Thursday, March 10, 2011

nearly typical

Most days, I don't really believe I live in the special needs world.  In general, I'm a "glass half empty" person, but when it comes to Ehren and Christian, I might be a "glass half full" person because I usually view them as nearly typical kids.  But then I have days like yesterday.

Because of work, Dad was unable to attend our Ash Wednesday church service last night, so it was the three kids and me.  The service was preceded by a tasty spaghetti dinner {at least I didn't have to cook}.  I wore a cream-colored sweater and managed to get spaghetti on it, so I had to wear my coat into church {it's red, so it's not exactly camouflage apparel}.  All three kids had their own idea about where we should sit.  Anna bolted into the sanctuary ahead of me and went right for the front.  NO WAY were we going to be sitting in front.  I went to retrieve giggling Anna, and then Ehren thought it would be funny to run down another row of chairs and crawl underneath them.  He thought he was so funny.  Is he seven or two?  I hauled Anna to the back of the church trying to scope out a more "private" section, but the whole last row was already taken.  We went for a spot in the second to the last row.  I plunked Anna and Christian into two seats.  Ehren was still "hiding" where I left him.  As I walked back up front, someone pointed him out to me {as if I didn't know where he was}.  I crouched down and whisper-talked to him.  Thankfully, he followed me back without incident.

Then the service began.  Anna was crawling under the chairs, running out the end of the row laughing at me.  Ehren was lying down on the chairs or taking his boots off instead of standing up and following along.  There was chair tipping {Ehren nearly hit the person sitting behind us}.  There were feet on the chairs.  Ehren pretended his arm was a gun and made shooting noises at Anna and Christian.  There was just constant motion and noise, and I only have two arms.  Anna wants to be just like the boys, so she's not on my side.  She's on their side.  All in all, Christian did a good job.  He's a lot better in church now that he can read the program and follow along.  That really grounds him.  However, he just had to join the circus too, so at one point, he started licking the paper program from bottom to top as he read along. 

Today, downcast and expecting the worst, I came home from work to find both boys proudly reading the chapter books they checked out from the library!  They had each read four chapters of their respective book from the Littles series.  Then, Ehren voluntarily started his homework, did it without help, packed it back into his backpack the first time I asked, and picked up the living room the first time I asked.  How was this the same kid?


  1. Little buggers- they always manage to redeem themselves, don't they?

  2. I saw two boys, one helping the other tie his shoe. I pointed it out to the girls saying "look how well THEY get along." The mom said "sometimes miracles happen." I agreed and said, "today's your day... hopefully mine's tomorrow." They have good days and bad. It seems they always have the bad ones when it's 1 parent to the 3. They know they've got you! Hope you have more good days than bad :)

  3. Take heart, Gretchen. I don't know too many small kids who can make it the whole way through a church service without getting a little crazy.

  4. TOTALLY identify. Aren't you glad God gives us those amazing proud moments? It just washes away all the difficult ones.

  5. Michelle NeikirkJune 25, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Gretchen, having just discovered your blog, I'm commenting late, but I can definitely identify with your church story. I haven't been around Christian and Ehren much, but I didn't know about their special needs, maybe one of the blessings of Down Syndrome - it's apparent why your child is acting out. I'm a single mom in church a lot this summer with Pete traveling for work 1/2 the month. If it helps, I've never noticed your kids being a distraction in church. Although one of the things I love about Living Hope is that distracting children are more the norm than not. You're not alone!