The New Normal

I know that I have been silent for awhile now. I am not sure why. When I try to sit down and write an update I am not even sure what to write anymore. It seems like life went a bit crazy (whirlwind) last October with selling our house, moving, Mattie’s surgery in TX, and then a trip to NYC for therapy. November and December went by in a blur with trying to help Mattie with her new legs, unpacking, and trying not to get too stressed out about the upcoming holidays. Jim and I were spent. We were going through the motions. We had hit bottom.

Then one random morning, just after Christmas, I woke up and felt ok. Nothing particular happened leading up to that morning but I realized for the first time, we actually enjoyed the holidays. We ended up spending a ton of time with the kids and managed to find time to reconnect. We had no where to go but up, so we did. It was as if a blanket of calmness and peacefulness washed over us. For me, it was finally about acceptance of our life. I have written before about the acceptance of having a special needs child, but acceptance of the life that it brings is different.

We are out of town 2-3 times a month for therapy and travel every 3 months out of state for ABM. Mattie has some type of therapy every day. It is hard on all of us. We have finally accepted that this is our life right now and accepted that this won’t be forever. I guess this is our new normal. I am hopeful at some point in the next few years that things will slow down for us. I know that these are prime years for Mattie so we all push on. Our “non-new years resolution” is to take the time we do have with the kids and try to enjoy it. Our weekend trips for therapy are spent living out of a hotel, but instead of hating it like we have in the past, we have learned to have fun with it. We have managed to become more efficient and better at balancing our everyday life.

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Mattie is really making good progress. She had SPML surgery in October. This has allowed her to long sit, side sit, and pull to stand. She continues to have trouble with her knees and does not like to bend them, the one downfall of the surgery. This is not common at all according to her surgeon and ABM practitioner in NYC. So we work hard at bringing attention to her knees. Mattie will tell us “I want to stand up” “I want to walk”. I love hearing her say this. She is working hard everyday to do what we take for granted. She is determined and motivated. With those two traits this girl will be walking one day!

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Thanks to our very generous family, we were able to take Mattie to Disney for her birthday. For 3 months leading up to her birthday she would tell everyone she would see (strangers and all) that she was going to Disney World. We had no plans to take her at that point, so where did she come up with this idea? She is a bright one. I guess she figured if she told enough people that she was going, she would! I could not say enough amazing things about Disney and Magic Kingdom. They were great with her. Mattie and Joba had a lot of fun, stayed up late for fireworks, and had breakfast with Minnie & Goofy. Jim and I were worn out but it was a nice mini family vacation.

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Since Mattie just turned 3, we had her official IEP meeting a few weeks back. In our state we have a program for kids 3-5 years old that are developmentally delayed. It is a pre-school program to get them ready for mainstream kindergarten. We had to do several evaluations to determine where she would be placed and what services she would be offered. We were given a choice of 2 different schools. One school has a physically impaired (PI) classroom with a full time nurse on staff. The other school has more of a pre-school type setting (EELP). We were able to visit both classes and make the final decision. We both felt the PI class would be too restrictive for Mattie so we choose the other school. From what we saw, Mattie will be the only child not walking but we feel like that will motivate her more. The kids in the class were so cute! 5 little kids, all with different abilities, coming together to learn. We have opted to start Mattie in August since Joba will be starting kindergarten at the same time.

The actual IEP meeting went better then anticipated. We prepared by researching, reading a fantastic book on the subject, writing our goals and a draft IEP. We knew going into the meeting that Mattie would not be offered speech services because she had passed the speech portion of her evaluation. She really is doing well talking, but needs help with articulation (not everyone can understand her). So we will continue with speech therapy outside of school. Mattie was offered PT and OT through the school. At this point we left both on her IEP until we can meet with the actual PT/OT to determine what type of work they will do with Mattie.

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Today I will leave you with a promise to update more and post more really cute videos.

Here is one from this week. Mattie threw her bowl on the ground so I picked it up and told her that if she threw it down again she would go to time out. She looked right at me, threw the bowl down and said “I wanna go to time out like Joba” and started laughing. So with my most serious (hiding my laugh) face, I told her “time out is serious, it is not meant to be fun but a punishment”. She answered back with “I wanna go to time out”. So she did 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “The New Normal

  1. Thanks for the update Jess. I am so glad Mattie is progressing so well. Your post made me so happy although I did shed a tear or two. The journey isn’t easy, I know that first hand. I suppose my tears were joy for that beautiful little girl. I wish all of you the best. Go Mattie… I know you will walk soon. Take care and God Bless.

  2. Mattie remainds me so much of my daughter Isa, she’s just 2 but it seems like she’s following Mattie’s progress. Isa can’t walk yet, but just as you, I know she will one day.
    thanks for the update
    Liz

  3. Hi Jess, I had the pleasure of going to the zoo with Sarah and Mattie. I so enjoyed watching her look at the animals and her laughter on the rides Sarah took her on. She is a beautiful little girl and she sure won my ❤️ Warm regards, Katie

  4. Jess and Jim… You are amazing! Being a parent is hard work, but Mattie is successful because of the choices you have made! She is a very lucky girl to have the two of you in her life as her parents! She is beautiful! Keep up the positive attitude! Life if what we make it! 🙂

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