Sandy Klein

Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don't, and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it. – Harvey Mackay

I always forget how much I miss writing until I spend time doing it. When I started this blog, and we know it’s come and gone several times over the years, it was really just to share what was on my heart without burdening everyone around me. Since that time I feel like I’ve found a strong community in the special needs world that really has given me an opportunity to share and connect with moms and families that are in the same place as mine. Having that outlet, I feel, has made me a more positive person, and really shifted the things I want to share.

I see so many friends and family that are incredibly stressed. Its such a hard time in our world with covid, job loss, tensions, politics. Any conversation can lead to a potential battle, and you never really know what your friends and family are going through. Me whining about my heavy heart doesn’t help the world. I’d rather be a positive person, and lift up other people. I feel like the world needs more people to try and uplift others, and steal the focus off of all the bad in our world. At least for the next couple of weeks, and until covid calms down maybe its a dream. But don’t you think that we have to start somewhere?

It’s not great quality, but I recently saw this and it connected with me.

I would love to hear thoughts from other people on what you do to try and build up those people around you. Sunday night we lit a fire in my backyard and I invited a couple of friends over last minute. Covid has stolen going out to coffee with friends, or a girls night out. At least it has for me. I know that some are still doing those things, and I love seeing the happy people on social media. It’s just not in my comfort zone, but how do we feel those gaps that the world has created? Social Media should be a positive place to engage with friends, but until the election is over somedays it is exhausting to open those apps.

I fear that it will become to easy to be introverted in a time that we need the support of others. So many suffer from anxiety and depression, and how can we stay aware of friends and family that may need us? I know sometimes I get quiet with my friends, and its easy for one day to become two, and then a week. How many friends have you lost contact with that way? Anxiety and depression are serious medical issues, and if you are suffering please don’t be afraid to talk to a friend. Reach out for a facetime cup of coffee (I just haven’t gotten onboard the zoom train).

I would love to hear how your coping through these crazy times. I hope you have a tribe of friends or family to help support you and encourage you. Or that your able to find an outlet to express your feelings. Write a blog even if no one reads it. Do it for yourself, trust me if can help. It helped me when I was struggling.

-Sandy

When your nervous do you tap your foot, twirl your hair, or bite your nails? If you watch people in anxious situations you will probably notice all sorts of little habits that people have. You might not realize that these are self soothing activities. My youngest recently started a very annoying habit of doodling on herself. Drives me crazy and I told her to get paper and doodle there. She told me it wasn’t the same thing, and her doctor said she’s right.

Physical touch increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that help regulate your mood as well as help your body relieve stress and anxiety. Dopamine is also known to regulate the pleasure center in your brain that is a good counter to feelings of anxiety.

The 3 Biggest Advantages of Human Touch May Surprise You

So, like many of my blogs this is one more thing that I’ve learned being a special needs mom. This time it just happens to be raising a child with anxiety. Up until recently Brooklyn was one of the thousands of fingernail biters in the world. Her dad does it, and I’m guessing we all know people that do. Well, Brooklyn had her braces put back on, and that wasn’t an option anymore. Suddenly we would see little hearts and stars and other doodles on her arms and knee. I’m not going to lie and as a parent it upset me. Teenagers shouldn’t constantly be writing on themselves, and I constantly told her to stop. Sometimes my kids are smarter then me.

Brooklyn’s doctor explained that when people do these little things like writing on themselves or biting their nails it is the distraction of the physical touch. She explained that for people who have a psychological need for self soothing behaviors they will always find a way to sooth themselves. Often unintentionally. We found that the more I told Brooklyn to stop doodling, she would scratch her legs in her sleep. This scratching is what led us to talk to the doctor. The doctor explained that for Brooklyn the hearts and stars were an innocent way to provide herself with a self soothing outlet during stressful situations. Often she does this when she is anxious about something, or studying for school.

So by telling Brooklyn to stop I was actually causing her stress. I was denying her a very innocent coping tool. None of us want to cause our kids stress. To clarify I would also tell her not to bite her nails, but since her dad does it how could I possibly win that battle. I don’t think ever biting your nails, especially in our current germy world, is a good idea, but somehow it seems more socially acceptable then writing on yourself. I’m sharing because I think this is very important when we are raising kids. Having an awareness of why our kids are doing something can help us parent better. With young kids that suck their thumb, or bite their nails, maybe it isn’t as simple as training them not to do that. Maybe their personality creates a need for a self soothing coping action.

Instead of just telling our kids to stop or getting angry, we can help them find other coping activities. When Lexi needs a physical distraction you can give her a distraction tool, even as simple as a paper clip, and she can move her hands and activate her mind. that doesn’t work for Brooklyn. It isn’t about the mental stimulation for her, it is about the physical touch. When you recognize this as a parent, you can help your child find ways to cope in such situations. Each of us is made differently, and we can project what works for us on our kids. I think this is a lesson we all have to learn. As a wife I even nag Adam not to bite his nails, but if he stops doing that his knee will bounce. Until Brooklyn’s doctor explained how these actions have a psychological benefit, I always just saw them as annoying habits. Now I recognize them as more.

I wonder if we ever stop learning. My kids are 15 and 17 and as they get older they definitely educate me on so much. We can’t be close minded and think that we always know more. Brooklyn challenges me socially and psychologically to be more aware, more accepting, more knowledgeable. We need to be willing to learn from our kids.

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost a year since I blogged. I’ve thought about it many times, but each time it just seemed to be a bad time. 2020 is full of so much emotion and negative energy that I just didn’t want to put more of that into the world. But life is going ok, and we are thankful for our health and home. So what have we been up to this year?

We were blessed with Lexi’s Make A Wish Trip in January. Such a blessing to have been able to do that right before COVID. We were able to swim with dolphins, kayak, and play with sea lions. Everyone stayed healthy and we had a wonderful trip as a family. I’ve not talked a lot about it since we first got back, because the world became a complicated place soon after.

Atlantis 2020

With Lexi’s Cystic Fibroses we’ve been extremely careful in all areas this year. It was the first week of March when her nurse called and advised us that it was time to keep her home. Our family has mostly quarantined since that call. We have a tight little quarantine circle that we have continued to share meals with, and we were able to escape for a trip to the lake in June. Lexi turned 17 this summer and Brooklyn turned 15. Everyone continues to do online and homebound school. Our Cystic Fibrosis clinic recommends that all CF kids and their siblings do school from home this school year. Not a big change for us since they were already doing this pre-covid.

We hope that everyone is doing well. Like many of you we know people who have had covid, but thankfully no one that has passed away. Our prayers are with all of those families who have lost someone. We know many people who have been impacted financially this year, and are grateful that Adam and I are both working.

Lexi was granted the opportunity to explore essential oils this summer, and we’ve been quietly working with a Young Living Sponsor. Lexi has been interested in learning more about using oils when she can to help her feel better physically and emotionally. Adam and I are pushing Lexi to explore what she wants to do after high school. Her health will take her on an untraditional path. In the last few months we’ve built a small business online, and now have 6 consultants working with us, and a sponsor supportive our our unique situation. We’ve told Lexi that if she contributes to managing the business the income earned will be hers. We hope this will motivate her to see that hard work can lead to reward. This is the first time I’ve talked about this, because we didn’t want friends and family to feel we were pushing a business on them. This weekend we began working on some social media accounts and will become more public in the next few months. Its hard knowing what direction to push your child when they have a medical condition. Lexi has spent several days this week in bed not feeling well. Most jobs won’t be accepting of those challenges.

So our lives do continue to be influenced by illness, but I would say now more then ever it doesn’t define us. We’ve built a good life around chronic illness. I think that has helped us get through 2020. Other then just a few bad days, quarantine and all that goes with it hasn’t been too terrible. Early on Adam and I decided it was about what we were protecting and not what we were giving up. That simple mindset shift really has made a difference in how we have handled the last eight months. Now don’t get me wrong a dinner and a movie would be a dream come true. We just know it’s not realistic and are prepared for a long winter at home.

I don’t know when I will blog again. Maybe tomorrow or maybe 2020. With Covid and Politics this isn’t the best time to be sharing what your thinking. Thank you for your continued support. Thank you for continuing to come to our blog and check on us. We are doing well. Lexi has clinic in December and I’ll try to do a post on CF and Covid then.

Stay Safe,

Sandy

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