Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Learning Curves

I am increasingly amazed by the good zone we seem to be in with our daughter. A few small, now easily handled tantrums at home, but great behavior at school, at church, and at various activities. Until you enter extended conversation with her, it is hard to tell there's much there beyond general quirkiness. I'm inhaling deep breaths of these good times. It has been a long time coming, and I have no doubt that there will be new challenges to face ahead, so every minute is a blessing. I think I am learning from her how to flow with my days, to accept each one as a gift and keep putting one foot in front of the other when things are challenging, trusting that eventually we'll find level ground again.

I'm navigating the world of raising younger typical siblings. With no benchmark from our oldest child it almost feels like we're parenting for the first time all over again, if that makes sense. We've entered new territory with the twins as they have entered preschool. So far they have made that adjustment well. Their big "phase" at the moment is insisting on wearing only certain clothes. We have about three outfits each that are acceptable without putting up a fuss. This keeps the washing machine busy, and meanwhile I'm encouraging some flexibility on days when I don't get the laundry quite done on time...Interestingly it seems that this stage is useful for encouraging them to pick out and put on their own clothes, because if I refuse to change them they will take off the set they don't want, go pick out new things, and put a good faith effort into putting them on by themselves. It is amazing to watch these skills different from our first time around. Would I be so philosophical about it if I hadn't survived pitched battles over much smaller issues with our eldest? Would I watch with such awe as they learn new skills with such ease? Would I even realize the importance of this phase or understand the roots of it?

Meanwhile there are other needs in the extended family that are taking precedence, and it is good to feel like our own little clan is in a good spot and has some energy to devote to others. Sandwiched, yes, crushed, no.

In all of these things there is a steep learning curve. Learning to breathe in and hold onto all that is glorious and good. Learning to let go and let others do for themselves. Learning to step in and lend a caring hand. I don't think I would be learning it with such clarity without the experiences I've gained by raising a child on the spectrum. It is a strange blessing to be taking from the Hand of Providence.


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