Saturday, November 12, 2011

Garden Treasures

My attention this week has been completely and unceremoniously turned toward my children, art and blogging have had to take a back seat.  There a moments in our lives when that happens, and I've long since learned to go with the flow rather than rub up against the grain and allow myself to get stressed about it.  Maintaining a positive outlook and balanced perspective are sometimes brutally hard, but as a parent I think it is vital that we "keep it together" at all costs. And I've been diverting every ounce of energy I have this week to keeping it together.

My toddler, who was a 24 micro-preemie, has faced more medical challenges in his tiny little life than most people would face in a lifetime. This week he has been undergoing intensive 'eating' therapy along with extensive developmental testing at the University of Iowa.  He's a miracle to say the least, with a long and interesting history. (All of which is a subject for his Care Page, feel free to check it out.)  He's 2 1/2 and hasn't been able to eat solids for so many reasons, so we're working with a team of specialists in the Center for Disabilities and Development, to try to teach him how to eat.

I never thought this was something you couldn't do, but believe me, there are a more kids out there than you could imagine who have what they call 'feeding difficulties'.  Little Thomas-The-Brave, as he is known, has been fending off a feeding tube for over a year now, and to his credit he has managed to do it using with a bottle filled with Pedisure. But he's loosing the battle and has to learn to eat solid food or else.

So, we're up at 5am every morning and making the long cold two hour trek to Iowa City so he can be ready to go by 8am.  It's been challenging for him, and for me.  Lots of tears, lots of resistance, lots of people and lots of very long days.  The hard part is the pleading, reaching looks he casts at me on the sidelines, little tears streaming down as face, his tiny hand stretching to its limit trying to reach me, and make all this craziness stop.

Of course, I must sit quietly in the background to begin with, not reacting, casting only a token word of encouragement in his direction as this team of experts try to deconstruct his mental aversions and reprogram his brain to not only accept food willingly, but to learn to chew and swallow it.  Some moments have felt overwhelming, and it takes every speck of energy and self control not to burst through the throng of specialists, tear him out of the high chair and wrap him up in my arm, screaming at them all to "LEAVE MY BABY ALONE".  

But I know it's necessary, and by the end of this crushing week, I'm pleased to report that he had voluntarily taken several spoons of creamy soup, a few mouth fulls of squished up carrots, and 6oz of formula from a sippy-cup. Trust's a BIG deal and cause for celebration in our house!!

So last night when we got home and I settled both my children into bed, I sat down with my sketchbook and paints.  This page of little garden treasures was something I did a few weeks ago, using watercolor pencil and ink. With winter well and truly closing its icy grip on our little part of the world, I found myself wanting to go to that happy 'zen' place in nature.  I felt so much better after shutting off for a while, and with a quiet weekend ahead, I hope to re-energize enough to face another full week of hospital visits and intensive eating therapy.

Oh, and by the way...I got home from the hospital on Tuesday night and hubby had started building my studio.  OMG, am I the lucky one?

Thanks so much for checking in. xx