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Easy tiger.

My brain may or may not have exploded this morning. A sentiment common to most adults with children.

Day two of a bad cold. Earache, sore throat, stomach wonkiness. All trivial; all annoying. I cancelled my two morning meetings and called in to work. And sat on the couch, laptopped up so that I could work. In came Justin, updating me on the Tour de France/Peter Sagan debacle (a complete tragedy)--a constant loop of findings from Instagram accounts he follows. Half correct, half imagined, his rapid fire synopsis felt like bullets right into my aching brain. I didn't have the strength to act as his usual translator and left him to his own conclusions. Seeing me glaze over, he politely grabbed his soccer ball and headed out the door.

In came Peyton announcing that she was building an Eiffel Tower out of skewers, hot glue, and nail polish. Seeing my pained expression, she too scurried, declaring that the horizontal pieces of her tower were complete, but she now needed to focus on the vertical. Before leaving she handed me "The Red Pencil," a story about a young girl in Darfur who wants to go to school, and said, "Read Mommy. Don't think hard."

I have a mantra: you should not be frustrated/angry/sad/stressed unnecessarily. It's a waste of emotion. This comes into play with the kids--especially Justin, who frequently doesn't understand what others say or the context of a situation. This is something that I learned early on as I watched Justin take in a situation and then react completely out of proportion. At first I thought it was just a quick switch of anger, but over time, I realized that it was complete misunderstanding--of hearing words and not knowing what they are and then reacting accordingly. In these cases, I excuse the two of us and we head outdoors and walk. And walk. And walk. And walk. Allowing the miles to cool off, talk, and learn to ask questions. It's an attempt to help him navigate a situation so that he doesn't have to be upset unnecessarily. Because, really, why be mad if you don't have to be?! There are enough life events that legitimately ask us to be upset.

So, we've fallen into a routine. I attempt to translate many things for him--thinking for the both of us. I know this is not sustainable and I am worried about losing my own sense of clarity. Earlier in the week, we had an appointment for more testing so we could better understand how his brain takes in data, solves problems, and creates memories. It's a small step, but a critical one in helping him to not only navigate social situations and his past trauma, but to read; to learn--to think clearly. We are a work in progress. But aren't we all?

Long ago, as a little girl I remember having a bad cold that left me in bed for a couple of days. I remember throwing the covers off of me, donning my most favorite terry cloth running shorts, and hitting the floor for a series of push-ups. I was going to will myself better. I was not going to waste another moment being weak. "Eye of the Tiger" may or may not have been on the radio. I'm pretty sure it was. Instead of push-ups today, I am writing. Writing this as a way of working through my own fears and willing myself to focus on what matters. The one year anniversary of Justin moving in with us is approaching (July 9). It's been a year of many big changes ebbing and flowing through my little family, the impact yet to be fully articulated. But I am hopeful because at the heart of it, these kids are extraordinary.

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