I came on here to write a light & simple blog post about the art journal mail project that I started with my sisters, but I am having a heavy heart-ed morning and it just isn't working out.
I am full of fears today.
About jobs and money, but mostly about my boys. My sons (and one in particular) tend to get more and more worn out as the school year progresses. They actually do pretty well at the beginning of the year (after we sort through the inevitable initial difficulties of dealing with a new routine, teachers etc.), but then starting around the end of February things begin to go downhill fast. Last year the last 3 months of school were a constant battle just to get them through. One in particular was so constantly and deeply stressed, that there was talk of a possible dysrhythmia or a manic depression diagnosis, but in the summertime the curious, engaged, hopeful kid we know returned...it is from cumulative school stress as the year goes on, not a clinical depression. But at his age how much does it suck to have that level of stress?
It sucks big time.
They are exhausted (this is not a sleep issue, but more mentally & physically drained), and ill from stress (headaches, nausea, lack of appetite, stomachaches etc.). They also suffer from seasonal allergies, so as the snow begins to melt they will also get those symptoms exacerbating the stress related illness and draining their energies even more. We are still mostly in winter right now (so no allergies yet), but already the school refusals, constant illness, dramatic downturn in mood and increase in meltdowns has begun.
I am working really hard with the school to try to mitigate their stresses there. IEP meetings were last week, and I fought the good fight, and the school is concerned, invested and willing to do as much as they can (with the exception of a sprightly yet stubborn new teacher, who really doesn't get it, but thinks she does, who will unfortunately be my Everest in the months to come), and so far they have both had their best school year ever. We also try really hard to make sure they are getting the best possible nutrition, some exercise and plenty of down time...like tonnes of down time because they have no energy for anything else. It almost feels like our whole family is held hostage by school until the year ends...can't go on an outing or trip or anywhere else that adds sensory stress to their already overflowing bodies, must keep our home life as carefully structured, quiet, peaceful and routine as we can.
And everyday I get to make the call about whether or not to force them to go to school. This is not easy. Even though it is not a virus, they are legitimately sick (can't keep down breakfast, feel dreadful), but I know that illness will fade quite quickly after I give them the green light to stay home and then I will feel doubtful and duped (I type this as one kid sits quite contentedly reading his book beside me, the same kid who was too ill to move 2 hours ago). I also know that learning to manage their stress will be the key, not just opting out of the stressful activity, because although it isn't fair, they are wired like this and will just have to learn to cope. On the other hand, if we push too hard they spiral down much quicker. The psych actually recommended giving them regular "mental health days" off from school when it all becomes too much for them. I don't want to push either of them to a breaking point, which we came far too close to last year, and every mommy instinct is telling me to protect them from danger. To scoop them up in my arms and run away from whatever is hurting them!
This is a problem when so many "regular" things hurt them now, and likely always will, and I will have to push then into those dangers and stresses in order to be a good mom..
I know we will get through this one day at a time. I know that many mornings will be a battle, but some won't. I know that they will slowly learn to manage their stress better. I know that summer will be glorious.
(It's not too early to start looking forward to summer is it?)
Alright, anyway, that's my truth today. But my truth is also gobs of love & support, and unquenchable hope.
Hear that world?
*shakes tiny fist*
And speaking of hope & love, how about that art journal project?
A large watercolour moleskine,decorated with some wonderful Japanese fabric I got a while back on Etsy. Two of my sisters will each have their own and we plan on choosing a new theme and trading books about once a month. I can't wait to see where this project takes us.
April Art Journal Pages
16 hours ago