Beauty in the Mess,  Ezra,  The Preschool Years

Beauty in the Mess ~ Edition 06.25.15

Beautiful in His Time is a participant in multiple affiliate marketing programs. The author of this blog may receive commission for purchases or clicks made through links on this website.

I saw my counsellor yesterday, and she kept telling me how far I’ve come in the last year. She encouraged me to keep counting my blessings and thinking on the things that are true, lovely, and beautiful (Philippians 4:8).

I’m conflicted about how to move forward with this monthly-ish series. Because it’s so important for me to be able to do just that – and I feel it’s very central to what my blog is and what I want it to be.

But, I also am thinking about protecting my children’s stories (especially Ezra’s as he grows older). I haven’t yet found a way to resolve this, so for now, I’m going to continue as I normally do.

The past 6-8 weeks have been incredibly challenging for our family. Ezra started having some very serious sleep disturbances (more than normal, even for him). For about six weeks straight, he woke up before 5:30 every day. He woke up as early as 1AM – for the DAY. It was beyond exhausting.

It doesn’t matter how many times it happens – how much I KNOW that sleep deprivation can cloud my judgment. It still is so overwhelming. Discouraging. Defeating.

It affected him too. His behavior continued to regress over the last few weeks of school. He started expressing a lot of negative emotions about school (I hate school, my teacher are mean to me, I want to stay home…), nearly every day.

Reports from school were varied. Some days he did wonderfully. Other days were so so. A few days, they had to bring in the principal and there was throwing of furniture involved. It was very inconsistent.

Ezra’s behavior at home has continued to be challenging at best…downright awful at worst. He has resumed very aggressive behavior with us at home – a lot of screaming, hitting, punching, and kicking. And so much anger and frustration in general.

Last week he started at a 4-hr-a-day summer camp program at a private preschool. This makes for the 4th new environment for him in the last year. It’s hard – he needs the structure, the routine, the socialization – yet adjusting to the new environment brought even more regression into his behaviors.

For about a week, he slept better – 5 or 6 days in a row of him sleeping past 6AM. And what a difference it made for me!

But the past two days it’s been 5:30AM and 4:30AM wake times, respectively.

We have a meeting with the developmental behavioral pediatrician today.

I feel lost and overwhelmed sometimes. We have options, therapies, medications, supplements – so many things in our arsenal. It’s just a matter of making the right decision for him at the right time.

I know that a lot of the regression has to do with all of these transitions – not to mention getting closer to Little Brother’s arrival. He also has to seem more difficult periods during growth spurts, especially the period within about 3 months of his birthday (I’ve noticed this the last two years as well). Who knows what else is causing these problems.

So for us, we are just doing what we can to stay on top of things, maintain our calm composures, get rest when we can, and keep trying anything and everything to help him cope through the rough times.

When you are a parent watching your child go through these times of regression, a “rough phase,” age disequilibrium, or whatever you want to call it–it can be SO easy to lose perspective and get looping on negative thoughts.

We haven’t made any improvements

He’s the same as he was a year ago

He’s never going to feel better

We are going to deal with these issues forever

We will never find the right answers, techniques, helps, etc.

If we were only doing this, that, xyz…maybe he would be having an easier time

Maybe we are being too firm, not loving enough…

Maybe we are being too permissive, not firm enough…

It’s easy to overlook the good moments because the bad moments are so all-consuming.

Which is why, today, it’s so important for me to share some of the good moments. 

There is beauty in the moments where his focus is incredible and he will do 30 or 40 worksheets like this at a time. His fine motor skills have come SO FAR!

01 Tracing

There is beauty in Ezra being able to dress himself. Just a few months ago, this was a HUGE battle. It still is at times, but most days he dresses fairly independently.

Although when he accomplishes this at 1:30AM it’s slightly less endearing…

02 up up up all night long

There is beauty in Ezra picking out a “calming space” in our yard and frequenting it a few time per week, both before and after school:

03 calming spot

There is beauty in continued weekly occupational therapy support. It’s a drive, but it gives me the chance to observe the therapy and gather ideas of things to try at home.

04 occupational therapy

There is beauty in these funny moments, when he puts “stickers” all over his shirt. Hey, at least he was occupied for a while!

05 stickers

There is beauty in a family Memorial Day outing to a local wildlife ranch, with free admission for veterans and their families on Memorial day!

06 memorial day

07 memorial day

There is beauty in moments of independent play. Getting Ezra to this point is a challenging fight, but once he gets over the idea that someone HAS to be entertaining him and gets into his own head and imagination, it’s so fun to watch what happens. Here he is in the backyard just soaking up the expanse and playing with his stuffed animals.

08 backyard expanse

(There is also beauty in having a kitchen window that allows me to watch him from a distance – giving him space and freedom while still keeping him safe!)

There is always beauty in ice cream. Always. And ice cream monsters too!

09 ice cream

There is beauty in at-home art projects. These can be overwhelming for me to manage and don’t often entertain him for long, but still enjoyable on occasion.

10 make art

There is beauty in the Spiderman obsession. I just adore this picture.

11 beautiful spider man

There is beauty in lucking out in finding a stork parking spot at Walmart. Completely not necessary – but still, a nice way to start a busy day of shopping.

12 stork parking

There is beauty in good days at school. I love having positive reports home.

13 good report

There is beauty in one exceptionally CALM Saturday, when he played well independently and had lower-than-normal activity levels and sensory seeking behaviors:

14 calm saturday

There is beauty in this guy messing around with longer hair. Brings back memories of when we first met and when we got married.

15 new haircut

There is beauty in ice cream after the last day of school. Even when I wasn’t sure if I should say yes – he had a good day that last day, so it was worth it.

16 last day of school ice cream

There is beauty in a family trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which included some hiking and swimming in some waterfalls:

25 day in the mountains

There is beauty in these two. Honestly – they fight, they exasperation, they misunderstand, they stress each other out. But when it comes to watching Wild Kratts, they are on the same page.

17 my boys

There is beauty and help in this new station in our kitchen that gives Ezra all of his coping / calming / and sensory strategies in one place. It helps me remember the things we can try and gives him some control over expressing what he needs in the moment.

18 stick kids

There is beauty in the first week of summer camp. In spite of regressions…there was that one day when we both slept for two hours then cuddled for a bit afterward.

19 naptime cuddles

There is beauty in all of the neat summer camp projects that his summer preschool is doing. This one made me smile:

20 when i grow up

And there is beauty in their weekly Water Play day, when Ezra gets to indulge his Spiderman obsession just a bit more:

21 spider man water play day

There is beauty in attending a pre-VBS kickoff party at a local church. It was entirely too hot but there was free pizza, snow cones, and bouncy houses…so well worth it for the little guy.

22 VBS kickoff party

There is beauty in this hammock, which we got at Ross for $17.99 (thanks to the recommendation from my sister-in-law). {These hammocks can also be purchased on Amazon for more.}

We just happened to have two lone trees set perfectly in the shade right near Ezra’s designated “calming space” where the hammock fit. Now he has a place where I can go swing him before school, or whenever he feels like he needs the vestibular input. I splurged on some Spiderman headphones for him and put music on our old iPod for him. So far, this sensory/calming strategy has worked incredibly well for him. Only downside is having to have someone stand or sit there and swing him, but thankfully it’s in the shade!

23 hammock time

And there is beauty in moments like this. When he was angry and frustrated and said, “I don’t know how I got into anger mode!” So we led him over to his chart of calming/sensory coping strategies and he picked puzzles…and two minutes later they looked like this. So thankful for these baby steps, these moments when he makes the right choice and I feel like all our hard work really is making a difference.

24 coping strategies

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  • fiftarina

    I admire you so much that you can still keep thinking positively even though you have a LOT more rough days compared to me. Follow your heart and do whatever you think is the best for you and your family. If you don’t mind, please keep posting things like this, because it is very encouraging for other mommies out there (me included).

Leave a Reply