Friday, November 15, 2013


I find myself at this strange point in life where I swap in and out from horse world to real world, horse world to real world. Since James was born, I've actually really been in neither world, so you can imagine my own confusion. As I find myself being able to re-enter society, I'm having to figure out juggling the horse world and the real world.
See, even in the horse world, it's a notable sight to see someone in real world clothes, or who has a real world job, or KIDS! Not much more real world than that, I suppose.
In the real world, well, I guess if you're dressed in Ralph Lauren, that would look normal. usually don't...
My riding days are worked around the kids' school schedule. I drop them at 9 and drive half hour to the barn, then have about 2 hours before I have to jump back in the car to pick them up at noon. Depending on if the horses are ready and what they need to do, I can usually work 3 of them. But I do need to get my boots and spurs and 427 layers of jackets. I usually drive to school looking fairly normal...jeans or workout pants and Ugg boots. A shirt. And then I just change shoes and ride in whatever I have on.
Usually, by the time I'm done on my last horse, I'm running behind, so I whip off my boots or chaps (I can rip chaps off faster than a stripper gets out of Velcro pants), throw the Ugg boots on, redo my ponytail, and peel off jackets. I haven't thought to bring another shirt cause I don't think I could be that organized, but it'd be a good idea because despite frigid temps this week, you tend to sweat under 427 layers. (I hate cold weather.)
Anyway, school is pretty used to me and my extremely half hearted attempts to appear normal...but sometimes I forget about other people. Yesterday I scurry into school a few minutes late in a really bizarre shirt paired with a possibly mismatched Pacific Farms vest, with dirty yoga pants tucked into my dirty, black Uggs. I totally had dirt under my fingernails (that's another real world thing....I kind of have fingernails now). And I probably (definitely) stunk. Lucky for me (and them), there was a well dressed couple there waiting to have a meeting with the teacher. I, of course, introduced myself and shook hands before looking down at myself...and my hands...crap. I felt like I wanted to explain how I ride, and that's why I'm dirty and smell, but they probably wouldn't have believed me cause I was wearing yoga pants and Ugg boots: the uniform of stay at home moms everywhere. If I'd stayed in chaps, no explanation would have been necessary. plan needs refinement.

Or maybe I just need refinement...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Self Awareness

Not my own.

I prefer to remain blissfully ignorant of much of myself. Too confusing.

But I really really REALLY love psychoanalyzing others, and who better to practice on than your own children!

See, kids are like animals. They either can't talk yet or have a hard time expressing feelings or pinpointing a pain or discomfort. Horses, of course, taught me a lot about this. We are constantly trying to feel FOR them.

Like...they're tight on this rein so something is going on with this hind leg. Or they're swishing their tail and tightening their back during this move so something about that is uncomfortable or difficult for them.

Inside every rider is a teeny veterinarian, just like inside every mom is a teeny doctor, much to the dismay of the entire community of medical professionals.

We've spent the last 5 years trying to understand how James feels. Because he's a freakishly good kid, but when he freaks out irrationally at's....irrational. And not normal kid irrational. Fact is, something is, at the very least, uncomfortable. We know that SPD causes people to be uncomfortable in their own skin. Things that should feel good to them in reality feel noxious and threatening. And it's very hard to know how to comfort someone when the traditional means are off-putting.
There are a few things that bring James immense comfort in his difficult world, that I KNOW other parents certainly don't understand. Yes. He's five years old and sleeps with a pacifier. Yes. I know he's going to need braces. He's my son. He was gonna need 'em anyway. And yes. He almost always has a specific toy in his hands at times. It's a bit odd but the alternative is a full blown panic attack, and he can handle being at school without them, so I'm not worried about the long term repercussions. Baby steps, people, baby steps.
What I worry about is: what is going on in his head and body that causes all of this behavior (the fidget, the eye rubbing, the zoning out, the incredible focus on certain things, the outbursts, the feeding and gut issues). All the therapists we've seen over the years said the same thing, "there is an element of this that will get easier as they get older and can understand you, and you, in turn, can understand them."
So I'm tucking James in two nights ago, and with one hand fussing with his eyelashes, he started this conversation:
"Mommy, you know what?"

"What, buddy?"

"Mommy, I don't want to be so itchy all the time."

"Where are you itchy?"

"I'm itchy everywhere. All the time. I'm always itchy. Eve isn't itchy all the time but I am."

"Okay kiddo, well remember all those labs we just did?"

He nods.

"In a few more weeks they're going to help us find out why you're itchy and help us make it all better, okay?"

"Okay. Mommy you know what else?"

"What, buddy?"

"I'm tired all the time. I don't want to be tired all day anymore."

I have him a big hug to hide myself tearing up and said, "okay bud. They're gonna help us with that too. And soon we'll get some new vitamins and learn what the best kind of food is for you to eat and feel all better."

Please God, let them help.