Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gluten Free little dude

Not the best picture-but the most current- Look at those lovely eyes!
#2 is my little man with a sensory processing disorder. When #2 was 5 years old, and started kindergarten, he could read, but he could not write. When he had to do things that required fine motor skills, he had a melt down. Melt downs include screaming, hitting, stomping, laying on the floor, crying, and a general sense of being completely out of control of his own body. I know that #2 has a brilliant mind. He thinks so deeply. He understands things that lots of children his age don't. He is a typically sweet, kind, loving, tenderhearted child. This is why the meltdowns were so confusing to me.
I worked for about 6 months, trying to figure out how to help my boy. I wanted to be able to understand why he did what he did. I wanted to help him to become strong enough to handle hard things. I wanted him to be able to function in society.
I finally ended up at an occupational therapy center. They asked me questions that helped me describe #2's challenges perfectly. They asked about fine motor skills, large motor skills, eating, dressing, transitions, social interactions, smells, sounds, lighting etc. After filling out the survey, I was sure I was in the right place.
With in a month of intensive therapy, #2 was able to write. By the second month, he was able to wear more than sweats and t-shirts to school. Month 3 and 4 were devoted to sleeping, eating, large motor skills and transitions. During month 5 and 6 we worked on social interactions. During months 5 and 6 we were still having problems with screaming and meltdowns. Because it wasn't happening at therapy, the therapist couldn't really understand what I was talking about.
A friend of mine's oldest son was flagged as autistic around that time. As we started talking about different ways that it presented, I was reminded of my little guy. I told her all about therapy and how much it had helped us. She said she wanted to try a gluten/casein free diet first. After a few weeks, she couldn't believe the difference. About the same time- I went to a dietician, who recommended I go on a gluten free diet- to try and relieve some of the stomach problems I had been having for years. After a few weeks of me being gluten free, I decided to have #2 go gluten free as well.
Within 2 weeks the number of meltdowns #2 had went from 20 or 30 a day to 1 or 2. Homework time went from 1 page in 2 hours with constant re-direction, to him independently doing a weeks worth of homework in 5 minutes. That month the therapist came to me and said, "Well it looks to me like we have met all of our goals. #2 seems to be functioning perfectly. Do you have any more concerns?" I didn't. We ended therapy. He was happier. We were all happier.
He stayed away from gluten for most of the summer. In August he started to eat more gluten. But, we didn't see a noticeable difference, except for a stomach ache the first couple day- and some explosive bowel movements. He had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich daily and weekly chocolate chip cookies.
In October we started to notice an increase in meltdowns. We also noticed a decreased ability to follow instructions. Finished homework was coming home- because it hadn't been turned in. He lost his coat several times and he even lost his shoes once (at school). The last part of November was like living with a Zombie. We would say, "Please get your shoes on." He would just look at us. Then we would physically put his shoes one, his coat on, and take him by the hand to the car. Over the last couple days, the only time we have seen #2 respond has been to scream and have meltdowns. Needless to say, we are putting him back on a gluten free diet.
I am constantly amazed how much his disorder is affected by his diet. I haven't read enough to understand exactly why a gluten free diet works. I just know it does. In fact, this morning #2 had a bowl of gluten free cereal for breakfast. After breakfast, I saw his eyes look at me for the first time in 2 weeks. He came over, sat on my lap and put his arms around my neck. He kissed my cheek and said "I love this house".
Here goes our first Gluten free Christmas, wish me luck!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Merry Monday

We ask our boys to only do things on Sunday that will bring them closer to the Savior. #4 and #3 were begging to watch Iron man. Hubbin was trying to teach him how he could decide for himself if it was an appropriate Sunday activity. Here is the criteria.
-Does it teach of Jesus
-Does it remind us of the things that he taught?
#3 promptly said "Yes, it teaches us how to help people."
-note to self - refine the criteria
- He almost convinced us.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I know Heavenly Father answers Prayers

My prayers have begun to evolve over the years. When I was little I learned to pray from my parents and this little children's song
I Pray in Faith by Janice Kapp Perry

1. I kneel to pray ev’ry day. I speak to Heav’nly Father. He hears and answers me When I pray in faith.

2. I begin by saying “Dear Heavenly Father”; I thank him for blessings he sends; Then humbly I ask him for things that I need, In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

My mother is so faithful. When I was younger if I had a question or was seeking a special blessing I would ask my mom to pray for it. It seemed like she would put in a petition to the Lord and instantly the prayer would be answered. I started to rely on her faith. I thought she was more likely to get the answer than me.

When I was pregnant with #3, a sister in our family was having complications with her pregnancy. We were concerned for her. We prayed that she and the baby would have health and strength. Just after #3 was born, the little boy passed away. I was so mad! I did not want him to die. It wasn't fair that I had a sweet baby to hold and she didn't. It wasn't fair that their good family suffered a loss. I didn't understand why the Lord wanted us to pray with faith and then not answer our prayers. I was in the mothers room crying for my sister in law. I was holding my baby and wishing she could hold hers. My friend came in. I told her how I was feeling, and she said, "You just have to have faith that that was his will." Later one of our nieces or nephews said, "I bet all of our fasting and prayers helped Baby Kris to live with us for as long as he did."

For me, this experience led me to stop praying for things that I wanted. I started to just pray prayers of thankfulness. I would think about praying for someone or something- for example- please bless so-in-so that they may be healed, if it be Thy will. But, it seemed useless to ask for things, to me. I figured we were meant to just go along life and whatever experience we needed would be provided whether they were sickness, death, health, or wealth.

Then our brother moved far away to go on a mission. He didn't know the language well. He wasn't used to the food. He needed help, and he asked us to pray for him. At first I started to pray, because he asked. We would pray for his safety. We would pray that he could find people to teach. We would pray for his health. We would pray for his faith. Eventually I started to pray with more faith. When he returned from his mission, another brother went to Afghanistan to serve in the Military. He also asked for prayers. I couldn't imagine what his wife would do with out him. So, I prayed for her to have the strength and patience she needed while he was gone. I prayed for him that he would stay safe. He came home and they were happily reunited. During this time my brother started having problems with anxiety. My sister was working and a new mom. I was concerned for them. I prayed for her and for him. Every day I prayed for someone. I tried to think what the Lord would want to bless them with. And then I prayed for that. My faith has been strengthened. My families faith has been strengthened. My boys know that when they pray, there prayers are heard. There is a father in heaven who listens to their prayers and answers them. Several times the kids would say, "uh-oh we forgot to pray for so-in-so". Then we would all fold our arms and pray for the person we were concerned for.

Christ taught us this story.

Holy Bible (King James version) Luke chapter 18:1-8

1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

The other day after a family prayer, Hubbin asked the boys if we had forgotten anyone in our prayers. #2 piped up. "Yes Dad, I am really worried about the people in Somalia. We need to pray that the leaders of their country will soften their hearts and accept help, so people will stop dying." We all folded our arms and added the people of Somalia to our prayers.

An excerpt from the Bible Dictionary (Cambridge University Press)

As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part. Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.

I know that faith is strengthened from prayer. I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers. I challenge you to pray. He hears and answers you when you pray in faith.

-with love