Sunday was rough. I’d had a particularly long and harrowing night with Delia, and when Trevor got home (still the night shifts, remember?) I more or less collapsed on him. Church was a huge blessing and just what my heart needed for refreshment, but sometimes when I’m in that collapse-y frame of mind, blessings can make me a little weepy. I think I burst into tears on at least four different women after the service (not to mention the hymn and the sermon point that got the waterworks going before that), each time after thinking I’d pulled myself back together. There’s something about that knowing “How are you?” from a sister in the Lord that makes it very difficult to just say, “Great! Things are going really well,” when frankly, things are just feeling hard.
On Sunday afternoon my mom called to let me know my great uncle had passed away, and the floodgates opened again. Pippa commented, with the candor that only a child knows how to deliver, “Well, I’m just glad you’re crying about something that’s actually sad this time!” I continue to be amazed by how perfectly fine and normal our life can feel to the kids when my world feels so very rocked at times, but when I chat with Pippa and Romilly in the evenings after the others are in bed, they faithfully encourage me that “Everything is fine, Mom.” And it really and truly is.
I know we have been so prayed for this week. God has heard and answered. It has been a very good week. And as icing on the cake, Trevor found out last night that he does not have to work this Saturday night as originally planned, so we have a three-night week and a four-night weekend. Having him home makes such a difference, and four days sounds almost too good to be true.
On Monday afternoon, we had the blessing of a visit from an old friend of the family, Libby, whose 12-year-old daughter also has autism. What an incredible encouragement and resource they were! We gleaned many practical tips on using sign language effectively and managing difficult behavior. Libby’s particular area of expertise is diet and nutritional treatment for autism, and while I’m not quite ready to change our whole diet yet, we are eliminating a couple of easy-to-eliminate foods (bananas and raisins, who knew?) from Delia’s diet to see if it helps. When Libby asked me, “Is she waking between 3 and 5 AM and laughing maniacally?” I knew I would do just about anything she told me to do next!
Tuesday saw Delia’s second significant snowfall since arriving home. We had a very treacherous drive home from my midwife appointment that morning (who knew that much snow could accumulate in one hour!), but all is well with the baby. At 32 weeks it seems that baby has decided to get in the right position, which was a relief since none of my other babies had stayed head-up as long as this one did – I was getting a bit nervous!
Yesterday the kids played in the snow, and again today. Delia was ambivalent at best on her first snow experience, but today she was delighted! I think she would have kept sledding all day if I had had the stamina to keep putting her in the sled for longer.
Yesterday, a lovely lady from church brought us two chicken pot pies, an enormous salad and a gallon of ice cream. (Mental note: crying in church is embarrassing, but totally worth it!) I haven’t cooked dinner in two days!
We are having a lot of success with teaching Delia sign, and she loves watching baby sign videos on youtube as a family in the evenings. All the kids do – they’re not used to so much TV time! She now repeats and/or uses signs for: more, eat, all done, nice, please, thank you, dog and maybe a few more I’m forgetting. Understanding how visual children with autism are, I am trying to use a sign each time I ask her to do (or stop doing) something, and I believe this is helping us see some improvement in her behavior. Sleep continues to be hit or miss, but last night was a very good night, so I’ll take it!
Thank you all for staying with this meandering post, and for praying for our family. We feel so truly blessed by the love and support God has surrounded us with in all of you.