Well, actually I only just tolerated it, but after the whole frog touching incident my uncle asked was I singing "I Touched A Frog And I Liked It." That made me laugh so hard I couldn't resist using it for my title. So Mike, if you are reading this, thank you. :)
Want to know why touching a frog is such a big deal? Because I'm terrified of them. Always have been. Yes, as an adult, I know this is irrational. They don't even have teeth. They can't hurt you. But I swear if one of those things jumped on me, I would hurt myself. And let me ask you this: if there's nothing fundamentally wrong with frogs, why did God send a plague of them on Egypt? You don't read about there being a plague of bunnies or anything like that. Nope. Frogs. 'Cause even God don't like ugly. (I'm just kidding. God loves everybody. Even Kermit!)
So with my frog aversion, what could possibly possess me to willingly touch one? My feisty, frog-loving, sassy, sweet, fearless, persistent two-year-old, that's what! Both my kids love frogs. (Of course they do!) And I've tried really hard not to let them know that I'm afraid of frogs, because I know there's nothing to be afraid of and there's enough stuff to worry about in life without worrying needlessly. So if they want to love on those toady beasts, I want to support them in that.
Yesterday Selah and I were playing outside and she climbed up the ladder to her slide. "Mom!" she yelled suddenly, "There's a frog and I TOUCHED it!" Let me say here that she's chased frogs all summer and hasn't been able to catch one. I moseyed over to see what she was talking about, and there was a little tree frog clinging to the top of her slide. I will say that tree frogs are cuter than your average toad but more dangerous to freaks like me because boy can they jump! So I approached it with caution but Selah was so sweet. With wonder in her voice she looked up at me with those blue eyes shining and said "He came to play with us!" Now how do you argue with that? And the frog sat there while she petted him. She was very careful, only touching him lightly on his back with her index finger. She asked me to get some leaves so she could feed him, and I reminded her that frogs eat bugs. She gave the leaf a go anyhow, but the frog politely refused. After this went on for a while, Selah turned those blue eyes to me again and said "Don't you want to pet him, Mom?" "Um, no," I told her. "Why not?" she asked, all innocence. What do you do? It's not like I'm going to tell her that I'm afraid of this tiny creature that she loves so much. "Touch him!" she commanded. And a part of me thought "Yes! Do it! Overcome this fear! It's just a frog!" Meanwhile, the other part of me was screaming "Don't do it! It's a FROG!!!!" For once, the brave side won (sort of) and I heard myself saying "Okay. I'll touch it." (Insert long pause here, while Selah waits for me to touch the frog) After a minute passes, she said "Mom? You're not touching it. Why are you not touching it?" Because I have to psych myself up, girl! Give your mama a minute! Seriously, all I could think that if I finally did make myself touch it, it would jump on top of my head and I would run screaming through my yard and into the street, thus becoming the hood ornament of the UPS truck. But that didn't happen. I was somehow able to force my hand to move, and it touched that frog. The frog just sat there, thankfully. Obviously he didn't know what a big deal this was for me, or he would've given me some sort of award or something. He sat there until Selah tried to pick him up, and then he hopped down off the slide and she followed him around the yard for awhile. While she did this, I called her daddy at work to tell him my latest achievement. He was proud. (Once he got done laughing!) This is the man who used to have to get out of the vehicle and chase the frogs away from our steps when we lived in Batesville before I would get out of the car and go into the house. So he could appreciate that this was a big step for me. And Brad--when you read this--I am getting braver, but you are still not getting a pet snake. No way, no how.
I said all that to say this: I want to be brave for my children. I'm sure all of you parents know that children can make you do things you thought you would never do. I mean that in a good way, like being stronger than you thought you could be, or more patient, or whatever. Regarding our struggles with Korban's autism, and with his other health issues (immune deficiency, asthma) people tell us all the time that they couldn't do what we do. I understand people say that by way of encouragement, but I think they are wrong. You would do whatever you needed to do for your children, just like I've tried to do. Or at least I hope you would. I wish I was better at it! I wish I had more answers. I wish I was stronger, more patient, more knowledgeable. I wish I was BETTER at this. But the point is, I'm trying. And I think most of the people who've told me that they couldn't do what I do, I think they would be trying too. What is your only other option? Giving up? I won't. I may feel like it sometimes, but I won't. They are my kids, that I wanted, that I prayed and asked God for, and I'm going to do my best to take care of them. I make mistakes. SO MANY mistakes. But I'm trying to learn from them. I think part of the struggle is attitude, I really do. I think instead of saying "Well, I just couldn't do that," I think we need to tell ourselves that we are strong, and can do whatever needs to be done. My mother-in-law and I had an interesting conversation recently. Brad had made a comment to her about her being a strong lady (which she is) and she was pleased. She asked me did we really feel that way about her, and I told her of course. She was surprised and said she had never thought of herself as a strong person. I told her that was a mistake and that she needed to KNOW she is strong. She's overcome a lot, but what else could she have done if she had figured out she was strong before me and Brad telling her? ;)
"I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who gives me strength." Phillipians 4:13
If you are praying for us, pray that I live this. I tend to try to do things in my own strength, without reaching out to others or leaning on Christ as I should. And let's face it, part of being strong is being able to take care of yourself and realizing how much you need help. I'm humbly saying I stink at that a good bit of the time. This past week and has been incredibly tough. Korban's aggression--which was already plenty bad--has gotten even worse. I have bruises and scratches all over and yesterday he attacked his aide at school. His teacher had to pull him off of her. He's screaming and agitated and we don't know why. He has periods like this sometimes, and it can't be traced back to anything that we can see. It's just part of the way the autism cycles, I guess, but it is very difficult. I took him to his dr today to rule out any physical causes. She didn't find anything significant. He sees the psychiatrist tomorrow for his monthly visit to monitor his meds, etc. We are considering asking the dr to step him down off of the Abilify. The pinching/picking at his skin started after being placed on Abilify, and now the aggression has increased as well. We didn't think there was a correlation, but we are starting to wonder. At any rate, it doesn't appear to be helping as we hoped it would and if it's not making a life-changing difference, he doesn't need to be on it. That being said, we may find out how much of a difference it was making if he weans off of it and things get even WORSE! So please pray for divine guidance and peace for all of us. We did get some products to help with his sensory issues. We just got them today, and we are slowly introducing them to Korban but we are seeing some positive things happen already. Tonight he fell asleep holding one of the little sensory toys. It kept his hands busy so he didn't pinch himself while falling asleep. I'm just ready for him to have some relief. Every little thing like that is a victory, no matter how small it seems!