Sunday, June 9, 2013

Back in the Saddle

We are on summer vacation and I'm back home from the first segment of Anat Baniel Method practitioner training. Donnie's school is out for summer and things are in full swing. We have been going nonstop, traveling to David's ABM sessions and hippo therapy, Donnie's gymnastics, play dates, getting in the swimming pool, drawing, writing, building, and running errands.

The boys certainly grew while I was in California. They are about to be five years old. If you are a parent or teacher, you know this is a big deal. In my mind, five means full-blown KIDS. They are not babies anymore, and not toddlers. Conversations with Donnie and David are becoming more colorful and complex. I really have to use my brain wisely to carry these two around (not at the same time!), and to negotiate all those things that children find they can negotiate with their burgeoning autonomy. I love it.

To be honest, I was in a sort of slump before I started ABM training. After four years of the shock and trauma that affected our family, and then pouring myself and our family endlessly into anything and everything that I thought would help David recover from his injury (more on that in another post), I was spent. I can't speak for everyone else, but I know our family had reached a point of transition. And transition is not easy. So now, here we are. I am back in mom mode, back in the responsibility of listening to the queues of my family and taking actions to make sure they are healthy and happy and that David is getting all that he needs to grow and recover.

Experiencing the first segment of training as an ABM practitioner has had a tremendous impact on me, and it radiates into what I am doing and my interactions with everyone around me. I mentioned that Slow has been my best friend. It has allowed me to cut out the clutter in my mind and prioritize. That being said, I have been putting things into action that I think will genuinely help David. Of course, ABM is one of those things, and he has been wonderfully responsive in his sessions with our practitioner, Barbara. Another thing that David loves and responds to is hippo therapy.

We started hippo therapy, or riding horses, about a month ago after a good friend of mine told me about it. We go to a fantastic place called Special Cheers. I'm not sure how hippo therapy typically works, but  David's therapist Fritzi, who runs Special Cheers, takes him on rides throughout the many trails there. We put on our mud boots and mosquito spray, and David rides Buddy through the swamps and the woods. I can see the communication between David and Buddy. The essentials of ABM are put into practice during a ride. For example, David picks up on Buddy's movements, and becomes aware of himself--and the horse. The subtle movements made by Buddy are transmitting loads of information to David's brain.

Fritzi, David and Buddy

Movement with awareness. Look at David's fingers! He was using his hand to explore what Buddy was doing.

David and Buddy are exchanging massive amounts of information, and so are all around him. I am amazed at Fritzi's ability to read the intent of Buddy and David, and Manuel, who leads Buddy along the trail. We are all connecting, all using our brains to complete sophisticated actions as we navigate the trails.

While we are out there, Myrian and Donnie spend time on the grounds of Special Cheers, interacting with the dogs, sheep, goats, rabbits, and pig...I think I included everyone! It is comforting to know that everyone who comes with us here is engaged. Donnie has a great time waiting for his brother, as he is able to explore.

Donnie is now interested in helping with our next endeavor, hyperbaric oxygen treatment. We started HBOT with David when the boys were about five months old, and stayed in Louisiana for a month so David could receive treatment with Dr. Harch. He gave us a prescription for home treatment and we purchased a hyperbaric chamber to use at home. It has been quite a while since then, and we are ready to resume because David responded to it.

Jeremy is doing a test run, and Donnie has been adamantly helping to make sure all the tubing is connected, and learning about the mechanics of hyperbaric oxygen treatment. I am learning with him. As soon as we get the green light from our doctor, David will be going into the chamber two times a day for a month.

Test run in the hyperbaric chamber

On a day to day basis, our family is doing more now than I think we have ever done before. It feels like we are genuinely living. There is direction and attention to what matters. There was a time when I felt like I was treading water, aiming at what I thought were priorities for us all. Slowing down and paying attention has allowed me to see what needs to be left behind and what needs to be done to go forward. Just like David listens to Buddy as we all maneuver the trail, I am able to listen to the subtle messages in what everyone is doing and feeling and in turn, move forward in a meaningful way.


1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you are in such a good place, and so peaceful! That's great! I absolutely love the picture of you and David with the horses ❤