Sunday, January 22, 2006

Needed: Mentor(s)

Melba's blog got me to thinking...just bear with me while I spill my guts here.

Ever since I got pregnant with Allison I feel like I have been lost and not having any idea about what I'm supposed to be doing. My mom has never been pregnant, given birth, had a newborn who never sleeps and only cries to deal with...when she got me I was 6 weeks old and sleeping through the night. Well, maybe for a while there after Allison got a little older, and before Ethan was born, I was doing ok. But then Ethan was born...and since day one he has been a special needs baby/child. I have always worked with children so between that and majoring in Psychology and Family and Child Development in college, I knew what was "normal" and what was 'a little too much' and what was 'over the top and definitely into abnormal'. Ethan is in the latter group. I have always known that. NO ONE wanted to believe that. EVERYONE just wanted to believe that I was a crazy mother...and I was...dealing with his needs, wants, mood swings, screaming tantrums, super sensitivity to sounds and touches, extra super hyperactivity so high that he is almost off the charts...was driving me to insanity. But everyone just told me, "Just wait until he's 2", then it was "Just wait until he's 4"...or "If you would carry him around in a baby sling he wouldn't cry" or, "If you would just try this" or "If you would just try that"...everyone had a solution. Didn't they think I had tried EVERYTHING??? No one would admit that there was something different about him, but nobody wanted to babysit him to give me a break either, because he was "too much trouble". Anyway, he has since been diagnosed with ADHD, General Anxiety Disorder (nos) and Bipolar Disorder. Then of course there are the struggles with the schools. However, I have to give his new school huge kudos, because they do recognize and admit that he doesn't learn like others. They just finished all of their testing with him and, although they can't formally diagnose him with dyslexia right now, for a couple of reasons, there is definitely a learning disability there that is bring his IQ down from the 120's to 105. Which is still good...but...he just can't read or write so, the knowledge that is in his brain cannot be expressed. Which makes him frustrated and me very sad. But at least we know this and I have pushed limits with doctors and teachers for years to get him help and we got started much earlier than the average kid with problems. But...I still feel like I don't know what to do with life...

With Ethan, it's like every day is a new day, and you never know what to expect from him. Will it be a good day or a bad day? He never reacts to stimuli the same way twice. You never know what is going to happen 5 seconds from now, so I can't plan or count on anything. This is where the going insane part comes in!

Does anybody else out there deal with this? Or have you in the past?

And art...Mixed Media, to be specific. Is everyone self-taught? Because there is NOTHING out there...classes, workshops, whatever...for me to take. Of course, that's just in the San Antonio area. I know there are people who do workshops, but not in Texas, apparently. Not that I'm going into this blind...I have always done "different" artwork. Well, it wasn't even considered was just "something Lauri did". But, there are so many things out there that I don't know about or know how to use...UTEE, PMC, polymer clay, all those glazes, glosses and dyes! All of those beautiful things that put a particular piece of art a notch or two or three above! How does everyone else learn?

See...Ethan just came in and hugged me, gave me a kiss and told me that he loves me. 15 minutes ago I was living in a different universe! Thank God for Clonazipam, Wellbutrin and Effexor! (And that's just for me...Ethan has his own shelf in the medicine cabinet!)

Anyway...anyone up for this job??? lol!


melba said...

Wow, we really have so much in common! My Ethan has sensory intergration disorder and has been part of early intervention sice he was 17 months. He is now 38 months so he can no longer get services in my state, but getting him in a program early really helped. He still has sensory issues, but now we know his triggers and what we can do to help him feel "normal". Not having anyone to talk to about being a Mom is what really got me into art and the whole blog world. I am still figuring it all out, but it is nice to know there are other women like me out there to connect with in some way.

primdollie said...

Oh Dear Lauri I don't have my own with disablities but that is what I do every day!! I work with 5 special needs children and now I know why you said you have a hard time getting any art done!!! I wish there were easy answers for you and miracle ideas on how to get things to work better but as you have found out the hard way it's all trial and error!! the one boy I work with hasn't been diagnosed yet but sounds a lot like your little boy! he responds well with sensory things but he can read and writing is tough but he can spell what he sees sometimes backwards though!!?? and he has horrible mood swings and screaming fits! but keep after the Dr's and therapists until you find one who can help!! don't give up!! and now I have no art "training" just some classes here in Cleveland when we had Art Continuum and I read a lot and basically am self taught!!! your art work is great from what I see here on your blog!! so if there is anything I can help with just say the word!!! I am more than happy to share and if I were closer I would babysit my dear!!! we have 5 in our room and it can be quite wild some days!! hang in honey!!! it WILL get better!!! big hugs Linda

Lori said...

I would.
I would take Ethan so you could do your artwork.

Maybe he and Ben would wear eachother out.

Love ya girl

Leah said...

(((hugs))) no advice here. but my mom is going through something similar with my youngest brother. they've been in texas for the last year and a half and the school system has given them such a hard time about getting extra attention for his learning disabilities. i know it's incredibly frustrating for both my mom and my brother (he's 13).

when you mentioned the mixed media thing, i thought of claudine hellmuth ( she has a workshop in Dallas Texas in May...I did a little poking around on the internet and found this artist: who is in san antonio and says she teaches workshops/classes, there's this school:, and this place looked cool!

I hope that's somewhat helpful. I've taken a couple classes, but most of my stuff was self-taught through some trial and error and reading in books. I have a post up about making a quickie collage on my blog, so you can check that out too. :-)

Sundries Sublime said...

HI, I have nothing to add about parenting and it's frustrations as I don't have any kids :( but as far as self-taught artists vs. class-taught, I read somewhere or heard somewhere, something about how self-taught artists seem to be free-er because they haven't learned to "think inside the box" of whatever they've been taught and they also aren't as dependent on the class/teacher/someone telling them what to do. I know I always feel like I need direction. But maybe this is your time to really go WILD & CRAZY! Teach yourself! Have NO boundries!! NO right & wrong. Just you and whatever YOU feel led to do at that moment. ..... I don't know... Maybe this just sounds like b.s. but just know people are thinking of you and cheering for ya!!! :D

In Otter Space said...

My son C is 12. He is very similar to Ethan. We never know from day to day what he will be like. How old is Ethan? You were very smart to have him tested. C has dysgraphia (think dyslexia but with handwriting and hand to brain processing issues). I too have dealt with quilt, tried every trick in the book and feel so emotionally and physically darined. The meds help and I believe early intervention can positively alter brain chemistry. C leads a fairly normal life from the outside but inside it a daily challenge.

artjunk~ said...

I have a daughter that has speech and other learning issues. I also was told to "wait". I wish I hadn't! It's so important to do things early as you are.
About the dailies...try to figure out what works best with the both of you. Take notes on what works and repeat those things. I know that routines work for my daughter, but you sound like you have a good handle on things and I know you will figure out what works.