Redefining Success

We’ve had FOUR good days in a row!!! I seriously don’t know how long it’s been since I could say that. I’m on cloud nine. I haven’t had a chance to research or implement dietary changes yet, so this success is probably attributable to the medication changes from the hospital and from us not having returned to school or any other real life pressures. We’ve just been enjoying each other and having fun.

Javan’s sleep is still unpredictable and irregular, but he has been falling asleep pretty easily due to sleep medication and he can usually be counted on to sleep through the night without waking. Some mornings he wakes super early, around 6:00. Other mornings he sleeps in until 8:30. Some days he takes no nap, some days a 2 hour nap which is about the usual for him, and some days a much longer nap. Friday he napped for six hours! So any plans we make right now are tentative because sleep drives our daily schedule  (or lack thereof).

Saturday was my big brother’s birthday. He has recently moved back to Texas from Iowa and now lives only about two and a half hours from us, so we were super excited about the opportunity to spend his birthday with him. For quite some time now, planning to make a day trip a few hours away would have been too risky. I would have worried we’d do all that driving just to see my brother for 20 minutes before something terrible/embarrassing/birthday-ruining happened and we had to slink home with our tails between our legs. But this time I was able to make those plans with the confidence that there was a high probability of success. The only concern we had was whether or not it would be a sleepy day.

Javan was so excited to see his uncle on his birthday. He made him a sweet birthday card and put together his very own gift consisting of a Little Debbie “snacky cake” as we call them, a Texas Rangers pin, a Nolan Ryan baseball card, and 75 cents he found in the car, all lovingly taped inside a red Dixie cup. He did sleep in the car on the way there, but perked up quickly when we arrived at the Mexican restaurant where we were meeting. He ran in and gave Uncle CJ big birthday hugs and kisses and we enjoyed a great meal together.

Birthday Hugs for Uncle CJ

Birthday Hugs for Uncle CJ

There wasn’t too much to do in the small town we met up in and Javan didn’t feel up to the stimulation of a bowling alley, so we decided to stroll around a nearby strip mall for a while. The first store we visited was a toy store where we shopped and played and Javan’s Grammy bought him a Rescue Bots toy he’s been wanting for months. We stopped in a couple of other stores and he was able to do well even in the “boring stores” the grownups wanted to visit. He shopped for at least a good hour before getting tired from all the walking and asked to leave. I felt like that was a very successful birthday visit!

Today was very relaxed. We played toys on the floor and watched tv. I got a very small amount of housework done while my husband worked outside to make our yard look fabulous. Javan wasn’t on board with me doing chores. He wanted attention. And guess what? He got it. My house is messy. The laundry is piled up. The litter box smells. But my son needs my attention more than those things do. When he asked me to stop and play with him, I did. When he asked me to lay down for a nap with him, I did. We visited his Weebo and Pops for a late lunch, played outside with Rosco,  and visited with Gigi and Grandpa. Today was a success because we relaxed and focused on building relationships with those we love.

I’m having to redefine success for myself right now. Not forever, but for right now. Success doesn’t look like a clean kitchen, full closets, and vacuumed floors. Success looks like helping my son stay home. If at the end of the day I can say I gave him everything he needed of me, then those other things don’t matter so much. When he’s been stable for longer and has regained comfort with and confidence in himself and his abilities and environment, maybe then I can up the bar for myself and my daily goals. But for right now, I’m keeping it small. Javan hasn’t hit anyone or any animals in four days. SUCCESS! He’s taken his medicine every morning and every night. SUCCESS! He is happy and stable and home. SUCCESS!  SUCCESS! SUCCESS!

Tomorrow,  we start homeschool lessons again. We’re taking it veeeeerrrryyyy slow, doing only half a day of our main curriculumenu and adding in some easy remedial activities. If I see that it’s too much too soon, I’m okay with that. Ill back off. I have to give up my worry that we’ll never finish third grade. I have to continue to redefine my idea of success for our homeschool by not focusing on the future but instead focusing on today. What is my goal for today?  My goal for today is to schedule our school day in a way that I think we can achieve the work without causing damage to either our relationship or his overall view of learning. If I have checked everything off our daily school to-do list, but I caused three meltdowns and two violent rages in the process and he never wants to do school again, I have not been successful. But if I saw what we could and could not do and operated within those limits and he learned only half of what I planned to teach that day and ended the school day with no meltdowns,  no rages, and a love (or at least not hatred) of learning, then I have been successful.

For those of you who are interested in the finer details, here is the rough school schedule I created for this week. It should say Friday, because we don’t school on Thursdays.

This Week's School Plan

This Week’s School Plan

It looks like more work than it actually is. I read everything to him except his daily “read something” task. For that, I give him several choices of short phonics readers to choose from. I need to remember that even when we “don’t get school done,” plenty of learning happens organically without me needing to structure it. Here are some of the lessons I’d consider “school worthy” that he’s initiated all on his own since he’s been home.

We counted his piggy bank money together so he could shop at the dollar store (Math).

Counting Money

Counting Money

We made glow-in-the-dark slime and talked about phosphorescence (Science).


Making Slime

Making Slime

Javan painted a picture (Art).




It turned out to be a wanted poster for an evil headless man who makes a lot of smoke. He had me paint the word at the top.

He walked Rosco in Wal-Mart by himself (Life Skills).


And he got Adso the kitten inside his shirt (Creative Thinking).

Kitten Wearing 101

So I’m going to try to start regular schooling up again. I’m going to try to maintain a respectable living environment. But if I have to back off of those things for my child’s sake, I will. And I will count myself successful.


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