Thursday, June 11, 2009

Princie's Puzzle Peace

I owe some of you a great, big thank you. If I could give you a giant squeeze of love, I would! Thank you to those of you who pray. Thank you to those of you who may not pray, but never fail to send loving, peaceful thoughts my way. It's working Snarkettes, it is working!

I've hesitated sharing this because I'm afraid if I put it out there, I'm just asking for trouble. Just asking for a "jinx", or something of that nature. But my next thought is always this: I will not live in fear of the unknown and the what-ifs. I did that for many years, and really no good ever came of it. And anyway, I like to think I have more faith than that. Surely my verbalizing something, or putting it on this blog does not hold such power. That's what the rational me says. But the not-so-faithful, not-so-rational me says beware the verbalizing or writing of the good news. So, in spite of the nagging negative whisper in my crazy head and in honor of the rational, faithful me....Here goes......

It's been 28, that's right, 28 days since Princie had one of the dreaded, massive, heartwrenching, wear-us-down-to-the-bone meltdowns. Of course we have miles to go, but considering where we started, I find this to be no small feat! Can you believe it? I can. Because I believe in the power of prayer and good vibes. And I am grateful to those of you who have compassionately prayed for and thought of my family recently. Honestly, I wasn't sure I could handle all that's happening in our lives right now, plus Princie's struggle. In all honesty, I was pretty sure I was going to crack (and it was going to be sooner rather than later, and oh so ugly). For those of you who have a child with sensory issues, etc. and have prayed relentlessly, with no relief from the meltdowns and struggles, please know my heart hurts for you. As I have mentioned time and time again on this blog, I don't understand why things work the way they do. I don't understand why Princie can go 28 days with no meltdown, but another child can't go 28 minutes without one. I do know just weeks ago, she was the child who couldn't go 28 minutes without one. I also know we aren't out of the woods. She could have a meltdown 60 seconds after I hit the "publish post" button. In the next week or two, she will most likely have a massive meltdown. But, we are taking it one moment at a time. And expressing gratitude for each day that passes with only a small episode, or even better...no episode at all.

More than anything, I believe my ability to handle this situation has increased. And perspective is often (as Snarky Mama would say) a "game-changer". One of my favorite quotes is from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do...not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased." Lately, I've felt strengthened and I know that strength to persist comes from my Father in Heaven. I've spent a lot of time in prayer, pleading that I could find more beneficial ways of mothering my daughter, that I could be guided to something that might ease her struggles. In this situation, I believe that's been key. I haven't prayed that my child would be changed. Just that I could change my parenting, that I could better face the challenges and help this little person find peace. Again, that's this particular situation. And every challenge we are faced with requires a different approach. I guess what I'm saying is that I know there are times when praying for a healing from affliction or pain is the best thing to do. But this time, I knew in my gut what had to change....me, my perspective, my inability to just stop and think about ways to reach her...those things had to change, not my child.

All of that said, would you like to know what has brought the greatest peace and joy to Princie over the past few weeks? PUZZLES. Jigsaw puzzles to be exact. She is the most content I've seen her in months! Now before you look at the pictures, you should know that this is her work. She likes for us to be in the room with her, but doesn't want our help. So we set up her little table in the middle of the living room, and away she went.You know how most people begin with the outer edges? Not Princie. She dumps the pieces out, and just grabs one, and then another, etc. She will scan the pieces, until she finds the fitting piece. She never looks at the box, and I have yet to figure out how she can do this so quickly. I'm not kidding, it's fascinating to watch. Ok, so I'm her mother, of course I'm fascinated.

It all began with the 100 piece Shrek puzzle, followed the very next day by the 150 piece Princess puzzle. After finishing the Princess one, she says to me: "These are too easy, like they're for babies or something." (I have to add here that the pieces aren't that big either.) Then, Nana came to visit and bought her a 150 piece Fancy Nancy puzzle. (Fancy Nancy is currently undergoing PuzzleSaver surgery and is unable to be photographed.) Princie would put these three puzzles together, take them apart, put them back together, take them apart...over and over again.

The next step? Nana bought Princie a 300 piece Fairy puzzle. I was unsure...the box said ages 9 and up, these pieces are smaller (1:1 ratio) than the ones in the other puzzles, a lot of the colors in this puzzle are so similar. Couldn't this pose a problem for a child who just turned 5 in March, and doesn't look at the box? Apparently not.

And that my friends is the story of how Princie found Peace....
well, for the time being anyway!

28 comments:

RitterB's said...

I am in awe! You know the VERY moment I first layed my eyes on Princie I KNEW our God above had something special in mind for her. Just take a look at the Parents he gave her. And the brothers... oh they are pick of the crop too!
Tell little Miss Princie that Sassafrass's Mama thinks she is the SMARTEST 5 year old in the whole wide world! And when you get that Fancy Nancy out of the hospital I want to see it too!
Love you.

jen said...

Just one question--does she look at the colors on the pieces or the shapes of the pieces and how they go together?
Tucker used to do this--not by the colors, but by the shapes and their relations to each other piece. He was doing puzzles for 5-year-olds before he was two. Not that I'm bragging, but what this amounts to is a gift for spatial relations and mathematics. Have you noticed any proclivities for math? Tucker ended up in high school math classes when he was about 13. And it helped in so many ways (hindered in a few others, but I'm not dwelling on the negative aspects of high school . . . .)
Maybe this will be your prayed-for answer.
I hope so.

Natalie said...

Mama of Sassafrass, I miss you!! Thanks for lovin' my kids.

Jen, thanks for your comment! I know you're not bragging. That's how I felt when I wrote this. Not bragging, just so relieved to find something that reaches her and makes her happy. She most DEFINITELY goes by the shape and relation to other pieces...NOT color. Sometimes, the pieces will be upside down, and she still finds the right one. I'm with you, hopefully an answer...one that will at the very least get me through the move!

karen said...

That's really interesting, and I'm sure there's an answer in there somewhere. One thing we found with Andrew was that he held himself together the whole time he was in his school. It wasn't until he graduated and he didn't have school to concentrate on every day that he started to become manic again. Part of Andrew's solution is staying on meds, but I think there's something about concentrating on something/staying busy and occupied that really helps. I've got so much to learn still! So glad things are going well with Princie! And thanks for your prayers on our behalf.

Lanie said...

Congrats on the feat! That's fantastic!

Natalie, I admire your determination, perserverance and your faith. You are a wonderful mother!

Fiauna said...

I'm crying with joy for you. It seems you are beginning to see the shimmer of a silver lining.

I remember when my daughter was first diagnosed with her seizure disorder and all that came with it. During a day of fasting and prayer I felt prompted not to pray for a miracle, for my daughter to be healed, but to pray that I might be the best parent I could be for her. Just praying for that much brought me immeasurable peace.

I'll keep right on praying for you.

Shauna said...

I love how you said I prayed for ways to help not to change her. Beautiful! What a blessing for her to have such a wonderful mother, God chose you to raise her because he new you could. Love you, Shauna

Laretha said...

Girl, you got it!! I still pray for Micah to be healed but I also pray that I will be the mom he needs more than anything.

There is power in the spoken word, but words of life bring about life. You are speaking life into Princie and your home, life and peace!

Micah is really great at mazes. You may see if she would like that - similar concept.

I think it is amazing how their brains work! I am SO thankful you found something to sooth her mind! YEAH GOD!!! YEAH NATALIE!!!! YEAH PRINCIE!!! Mostly, YEAH GOD!!!

Love ya,
L

SnarkyMama said...

A picture is, yet again, worth a thousand words...the puzzle pictures! What I witnessed was something of a miracle mingled with hope, determination, and a mother's passionate love for her child.
Lucky Princie...her life is blessed...a mother and father who are determined to help her find "her" way in this life...brothers who adore her and whose patience levels exceed that of most adults I know....

Snarkettes, I am so glad Snarky told this story..."amazing" would be an understatement. Watching Princie "at work" is mesmerizing..

Snarky, maybe this is her version of my "wailing wall"...a special place to tuck away all the frustrations and fears....

I am off in search of the next great puzzle adventure....

KC Mom said...

Oh my gosh. Your prayers have lead you to the perfect diversion for Princie!! I've only known a few kids who could put together puzzles like that at that age...she is sooo smart! I went through a puzzle phase awhile back and loved it because it completely absorbed my mind and took me away from my surroundings temporarily. I bet it feels really good to her to do that too. I have some puzzles I could send you if you are interested.
Keep up those prayers! They are working for you. You have been in my thoughts quite a bit lately. I've been worried. I see that you are in His capable hands.

caitsmom said...

Yay!!!!

Rachel T. said...

Thats absolutely amazing! Im so impressed that she has found an outlet for her feelings, and that she has found something she is good at. Now the next step is having a PO BOX set up for Princie's puzzles. That way the snarkettes can come to the puzzle rescue! I would love to contribute. Im so proud of you, and proud of your determination. YAY PRINCIE!

Carly Marie said...

So happy for you xxxxx

Sue said...

Wow. That's amazing, Natalie. My granddaughter is almost 5 and can only do the easy puzzles, like the first two you pictured. No way she'd make it with a 300-piece one!

I can see where doing a puzzle could be very calming. And it's great that she's connected with something that helps her put all her ducks in a row, so to speak. It probably gives her a feeling of being able to control her world a little more.

I hope you guys have may more meltdown-free days! It sounds like you are getting a good rhythm going.

=)

Mommy (You can call me OM) said...

That's awesome! I need to get more puzzles! I'm so happy it's going much more peacefully these days and I pray it continues.

I'm thinking of you often. I've sort of hit a block of sorts, so please be patient. :)

Peace, my friend.

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

This post just blessed my heart. I can't even tell you...but I know a little of where you are walking. And..thank you for this.

I am amazed about the puzzles...and as someone who works with special needs children (and lives with one!) a little intrigued!

For now, just grateful that sweet Princie (and her Snarky mama) are experiencing some peace.

Continuing to lift you in prayer...

em said...

i want to do a puzzle now.
i'm sure we have one around here somewhere...

Barbara said...

I know you'll be able to help her find her way Natalie. What a huge step you've all taken.

xxx

MammaWarrior said...

Wow how amazing is that?? God is a wonder isn't He? Never stops the miracles, no matter how small or how big! God is good! Bravo to your precious baby!!! She is amazing!

Frosty said...

As Laretha said, YEA GOD! Just know all of us will continue to pray for you and your family. God knew what he was doing when he chose Princie for your family. Have fun searching for more puzzles!

McAtee Family said...

I am so happy that Princie has found some peace! You are a fantastic mamma and have every right to brag about your babies - that is what we mammas do - it is our job to be their biggest cheerleader and their biggest fan.

You are an inspiration to me - reading your post made me realize that I need to spend more time on my knees praying for patience with my girls and the way I parent. I constantly pray that they will listen and learn to behave - I need to be praying for the patience and knowledge to help them find their way. Thank you!!!

K2cole said...

I am glad you found something she finds soothing and engaging. My whole family each get a puzzle from Santa so we (I) can put them together!!

I love that we learn the right thing to ask our Father for, the only thing we really have control over, change in us and in our attitudes and actions. Thanks for the reminder.

cherish.photography said...

Puzzles bring joy.

Lindsay said...

Monica,
That is really amazing. I can't do a puzzle that fast, and I definately look at the box!
Look at the patience she is displaying!
I am glad she found this outlet and that you guys have kept her in puzzles. You are a great mom, and those babes are lucky to have you.
Thank you for all the sweet comments on my blog. You are a blessing! If I'm EVER in your area, I would love to try and arrange a meet-up...
Much love, Lindsay

Chris at yardsalequeen.com said...

my son loves the puzzles at jigzone.com - you can make them as easy or hard as you want. great for traveling (no puzzles to pack!)

SnarkyMama said...

Geez Louise...where are you...are YOU putting together the puzzles?

Come on, I know you are "swamped"...but I get very disappointed when I don't see a new post..I mean, seriously, what are doing between midnight and 4 a.m.???????? Get to writing, girl!

Rachel T. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gretchen said...

Amazing - those puzzles! I am so happy there has been a substantial reprieve for you all. What a beautiful prayer you have been praying,... and sweet Princie is benefiting.