Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. Jacob is 21 years old and just moved into an apartment with his girlfriend. He graduated from a technical college with an Associate's degree in Computer Maintenance. He works for a school district as a computer technician. Elijah is almost 18 years old. He is hearing impaired, has Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD. He is a junior in high school. Elijah lives with his mom Mary and her wife, his stepmom. Mary has a bachelor's in deaf education and a masters in special education, and is an educational diagnostician. Life is always changing and this blog has chronicled many of these changes and will continue to do so!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Raising children

I do wish that children came with a user's manual, unique to that child. This manual would inform parents as to what discipline works with that child and their preferred ways to learn. It may also let parent's know what is unique about that child from something as good as a high IQ to a disease that is lurking and what to expect. Of course, I guess this would take some of the fun of parenthood away, but it sure would lessen the stress.

I love my two boys and wouldn't change a thing about them, because then they wouldn't be who they are. We can't take away all the hurt and learning experiences that come with that hurt or from joy. Some of us carry a heavier load than others.

My son Jacob is a handsome young man who is now taller than me. He was blessed with good looks and a good personality. He does have ADHD and I do think OCD shows itself at times, but otherwise he does well. I have made my mistakes with him, but nothing too serious and nothing that most parents don't experience.

Now Elijah has had a rough start from the beginning. I do so wish he had come with a user's manual. He was eight weeks early and spent five weeks in the NICU before coming home on oxygen. He also failed his newborn hearing screening when dismissed from the NICU. He was later found to have auditory neuropathy and be profoundly deaf. He spent six months on oxygen and we had to watch him carefully for illness. He spent the first several years just trying to stay healthy. He underwent two different cochlear implant surgeries within the first four and half years of his life. He has had two different CAT scans in his life and was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at the age of 8. He was also found to be OCD and ADHD. Boy at the age of three this would have been nice to know, because he was such a stubborn kid.

I sometimes wonder why Elijah has to carry such a heavy load. I would gladly carry it for him and take on some of his challenges. I have done the best I can and have made mistakes with him also, but I think he has made me a better mom. I am more patient with him and also with Jacob. I have learned that yelling doesn't always accomplish a thing except more yelling. I have learned that spanking is not always the answers and time outs do work, when done correctly. I have learned that consistency is the key with all of this. I have learned to be an advocate for myself and for both my children. I have also become a better teacher and a better advocate for the parent's I deal with as well as their children. I think I have become a better listener, but I still have to make myself shut up sometimes and really listen.

Would a user's manual have helped or would it have made me worry even more as I read through it with this newborn in my hands? Would I have even been able to bond with him or would I have just worried and worried?

I guess children are here to teach us even as much as we are supposed to teach them.

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