!!  I’m not gonna say it again!!!!

That girl knows when momma means business.  She stumbled into the bathroom with her yellow angry bird tucked under her arm.  She squeezed his wing and he said “Someone has anger issues!”   And there you have it.  Truth straight from the bird’s mouth.  That crazy bird says all kinds of phrases.  But at this exact moment he decided to focus on my anger issues.  Really?

Life as a parent to little sweethearts who have special needs isn’t easy.  Our girls talk all day long.  They perseverate on a certain question or phrase and they say it a million times a day.  I constantly deal with behavior issues (the girls and my own).  My brain usually turns into a pile of goo by 3 p.m. When bedtime rolls around I’m exhausted.  I want little girls to show up when it’s time to brush their teeth.  I want people to stop talking.  I want my bed.  I have a right to be impatient at bedtime.  Right?

It’s been several months since my encounter with that angry bird.  Every time anger begins to rise up within me I hear his words ringing in my ears. Someone has anger issues.  And that someone is me.  Anger is my enemy.  It sneaks in and it steals my joy.  It makes me bitter instead of better. God is gently and consistently reminding me that anger and impatience are not ok.  Together we’re going to conquer my anger issues.  He’s making me painfully aware of how often I allow anger to control me.  Countless times in the last few months I’ve felt anger rising up within me.  And each time He gently shows me that I’m allowing anger to control my life.

I collapsed into bed on Christmas night.  I began scrolling through facebook.  It looked as if everyone had a picture perfect Christmas.  Anger began to bubble up within me.  Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.  But this day wasn’t wonderful.  We were at my parents house and Brett spent most of the day in a room with our little sweetheart who couldn’t maneuver her way through a meltdown.  Our problems don’t disappear just because it’s Christmas.  Sure wish they could disappear for just one day.  Why do some families get to enjoy Christmas and our family just tries to survive Christmas?  It’s not fair. Someone has anger issues.

We pulled into the drive thru to get the girls some lunch.  Chaos ensued.  The girls started screaming their orders.  Why are you doing that?  I asked you what you wanted when we were at Walmart so you wouldn’t do this.  Sigh.  Then they started fighting with each other.  The guy taking our order couldn’t hear us and we couldn’t hear him.  I really get tired of this.  Why does this happen almost every time we eat out?  It must be nice to be one of the families who eats inside of the restaurant.  But look at us.  We can hardly maneuver our way through the drive-thru.  Great.  Now I have a headache.  Someone has anger issues.

Why do I have to attend IEP meetings every year?  Lots of parents don’t even know what an IEP meeting is.  I used to be one of them.  Someone has anger issues.

Why is everything hard for our girls?  Why do they have to struggle every day to do things that come easily to most children?  Someone has anger issues.

Life was already hard enough before anxiety came and pulled the rug out from under me.  I have enough to deal with.  Why does anxiety have to be thrown into the mix?   Someone has anger issues.

Yes, it seems like I’m continually dealing with the issue of anger in my life.  God is lovingly and patiently helping me find my way back to a life of joy. A life of being thankful for what I have instead of angry about what I don’t have.  Thankful for the sweet moments with our girls that God highlights and wants me to remember.  Like the moment when we were walking into Walmart and Mikayla’s little hand reached for mine.  And I heard the Lord say “She may always want to hold your hand.”  I smiled as we walked hand in hand.  Mikayla and Hope may never outgrow their need to hold Mommy’s hand.   I will hold their hands for the rest of my life and enjoy every moment.  I believe that as I begin to focus on what I have instead of what I don’t have I will see my anger issues disappear.  And joy will return to my life.  And it all started with a silly angry bird who spoke truth into my life.