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20 years of being in love

14 years of marital bliss

5 years of infertility

9 months of a high risk pregnancy

2 perfect boys (at the same time)

1 heart failure

1 type 1 diabetes diagnosis

1 happy life

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I am a stay at home mom who is raising twins. One of my guys has type 1 diabetes and one does not. I am writing this blog to unite type 1 parents or twin parents. Comment on my posts or in the "what's your high?" and "what's your low?" to join the community of parents just trying to do the best we can!

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3/22/12

It's so hard to watch your kids struggle!

The other day, I was talking on the phone to a friend of mine who lives in Ohio. She was trying to get to know the boys better, since she has only seen them a handful of times.  She was asking question like -which of the boys is funnier, which one is taller. Then she asked me which of the boys was the bravest. My automatic response was Rocco. The way he handles his diabetes and his "all or nothing" personality dictated this response.

But later, when I dug a little deeper, I realized that Zeke is actually the bravest person I know. Things have not always come easy for Zeke. Especially over the past year. Mine and Michael's attempts at sports with Zeke have often backfired. He didn't find his courage during t-ball, basketball or even karate. Hoften had a mini panic attack whenever it was his turn to hit the ball or to take a shot or earn his orange belt. He, like a lot of people, myself included, hears that his turn is coming up and instead of mentally preparing for his moment, he panics. Our flight instinct kicks into overdrive.

For example, when I was wheeled into the operating room for my c-section, I saw the various trays of instruments and clamps and I said to myself, “I have to get out of here! How can I get out of here? I have to leave right now!"  I was panicking! There was NO WAY I was going to go through with this c-section. But as I was planning my escape, they told me to sit up and arch my back like a cat for the epidural. As I did, I looked down and all I saw was my giant belly full of two babies and realized I couldn't go anywhere...ugh.

So, when my son looks at me with that same look on his face, I understand. I get it. Of course, I always want to grab him, take him home, wrap him in bubble wrap and home school him, but I can't.

I say Zeke is he bravest person I know because he does NOT really want to do stuff. Play t-ball, basketball, Yahtzee with the family, or even ride his bike sometimes, But he still does. It is easier for him to not try and not fail than to try and fail. Nevertheless, he musters up his courage every time. If you ask Zeke to do anything lately other than eat, play Ninjago Legos or Angry Birds on the iPad he says no. But after I threaten, bribe, ask politely or coddle, he musters up the courage and he tries. He isn't good at a lot of things yet because he is new to so much. But he tries. And for that reason alone, he is brave.

This weekend, we took the boys to the Great Wolf Lodge. Zeke hates to get his face wet. So my mom, Michael and I strategized how to prepare him for this.




So, the week before, I bought goggles. I also sat with each boy and read the descriptions of each of the attractions from the website (1,000 gallon bucket of water, tandem water slide, hot tub, lazy river, etc...). Rocco excitedly started telling me his list of what he was going to do.  "First, I am getting under the big bucket. Then, I am going down the slide with you, mom! " He was on fire. Super excited!

I waited for Zeke's response. He was quiet at first. Then he started making his list, of what he wasn't going to do!!  "Well, I’m NOT going on any slide. And I don’t want all that water from the bucket going on my head." Backfire, again.



So, I told Michael before we left that no matter what, we would just let Zeke pave the way and have fun. To be honest though, I really wasn't even sure the kid was going to get wet!  But, all the way there he was excited! He was telling us he couldn't wait to get there! So there was hope.

When we arrivedhe was excited but reserved. He dutifully walked over to check his height and then we just walked around. He started to warm up a little, albeit pointing to various items he wasn't going to do. But then the boys each decided to try the smallest slide. Wee!



"Yes! That was awesome!" both boys yelled. They were warming up. Then they went into the big treehouse with Michael.  No one knew that the tree house leads you to up to a place where the only exit was the waterslide. All three guys came back down against traffic because no one but Michael was ready for that. Next, we all went in the lazy river. Slow and steady. Zeke was all smiles. Success so far.

Then Michael and I wanted to go down the tandem tubing slide together. We decided to lead by example and show our bravery. Both boys sat and watched us come out on the bottom. I was glad they didn't get kidnapped. While we were on the stairs, we decided we would try to get them to try this slide. I told Michael the only way Zeke would be convinced is if we bribed him with Legos. I knew Zeke's love language. This just might work.

So we got down to the bottom and explained our proposal.  If they went down the water slide, they could get a small Lego set on the way home. Rocco immediately grabbed Michael's hand and got in line for the big slide. Zeke started crying. Ugh. "I don't waaaannnttt to go on that sliiiiddddee! I just want a Leeeggggooo set!", he howled.

So he and I sat down and I tried to console or should I say conjole him into it. I tried for ten minutes as he howled out his feelings. Then Michael and Rocco came back, smiling from ear to ear and letting me know they were now headed for the double one!

"That's not fair! Now Rocco gets a Lego set annnnnddd IIIII doooooonnn't!" Finally, after about twenty minutes, he calmed down and said, "OK Mom, let's try the yellow one.  But only you come down with me,""Really?", I said shockingly. "Yes", he responded.

He bravely walked all the way up the stairs.  We got to the top and the attendant said we couldn't go together. Damn it! So now we are both finally at the top. I said, "Let's race! You go in the yellow one and I will go in the red one." "NO! Mom, I am NOT going down alone!" he said firmly. I looked into his eyes and I saw sheer panic. My poor boy. So we walked again down the stairs against the flow of traffic (walk of shame). I was stumped. Of course I wanted to say, "OK, let's just get dressed and run over to Toys R Us", but I couldn't. So we sat down again and we talked.

Michael and Rocco did another happy lap past us. I am not sure if this inspired Zeke or frustrated him. I am sure he will tell me when we are in his therapist's office when he is thirty! So, I said,  "Zeke honey, what scares you the most?" He said, "Im not going to be able to breathe." I said, "What if we go over to the pool and just learn to swim today?" "And if I learn to swim can I have my Lego set?" Negotiations!"If you are brave while you try to learn to swim and you try one slide later, I will buy you a Lego set", I said firmly. "A big set?" Scammer! "No. A small one." Nice try.

So we went to the swimming pool. He got in and hung onto the side. I put my leg under his tummy because the water was over his head. I told him to try to make some bubbles. He put his face in the water and a splash went down his nose and throat! Damn it!! He choked, almost threw up in the pool  (that would not have been good) and he said spitefully, "See! I told you."


Omg! Please, Lord give me strength! And give this little guy a break. Nope! It happened two more times. Zeke was just pissed! I didn't blame him. I wanted to quit too.

 I said, "Zeke, your only job is to spit that bad water back out! No water should be allowed to stay in my Zeke's mouth!" He laughed and made a spitting sound! It worked. He took a little water in his mouth and spit again. Then again and again. Then he looked at me and said, "Mom, I'm ready for the slide, but you have to catch me on the bottom." Deal!


I got him a life jacket. He looked like a total nerd with his goggles and life jacket, but I didn't care if the Fashion Police from the E! Network walked in with a camera at that moment. My boy felt safer and that was all I cared about. 

So as he set out to bravely walk up the steps again, Rocco and Michael appeared. "Rocco! I’m going down the slide and mom is going to catch me at the bottom! You want to come too?" "Sure! Good job Zeke!" Rocco has a soft spot for Zeke because he also sees him struggle.

They both ran up the stairs and I made Michael be the lookout to give me a warning when Zeke was coming, so he didn't go under. made my way into the pool and to the bottom of the slide. And we waited. And waited. And waited. Five minutes went by. Alot of little kids kept coming out of the bottom of the slide, but they were never my little kids. Michael couldn't see them clearly at the top.

Crap! I started to walk out of the pool, thinking I would go to the top to see if Zeke was panicking. Then Rocco almost nailed me! Yay! "Rocco, is Zeke coming too?" I yelled to my swimming son. "Yes! Right now", he yelled back.

Just then, here came Zeke, with a look of excited nervousness on his face. He glided into the pool at the bottom of the slide, his face never getting wet as I grabbed his life jacket!!!  Wow! You would have thought he’d won a gold medal as I helped him out of the pool!




"THAT WAS SO AWESOME!!!" Zeke yelled. And before he got near the steps to exit the pool, he said, "Mom! I want to go on the purple one now!" We spent the rest of the day going down all the slides together. Even the biggest one!

Here is a picture of Zeke so proud of himself after he let the big bucket dump on his head! 



On the drive home, I texted my friend: "Actually, Zeke is the braver one!" 

And, we stopped for Legos! 



Funny thing about Zeke: I would say that Zeke teaches me more than I teach him!

Here is an awesome article/post that inspires me to stay tough with the kids and not take them home and protect them with bubble wrap! Hope it helps you too. 






2 comments:

Tracy M. said...

This post brought me to tears. Thank you so much for posting this. I needed this post so bad. I have been struggling with my son who sounds a lot like Zeke and getting frustrated. After reading this I am looking at him in a whole new light. Again, thank you so much for sharing this story about your son Zeke.

Shari said...

Hi Tracy, Thank you so much for commenting. You made my day! I know, it is so hard to just stand by and watch them experience life - the good, the bad and the ugly! Stay Strong!