Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Brown Boxes Make Me Smile

There is no better to way to brighten your day after having been pelted with wind and rain than opening your mailbox to find not one, not two, BUT three parcels . . .

And it's even better, when those parcels happen to be filled with books!

The night we returned home from our trip, Mr. Level-Headed ignored my pleas and stopped at our mailbox on our way home.  I really needed just one more sleep before reality clobbered me over the head, but it wasn't  meant to be.  Among our stack of bills and Easter cards, there was a letter from Elliot's Developmental Pediatrician with another list of books we may find useful in helping Elliot to relieve his anxiety, to better understand social situations, and to learn more about NLD.  This is only half of what she wants us to read, and does not include the pile we have already gone through. 


I think I may need another vacation . . .

tee hee!

Although the sheer size of what I have to read is overwhelming, all of these books are amazing, and it will be so great when their knowledge is safely tucked away within my brain and I can access it readily when needed.   Like right now, I really need to know how to help Elliot sleep.  We are going on a week and a half and I am dying here; therefore, today, while the boys are doing their work, I am going to go through my small library and search for the answer.  I NEED ANSWERS!!

On a positive note, I am currently working with my kids on a preventive program for depression because people with NLD have an exuberantly high rate of depression, but I figured this would be something all my kids could benefit from. The book I am using is called "The Optimistic Child", and it outlines how you can teach your child to become an optimist rather than a pessimist and give them tools to build a lifelong resilience against depression. I love it!  First off, you have to teach your kids how to recognize, or "catch" the things they say to themselves particularly when something goes wrong.  Our internal dialogue determines how we react to adversity and the consequences that arise from it.  The goal is to teach kids to stop thinking in catastrophic, permanent, and negative ways; for instance, I am the stupidest person ever, nobody likes me, I will never be good at math, etc.  During our first session, Zoe and Avery joked around a lot, but Elliot became sullen.  As I was putting him to bed, he began crying and said:

Mom, I am feeling down.

Why, bud?

Because the things I say to myself are not very nice.

Like, what kinds of things?

Well, whenever I do something good, this tiny voice always says:  yeah, but you are a dog killer.

My heart stopped.  Three years ago, our dog Sport drowned in the river while we were away on a hockey tournament, and it has bothered Elliot ever since, but I had no idea he thought this.

Buddy, you had nothing to do with Sport's death.

Yes, I did!  If I wasn't off having fun and was home taking care of my dog like I should have been doing, this would never have happened!

My heart sank.  My little boy had been carrying this around with him for three years.  I curled up beside Elliot, wrapped my arms around him, and whispered in his ear just how important he is to me. 

Buddy, you are the most amazing boy I know, you are very special, and I love you. 

These little insights I am granted into Elliot's experience are hard to hear.  Until his diagnosis, I had no idea just how difficult he found the world or that he was carrying such a heavy burden on his shoulders each and every day, but thank heavens I do know now.  Now, I can help him, and now he is no longer alone!

Parents, please talk to you kids and find out what kinds of things they are saying to themselves.  We spend so much time warning them about external threats, like bullies or ill-intentioned adults, but sometimes, it is that little voice in their head, that goes undetected for years, and does the greatest damage.  I am a firm believer that knowledge is power, and we need to equip our children with the knowledge and tools they need to lead happy, productive lives.  It isn't going to be easy, but it will definitely be worth it!

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